Bartolo Colon likely returning to the Mets

Bartolo Colon 1


BaronAfter reportedly trading Jon Niese to the Pirates for Neil Walker, the Mets have a sudden need for a temporary fifth starter in their rotation, at least until Zack Wheeler returns from the disabled list next June or July.

That option could be an old friend to the Mets.

The Mets are now pursuing a re-union with Bartolo Colon to serve as the club’s fifth starter and swingman in the second half of the 2016 season, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig.

And it appears likely Colon will be returning to the Mets, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, although Heyman says a deal isn’t yet close.

In addition, Braves have discussed the possibility of signing Colon as well, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

The Mets met with the agents for Colon at the Winter Meetings earlier this week, and assistant GM John Ricco said on Sunday the Mets would be open to bringing Colon back into the fold in this role.

Ricco said Colon is open to pitching out of the bullpen for the Mets in 2016.

The door is still open with him,” Ricco explained on Sunday. “And I think we’ll meet with his guys out here. I can see a fit there. His versatility and the success he had in the playoffs in that role, and where he is in his career, I think he could fit us on a number of levels. Everything I’ve heard, he would be open to that type of role.”

The salaries for Niese and Walker are basically a wash, meaning the Mets filled their need on the infield at zero additional cost towards their 2016 payroll. If the Mets can bring Colon back, it will presumably come at a lesser amount to that of his $11 million salary in 2015, and less than Niese’s salary for 2016.

So, the Mets could conceivably fill two needs at minimal or no additional cost, leaving open plenty of resources for the Mets to sign an outfielder and fix their bullpen.

Ricco also said the Mets could use Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero in the rotation as placeholders for Wheeler, if they are unable to procure another starting pitcher.

Colon has won more games and pitched more innings than any other Mets starter since the start of the 2014 season. He went 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA in 33 appearances and 31 starts over 194 2/3 innings in 2015. He went 29-26 with a 4.13 ERA in 64 appearances and 62 starts for the Mets from 2014-2015.

Original post, Dec.9, 4:28 pm
Updated: Dec.9 7:27 pm, Dec. 10, 9:30 am

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