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Colon to Sign in Oakland

January 15, 2012

UPDATE: There are reports the deal is for $2.0M. Which means he won’t have to do too much to “earn” his contract. Also with the A’s 40-man roster full it will be interesting to see who gets knocked off of it to (and pardon the joke for the larger-sized Colon) allow room for the new addition.

We learned yesterday that the A’s were talking with Bartolo Colon and now care of Jayson Stark of ESPN we have confirmation as he tweets that Colon,

“has agreed to a one-year big-league deal with the A’s, pending a physical.”

Financial terms of the deal are still unclear, but yesterday in a post talking about Colon I highlighted that he gives us the option to send some of our younger starters down to Sacramento should they falter. This deal answers the question of do the A’s need rotation depth?

Clearly Billy Beane and the A’s feel the answer is yes and I agree. While the line of thinking on the internet is that the A’s have a lot of starting pitching depth they really did not. Not when you actually looked at it. Before this signing, it seemed like Brandon McCarthy who was last year’s “won the 5th starter job in Spring Training” guy would be the top of the rotation pitcher for the A’s. For all my disbelief that what we saw from Guillermo Moscoso last year can be replicated he appeared to be the number two as Dallas Braden another pitcher you could put in either of those slots likely won’t be ready by Opening Day but hopefully is sometime in April. So for the sake of this argument we could’ve argued to stick him in as one of the top three and go to starter number four, is it Josh OutmanGraham Godfrey? Do we go with a new acquisition like Tommy Milone or Jarrod Parker? As you can see the decisions started to get more difficult, and remember this was giving a slot to Braden that he may not even be available for. Now the decision is at least one spot easier. If McCarthy is still the number one, Colon now slots into number two, with Moscoso or Braden being the number three or four and some combination of Godfrey, Milone or Outman fighting for the fifth slot (I’d like to see it go to Milone but let’s let their performance choose a winner).

The point is there is a lot of depth per se, but there isn’t a lot of “don’t waste your service time, don’t get rattled and spooked by MLB hitting” pitching in there. I don’t think any A’s fans want 2012 to be a make or break year for the likes of Parker or Brad Peacock or even the lower-upside Milone. Colon helps assure that there isn’t a scenario that forces guys into the rotation through a very real culmination of injuries or failure. Because look so many of these pitching options like Tyson Ross, are perennial injury risks (Ross having pitched terribly since his return from his latest injury) and even looking at the “top” of the rotation, McCarthy, Colon himself and Braden are all very real risks. Furthermore while some want to anoint Guillermo Moscoso a big piece of the A’s going forward, let’s not forget that he is one year removed from being DFA’d by Texas and shipped to Oakland for next to nothing (which could be a major faux pas by the Rangers or could be indicative that he really isn’t all that great – speaking of DFAs don’t we all wish the A’s had hung onto Phil Humber now?).

By signing Colon, the A’s can gain some additional flexibility with their rotation and not have to force one of the young arms to pitch through trouble. We can let these young arms ripen in Sacramento and blossom into the 2015 American League West Champions we all hope they can blossom into. Furthermore for someone like Colon it is nearly assured they will be dealt at the line to a contender, providing further bang for the Athletics’ limited buck. Let’s see what this old guy has left in his tank, if he can show us what we showed us in person on Memorial Day but this time wearing an A’s jersey.

A very similar post to this that I posted on Athletics Nation prior to the signing becoming official is perhaps no longer worth a read but is certainly the best destination to discuss the move with other Athletics fanatics.

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