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Colon’s Performance Has Positive Ripple Effect

By Mike Silva ~ May 3rd, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Three starts and 33 innings into the baseball season I may have my first “eating crow” moment of 2011. When Brian Cashman signed Bartolo Colon this winter I thought Omar Minaya had somehow stolen Cashman and made the move. Colon had missed all of 2010, and hadn’t started more than 20 games since winning the Cy Young Award in 2005. Even after a strong spring training I was waiting for the “wheels to fall off,” and wasn’t much of a believer.  All Colon has done in his three starts is average seven innings, average nearly a strikeout per inning, and pitched to a 2.49 ERA. Watching each of Colon’s starts give me reason to believe this is no fluke as he is throwing in the mid nineties, keeping the ball down, and locating his pitches nicely.

I would expect similar results if his process continues to stay the same. The only concern is how he will hold up, especially with his still heavy frame. It’s one thing to be solid over a 3 start stretch, but can Colon give the Yankees 170 innings? Can he pitch through the summer into October and be one of the Yankees three starters in the ALDS? That is a question that no one, including the Yankees, may have the answer.

Many have been yearning for Andy Pettitte. You probably have the right handed Pettitte on the roster right now. Cliff Lee? So far in Philadelphia he’s been far more pedestrian than Colon (106 ERA+ to Colon’s 133), and a respected voice in baseball expressed concerns to me in spring training about whether Lee is headed for a down year.

Yes, it would be more comforting if the Yankees could bring in a top of the rotation starter. Lee would be a surer bet based on recent history, but there were risks in that long term deal. Felix Hernandez is exactly what you want, but the Mariners aren’t about to trade him, and if they did, it would probably cost the Yankees each of their top five prospects.

Colon’s performance has become important in a few ways. First, it takes the pressure off Brian Cashman to acquire a starter. It means they could find time to figure out what is wrong with Phil Hughes. It also means they might be able to hold onto their top prospects come midseason. A desperate Yankees team might have to give an A level prospect for a B level pitcher. Maybe the Dodgers make Ted Lilly and his three year contract available. That is the kind of pitcher that I believe might be most realistic. Not sexy, but durable. It does not, however, justify overpaying to acquire someone of that ilk.

If no arm becomes available, then the current rotation might have to do. I see no reason, if they stay healthy, why they couldn’t go through the entire season with this group. It’s a risk, and too early to make an absolute declaration, but I am not sure the arms that will be available are significantly better than the current five. At least at a reasonable price.

Colon also could be a bridge to the next group of prospects that are ready. David Phelps, Hector Noesi, and D.J. Mitchell do not have to be rushed to the big leagues. They could develop in Triple-A this year. He gives the Yankees another year of development for Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. The picture on all these prospects should be much clearer by the end of the year. This move could turn out to be one of Cashman’s best since taking over as general manager. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tony Pena, who recommended Colon to the organization.

In short, Colon continuing his “turn back the clock” performance is important for the 2011 Yankees, but equally as important for the entire organization.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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2 Responses to Colon’s Performance Has Positive Ripple Effect

  1. Michael Maggi


    I still think you see some decent arms become available prior to the trade deadline. My gut tells me, more arms than you would predict. I think you will see guys like Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Derek Lowe, Francisco Liriano and possibly Chris Carpenter and Fausto Carmona if the Cardinals and Indians come back down to earth, respectively. I also think the White Sox could make Jake Peavy and/or Mark Buehrle available. Peavy is a risk given his recent injury history but if his rehab goes well and he gives the Sox 5-7 strong starts prior to the trade deadline, he might be worth a chance if the Sox pick up some dollars.

  2. KB

    I’m not entirely sure what what ‘pedestrian’ means in terms to baseball, but consider this:

    Cliff Lee is doing better than Colon in WAR, FIP, and XFIP, HR/9, K/9 and BB/9. Plus, BABIP and LOB% show that Lee has been somewhat unlucky, while Colon has been somewhat lucky. And while Colon’s K/BB ratio is excellent at 5.50, Lee’s even better with a 7.33 mark.

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