It's that time of the year again, when we get to indulge in everyone's favorite pastime: spending AGM (another guy's money). In our case, that guy is Hal Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees, who did a pretty good job of spending his own money in 2015; the Yankees' Opening Day payroll was north of $217 million, second-highest in the game. But Hal can always do better -- with our help, of course -- and over the next couple of weeks, Andrew Marchand and I will examine some of the goodies the Baby Boss can buy on the free-agent market this winter.
Today we just can't resist taking a peek at a pitcher who became a cult hero for the Yankees in 2011 -- and a $21 million rotation stalwart for the Mets:
Position: Starting pitcher
2015 numbers: $11 million salary, 14-13, 4.16 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 1.0 WAR (Baseball-Reference)
Opening Day age: 42
PROS: A workhorse in every sense of the word, Colon is an innings-eater who averaged 196 innings in each of the last three seasons, even though he's in his 40s. He is a strike-thrower who walked just 24 batters in 194 innings for a league-best 1.1 BB/9IP ratio. His 2015 ERA was lower than four Yankee starters -- Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. Colon is a much better athlete than his beer truck driver physique would have you believe.
CONS: Colon allowed a league-high 217 hits last season and surrendered 25 home runs, more than any other Yankees starter but Sabathia. (Masahiro Tanaka also allowed 25). His fly-ball percentage of 37 percent was higher than any Yankees starter, and is not what you want from a right-handed starter in Yankee Stadium. For the first 2/3 of the 2015 season, Colon was a pretty lousy pitcher (9-10, 4.96 ERA) before he rebounded with a strong August and September. He also pitched well out of the pen in the NLCS and World Series. Worst of all, he will turn 43 before May turns to June.
THE VERDICT: It's a fun concept to kick around, but ultimately one of those things that seems like a better idea at the time you think of it than when you actually do it. Colon remains a steady performer, but is really no more than a No. 5 starter these days, and some day soon his body is going to wake up and feel its age. Perhaps if the Yankees could get him on the cheap -- like maybe a minor-league deal with incentives if he shows something in spring training -- he might be worth bringing to Tampa as rotation insurance. Otherwise, I'd say pass, and live off the nostalgia of his one memorable season in pinstripes.