Activated RHP Bartolo Colon from the 10-day DL.
Optioned RHP Jason Hursh to AAA Gwinnett.
Signed free agent 3B Andrew Daniel to a minor league contract, assigning Daniel to AA Mississippi.
Activated RHP Bartolo Colon from the 10-day DL
With his oblique injury settled, Colon returned to the mound last night and got back to pitching exactly as he had before his DL stint. That’s not a good thing, and it’s starting to feel like we’re watching the end of the 44 year old’s big league career.
It’s hard to diagnose what’s wrong with Colon. A healthy chunk of it is bad luck. He has an inflated BABIP despite similar line drive and batted ball rates as years past. He has an inexplicably poor strand rate, which is another metric that pitchers typically have little control over.
There are trends that are concerning as well. After years of pinpoint control, Colon’s walk rate is more than double what it was as recently as 2015. His fastball, which he had 80-grade command of in recent seasons, is being thrown less than any season since early in his career. His changeup usage has doubled. Occam’s Razor would suggest that a 44-year old struggles because, at 44, he is losing his ability, and these concerning trends suggest that as well. As Colon nears the end of his career, that fastball command is slipping, and he and his battery mates are calling pitches like they know it. He’s less accurate with his pitches. This is what is likely to happen to anyone pitching at that age, and it’s apparently happening with Bartolo.
While he’s almost certainly done as a starter, there’s a chance he could find value in the bullpen. If he could keep the rest of the ‘pen a bit more fresh by handling low-leverage relief innings, he could still help the team. Never underestimate the starter-to-reliever conversion, either. Bud Norris also went from being one of baseball’s worst starters to one of its better relievers. I don’t mean to suggest Colon would have the same type of success as Norris, as their skill sets are pretty different. However, instead of focusing on what he can’t do (be an effective starter), I would hope an organization that is willing to let its best player suddenly move up the defensive spectrum would be creative enough to test Colon in creative and different ways, if Colon is open to it.
The real shame is that, in a manner of 2 months, Colon has gone from a likely candidate to set the win record for Dominican-born pitchers to a distinct improbability.
Optioned RHP Jason Hursh to AAA Gwinnett
It seems like Hursh has more transactions and call-ups to his name than he does major league innings. We haven’t gotten much of a look at the former 1st-round pick. Hopefully, the best is yet to come, as a 6.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9 combo isn’t what’s pictured when designing a relief ace.
Signed free agent 3B Andrew Daniel to a minor league deal
Daniel is listed at 3rd, but he’s played 2nd more in his minor league career, so you may see him wind up at the keystone instead. An 11th round pick in 2014 by the Angels, Daniel got some attention in rookie ball that year when he slashed .340/.408/.510, but the offense slipped to “tolerable” in A-ball, then to “not good” in AA. He won’t embarrass himself defensively, and perhaps he could get the offense back enough to at least pencil into minor league lineups regularly. Just don’t mistake a player released from one of the worst farm systems in baseball for a prospect.
Daniel will head to AA Mississippi.