The New York Mets are in a tricky position at the All Star Break. While many would have pegged the Mets as sellers just 10 days ago, an 8-2 stretch to end the first half has given the team a new lease on life. The Mets have a pulse right now, making it tough for them to decide whether to buy, sell, or simply hold at the July 31st trade deadline. One important person to watch on the trade block is veteran right hander Bartolo Colon.
Colon has been a stabilizing presence for the Mets' rotation. Colon is 8-8 with a 3.99 ERA on the season, but Colon has offered tremendous value eating innings and tutoring the staff's younger pitchers. The Mets have already received calls from other teams about whether Colon is available, Jim Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. While Colon is not the top pitcher available on the market, he may become an option for teams who can't afford to acquire either David Price or Jon Lester.
Colon has value as a middle of the rotation starter for a contender, like previously traded arms Jason Hammel and Brandon McCarthy. Colon is 41 years old and still has a year and 11 million dollars left on his contract after this season, and financially it would make sense for the Mets to move Colon. The Mets have a ton of young controllable arms on their roster, and Colon is a luxury for a team that is on the way up. Colon could likely command one very good upper level prospect according to ESPN analyst Jim Bowden, and that could help the Mets add more depth to their farm system.
Moving Colon could also open up a rotation spot for Noah Syndergaard. The Mets have been hinting that Syndergaard would likely make his debut in August, and the easiest way to open a spot for him would be to deal Colon. Allowing Syndergaard to make his debut would give the Mets a jolt in the arm and further free up money in the winter to either add an impact bat or possibly extend Daniel Murphy's contract.
The counter argument to dealing Colon is that Colon's veteran presence has helped the team's younger pitchers develop. Colon developed a bond with many of the team's young arms, particularly in the bullpen, during spring training, and he has years of experience and knowledge that he can impart to help them mature faster. Colon also is valuable for his ability to eat innings, a key when the club wants to try and protect some of its younger starters with innings limits.
Whether the Mets move Colon or not could depend on how the club comes out of the All Star Break. The Mets face a nine game road trip after the break that kicks off with six games out west before ending with another three in Milwaukee. If the Mets fall flat after the break, that could accelerate the decision to dump Colon for a prospect. If the Mets can move closer to .500 and the playoff race with a strong trip, the decision on whether or not to move Colon could become a lot trickier.
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