The latest splash of Colon isn’t exactly bracing. Time to move on

Bart’s last start? Surely, I say. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Ryan Zimmerman has a batting average of .338, placing him third among MLB hitters. When Bartolo Colon pitches for the Atlanta Braves, he turns every opposing hitter — 1 through 9, pitchers included — into Ryan Zimmerman. Opponents are hitting, yep, .338 against him.

This also happens when Colon pitches: The Braves lose. Since May 1, they’re 2-6 in his starts; they’re 5-8 on the season. In three of the victories, they’ve scored nine or more runs. In games not started by Colon, the Braves have played .500 ball.

Oh, and one other numerical nugget: Colon has participated in 13 games; his Baseball-Reference WAR value is minus-1.9. That’s the worst in the majors by any player, not just pitchers.

When Colon was placed on the disabled list for shifting (first an oblique, then his back) and suspicious ailments, Brian Snitker promised him one more start. The manager said he felt he owed him that much. It’s unclear why Snitker owes Colon anything, but never mind.

The start came Wednesday night against the lowest-scoring team in baseball. Colon lasted four innings. He yielded six earned runs, generating 11 baserunners (eight hits, three walks) against 12 outs. His ERA rose from 7.78 to 8.14. Among pitchers who’ve worked at least 60 innings, the second-worst ERA belongs to Bronson Arroyo — at 7.35.

To accommodate Colon, the Braves switched to a six-man rotation. Those things never work, and we’ve surely seen the first and last turn of this one. The Braves aren’t mathematical dunces: They know that, if they were to stick with this six-pack, Sean Newcomb would start nine of the next 60 games, as opposed to 10.  (Meaning part of the Braves’ reasoning for playing Rent-A-Geezer– that the old guys weren’t blocking any young players — is null and void.) They also know they’d be punting away 10 of those 60 games.

To move Colon to the bullpen would likewise be folly. He doesn’t fit the profile of a 21st Century reliever, not even a last-guy-on-the-roster Long Man. According to Baseball Savant, his average fastball this season has been delivered at 90.29 mph. He has thrown 692 fastballs as a Brave; he has gotten 21 swing-and-misses. Opponents are hitting .374 against his heater, such as it is.

The Braves were surely hoping Colon could show a little something in San Diego and maybe entice some team — maybe his former employer, the Mets having seen yet another starting pitcher (Robert Gsellman) hit the DL — to do a reverse Brandon Phillips deal and absorb $500K of the $6.25 million Colon is owed. But even the Mets can’t be this desperate.

There’s really only one recourse — pay the man (in full) to go away. He’s 44. He has nothing left. He’s taking up a roster space, which isn’t fair to Snitker or the 24 other Braves. He was an All-Star last year, but he has become the worst pitcher, by some distance, in the major leagues. The experiment has failed. Move on.

Reader Comments 0

37 comments
mgunter
mgunter

Win some lose some. Took a chance and all it cost you was a little money. Worst trade in Braves history was Mark Texeria trade for what proved to be 5 future major league ball players. All you doom and glum folk are comical. Coppy has th right plan and it will payoff soon...... glad I'm not a Cubs fan, they were supposed to start a dynasty last year. They have spent all that money and they are only 4 games better than us !

Mutley
Mutley

For those old enough to remember, the trade for Len Barker was worse.

grh0317
grh0317

The " experiment" has failed with at least

5 other Braves players. Deal them as well, right Bradley's?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@grh0317

Many, many "experiments" of ATL pro teams have failed over the past half-century.

Nothing new here.

always sunny
always sunny

This is what the Braves get when they sign a guy (12million. jeesh!) who scoffs at the notion of off-season nutrition and conditioning. At his age, they should have known better.

The Mets only offered him half as much....

We should have looked into that situation a little deeper.

Time to send lard butt packing !!

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

He's as bad as Dan Uggla and B. J. Upton but because he is a pitcher his negative impact on the team is exponentially worse.  Big Sexy is a limp old man.  Let him go.

Techmate
Techmate

As I see it, Tehran's problem is mechanics. Just as he begins to throw, he kicks his left leg violently toward home plate - something he never used to do. With this kicking action, it throws off his throwing motion and affects where the ball hits the strike zone. He is not as smooth as he used to be. 

jcarson
jcarson

I believe it goes without saying that last night will be the last time he pitches. Great career but signed him one year too late.

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

It's unanimous. Big Sexy ain't when he can't pitch. Very questionable move bringing a fat 44-year-old in with the hope he had one more season left.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BaseballBuff

"Very questionable move" defines the long and painful history of all ATL pro teams when it comes to making deals.

Bug
Bug

this team would be 3 games over 500 without this guy on this team. He is a buzz killer.

grh0317
grh0317

@Bug Deal the weak shortstop with Colon..

Without Dansby the Braves would be 5 over 500..

jcarson
jcarson

Love it. If they could've worked some kind of voodoo curse in there for anyone who reads it, they would've had the trifecta.

kenstallings
kenstallings

There is no reasonable alternative available.  Everyone in baseball has their career end at some point.  Colon's career has lasted vastly longer than nearly everyone who started playing when he did.  Release Colon.

E983
E983

Cut him. Take the loss.

AudubonPark
AudubonPark

Phillips on the plus side, Colon on the negative - it's a $$ wash - move on.  With Adams, Flowers, J. Garcia, etc., Mgmt's made some strong decisions - not this one. Colon was Superman v. Braves in '16 (ERA - 1.25) - not so against others.  Only a few HOF pitchers were effective in their '40s - you can't fight it.  Newcomb should have Mgmt thinking young.

Baloo111
Baloo111

Article right on but  long overdue.

Baloo111
Baloo111

Should have  been gone weeks ago. Did not start last week in Atlanta because their would have  been a riot. Sent  a pitcher to minors with a great era , messed with current rotation that was getting it together,  and loss another game in standings'   Just to get Colon another start.  I thought we are trying to win.  This whole thing is mind blowing.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

The bumbling barves have been emptying their colons all over cobb and whatever morons still go to games.

monty1
monty1

Not Cappy's best move.

monty1
monty1

Did anyone not think the Braves were going to lose when it was announced Colon would start?

kips
kips

Please ...please Braves let him go ...now

joedavis
joedavis

One of the biggest thefts in Atlanta history.  2 wins, $12.5 million, and untold damage to the team's food budget.  

BLowE12
BLowE12

No kidding ole' Cap'n obvious. You don't say!

lanierbob
lanierbob

agree.  pay him and cut him  bring up the pitcher in AAA who has an era under 2.0  Were only two games under .500 before last night and with the way they are hitting have a possibility of making playoffs if get decent pitching

rgpat
rgpat

Excellent article. The stats don't lie.

Brave44
Brave44

Mark, you may be right that it is time for Bartolo to move on, but your analysis is totally wrong. All but one of his fundamentals are intact and that is his location. That is why he is being given a second, third and fourth chance. Finding pitchers with his given skills are hard to find and Snitker knows it. You turn into a totally different pitcher if you have to pitch behind in the count. IMHO, his problems are more related to ache and pain issues attributed to weight and age. I have seen some pitchers bounce back and some not. His may be the latter.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Brave44 So send Big sexy to rehab at Jenny Craig, drop a few pounds (about 75) and bring Bart back for the Braves stretch run in September.

LWA52
LWA52

You're right Brave44 - 285-lb washed up 44-year pitchers with an 8.00+ era ARE hard to find. But those aren't the kind of "skills" we need. You need to put down whatever you're smoking because the Braves probably have a dozen pitchers in the minors who could perform better than this clown.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Christopher Walken says it the best regarding Big Sexy, Bai, Bai, Bai , Bai!!!!!