There were reports over the weekend in various sources, including MetsBlog, concerning the possibility of veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon returning to the Mets. It looks like the original source was an interview with Minnesota Twin pitcher Ervin Santana in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Santana said Colon told him that he would like to pitch in 2018 with the goal of winning at least six more games, so the he could become the winningest Latin American pitcher of all time, and he would like to do it with the Mets. Dennis Martinez currently holds the record with 245 wins, while Colon has amassed 240 wins in MLB.
Colon has pitched for 20 years in MLB for ten different teams, including a successful stint with the Mets from 2014-2016. Colon contributed to the Mets pennant winning team of 2015 (he started opening day that year) and their wild card 2016 team.
In 2017 he signed with Atlanta, and the results were terrible. In 13 games his won-loss record was 2-8, with an 8.14 ERA in 43 IP. All those games were starts, so he was averaging a little over three innings per start. He spent the second part of the year with Minnesota. His record there was 5-6 with an ERA of 5.18 in 15 games (all starts) with 80 IP logged. That was an improvement over his numbers with the Braves, but still those were ugly stats.
If Colon does pitch again this year, it will be his age 45 season. Considering both his age and his dreadful 2017, he would be considered a longshot to have much upside in 2018.
Note also his desire to pitch again in MLB seems to stem not from a desire to help a team win but for a more selfish reason, specifically the desire to win six more games so he can claim the honor of being the winningest ever Latin American MLB pitcher. A few pitchers have pitched in MLB as old as Colon will be, but usually they have relied on a specialty pitch like a knuckleball. Colon still throws mostly fastballs.
The Mets should be looking for players to help them win games. They don’t need players who are focused on a personal agenda. This reminds me too much of the questionable approach Bill Veeck and the White Sox took toward Minnie Minoso when he was activated for a few games in 1976 at age 50 and again in 1980 when he was 54. Because Minoso had first played in MLB in 1949, this gave him a sort of record of having played in MLB ball in five different decades. That smacked of gimmickry, and the case could be made that Colon’s quest has some similarities.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson was asked about the Mets pitching staff in September of last year. He said, concerning additions to the staff, that a “Bartolo Colon type” would be something he could consider. Notice he didn’t say Bartolo Colon, but a Bartolo Colon type. I’m pretty sure he meant a pitcher who was like the pre-2017 Colon, not like the one who pitched last year.