Posted on February 5, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Atlanta Braves Bartolo Colon

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Bartolo Colon’s long and storied major league career isn’t over yet. The man they call “Big Sexy” is getting at least one more chance to prove he can pitch in the big leagues. Colon has signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers with an invitation to spring training. He will have to earn his way onto the opening day roster during spring training. But at least a team is giving him that chance despite a stagnant offseason in which most of the top free agents remain unsigned. If he makes the Rangers, Colon will earn $1.75 million plus incentives.

There was uncertainty if Colon, who will turn 45 in May, would get this chance after a troublesome 2017 season. He signed with the Braves expecting to add stability to Atlanta’s rotation. Instead, Colon went 2-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 13 starts. The Braves lost faith in him toward the end of June when they designated him for assignment and ultimately released him.

But Colon landed on his feet and got another chance with the Minnesota Twins. In 15 starts with the Twins, Colon went 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA. Those aren’t standout numbers. But Colon did have a handful of truly impressive starts with the Twins, playing a small role in helping them secure a wild-card spot. It was just enough to make teams think that perhaps Colon has something left in the tank. On a minor league deal that carries little risk, the Rangers will gladly take a shot on the 20-year veteran.

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“Bartolo brings a track record of durability and success in the major leagues,” said Rangers GM Jon Daniels in a statement. “He pounds the strike zone and provides quality competition for our rotation.”

At first glance, it could be tough for Colon to make the opening day roster out of spring training. The Rangers have worked to rebuild their rotation this offseason, adding multiple starters during the early stages of the offseason. They signed both Doug Fister and Mike Minor while also trading for Matt Moore. Those three are all but guaranteed rotation spots in support of ace Cole Hamels.

The Rangers will fill out their rotation with Martin Perez, who’s become a reliable innings eater over the past two seasons. However, after Perez underwent elbow surgery earlier this offseason, he may not be fully recovered in time for opening day. That could open up the fifth spot in the Texas rotation for Colon and others to compete for during spring training.

Of course, Colon will have plenty of competition for that spot. The Rangers will also have Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jon Niese in camp on minor league contracts. Texas is also expected to give Matt Bush a chance to compete as a starting pitcher during spring training. There is also a slight chance the Rangers add another pitcher in free agency. Yu Darvish and several notable starters still available.

Ultimately, Colon faces an uphill battle to make the Texas opening day roster. But he appears willing to pitch in the minors in order to earn a spot back in the big leagues. If he performs well and shows a little patience, Colon may be able to continue his big league career in 2018.

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