Bartolo Colon is NOT being considered for a relief role right now
The Mets have an over-abundance of starting pitching as they begin to look ahead to postseason play, as they will only need 3-4 starting pitchers at any given time.
So it has come as no surprise the team has begun to look at Bartolo Colon in a different light, as he figures to be among the odd men out not only in a playoff rotation, but potentially the playoff rosters as well.
Before Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Red Sox, Terry Collins said Colon would be available on Saturday in relief.
Sure enough he was, and he made his first relief appearance since 2011 while with the Yankees. He delivered a scoreless ninth inning inning on 11 pitches.
Collins said after the game this appearance was not a tryout for a relief role, nor was it an effort to prepare Colon for a possible relief role later in the year.
“None,” the manager said. “We needed somebody else.”
In fairness, the Mets bullpen has been battered and beaten over the last ten days, overworked to the point Collins has not had his full arsenal of pitchers available to him in relief. Their inconsistent performance can be attributed partially to being overworked and overexposed.
In addition, Colon was scheduled to throw in a side session on Saturday anyway. But Collins held Colon back so he could throw a maximum of 15 pitches in relief if needed.
He was needed, and he did not breach that threshold.
But again, Colon figures to be omitted should the Mets advance to the postseason. His only real shot at contributing to the club on the field might be in relief.
And Collins thinks Colon is more than capable of being a handyman late in games.
“I think he can pitch in any role you put him in. Years ago, before the real power, power arms were there, he’d be the perfect seventh and eighth-inning guy. He can come in and give you two innings of groundballs or fly balls and locate, locate, locate. But I think he can do whatever you ask him to do.”
It just so happens the seventh inning is their greatest area of concern in the bullpen. Those problems appeared again on Saturday when Hansel Robles relieved Jacob deGrom, and he promptly allowed a solo home run to Mookie Betts to extend the Red Sox’s lead to 3-0 over the Mets.
The Mets are making their best effort to correct this problem, as they’ve reportedly agreed to a deal which would net them former closer Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks.
Whatever Collins or anyone else says, Colon’s appearances served them in two ways on Saturday. Yes, they needed a fresh arm and they needed to be able to rest other people in the bullpen, specifically Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia. But they were obviously taking a look to see if Colon could not only pitch in relief, but get himself quickly with a tired arm, and come in and pitch effectively.
He did, and he maybe that valuable missing link the Mets need in the bullpen.
But not yet. For now, Colon is needed to lengthen the starting rotation to six pitchers down the stretch of the season.
None the less, his appearance in the bullpen certainly served the Mets well on Saturday, and could do the same at a meaningful point beginning in five weeks as well.