Bartolo Colon will reportedly be called up to start for the Twins on Tuesday https://t.co/p2mn43L0As
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 16, 2017
The last time we saw Bartolo Colon at the Major League level was on June 28 in San Diego. As a member of the Atlanta Braves, Colon gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks over four innings against the Padres. It was his fourth straight clunker of start, and it looked like the end was near for the 44-year-old Big Sexy.
Colon was 2-8 this year for the Braves with an 8.14 ERA. Even with the weak definition of a quality start, only two of Colon’s 13 starts with the Braves this year qualified as quality starts. But rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated (for now), and Colon will play for his tenth Major League team on Tuesday night when he starts for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins will be hosting the New York Yankees.
It’s a start, and a series, with potential playoff implications. The Yankees currently find themselves just a half game ahead of the Twins for the second wild card spot in the American League. After getting out to a 38-23 start, the Yankees have gone 9-20 since June 13. The Twins, after losing 103 games last year, have returned to respectability this year.
The Twins have been a surprise near the top of the AL Central this season. They haven’t set the world on fire but they have been consistent – they’ve never been up or down more than three games for first place in the AL Central. But their run differential is -63, 12th in the American League. They are the only team in baseball with a negative run differential and a record better than .500. They’re 10-5 in one-run games, but 12-21 in games decided by five runs or more.
Despite being in the wild card race near the trade deadline, I’d bet against the Twins making the playoffs. That’s why picking up Bartolo Colon is a great move. It will only cost the Twins a few hundred thousand dollars and no prospects. No need to “mortgage the future” to make this move.
If Colon catches fire, it’s a great story and fun little run in August and September. If Colon can’t straighten things out, and it really is the end of the road for him, he’s not much worse than what they’ve been running out there every fifth day anyways. And I find it hard to believe that a veteran pitcher could seriously disrupt any clubhouse chemistry. So again, all there really is to lose is a few bucks.
And then there’s this. The Twins 60-year-old manager, Paul Molitor, played his final Major League game on September 27, 1998. He faced the Cleveland Indians and Bartolo Colon that day. Molitor went 1-for-3 that day against Colon, and was 2-for-8 lifetime against Colon.