Posted on June 29, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The end of the line may have finally arrived for ageless wonder Bartolo Colon. On Thursday, the Atlanta Braves announced that they have designated Colon for assignment. The move comes one day after Colon allowed six runs on eight hits over four innings against the San Diego Padres. It could end up being the final start of Colon’s career, as he owns an 8.14 ERA on the season.
Colon signed a one-year, $12.5 million deal with the Braves over the winter after three efficient seasons with the New York Mets. However, things have not worked out for him in Atlanta. A rough April turned into a disastrous May. Colon has only gotten worse as the season has progressed. Some may view him as a victim of Atlanta’s new hitter-friendly ballpark. However, Colon’s ERA at home is 8.25, while his ERA in eight road starts is 8.08.
The Braves placed Colon on the 10-day DL earlier this month, hopeful that he could sort of some of his issues. He was activated on Wednesday so he could start against the Padres. But after three weeks off, Colon showed no signs of improvement from earlier in the season.
“I felt good, I just feel like I’ve kind of hit a rough streak, to be honest, and it’s tough to just snap out of it,” Colon said through a translator after Wednesday’s game. “The reality is that I’ve been getting hit hard and that’s the truth and you can’t dance around it.”
Before his stint on the DL, the Braves considered moving Colon to the bullpen. Braves manager Brian Snitker says that remained an option after Wednesday’s poor outing. However, the Braves ultimately decided that the best course of action was to cut ties with Colon.
Atlanta will now have 10 days to trade Colon. Of course, with Colon still owed more than half of his $12.5 million salary, it’s unlikely the Braves will find a trade partner. After 10 days, the Braves will release Colon and he will be officially become a free agent.
From there, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to Colon. His decline as a pitcher has been quite sudden. A year ago at the age of 43, Colon won 15 games and posted a 3.43 ERA with the Mets. But his pinpoint control and ability to fool hitters by changing speeds have been nowhere to be found this year. It’s hard to fathom why at age 44 Colon could be so much worse than he was at age 43.
If a rebuilding team like the Braves no longer wants him, it’s hard to envision another team wanting to sign Colon. He would only cost the major league minimum. But based on his performance this season, there’s likely to be little interest. The lone exception could be the Mets, who continue to be decamated by injuries to their starting rotation. However, the Mets may soon be sellers, leaving them with little reason to bring Colon back on the off chance he can turn things around.
As for the Braves, the absence of Colon from the team’s rotation has coincided with the emergence of prospect Sean Newcomb. The young lefty has a 1.48 ERA over his first four major league starts. The presence of Newcomb and several other young pitchers has made it easier for the Braves to part ways with Colon. Meanwhile, the rest of us wait to see this is really the end of the line for Colon after more than 20 years in the big leagues.