Free agency in baseball is all about trying to improve your team as much as possible. But aside from winning, there is also the entertainment value of baseball for teams to consider. In that sense, it’s imperative that one of the 30 major league teams sign ageless wonder Bartolo Colon this offseason.
Colon may or may not be able to help a team compete for a championship. But he’s still one of the most entertaining and enjoyable figures in the game. So, on behalf of baseball fans everywhere, won’t someone please sign Colon this winter.
“I’ve always been fascinated by him. I feel like he embodies the way the sport should be. He does things that you don’t expect him to do, which is what makes him so great.”
Matt Sassi, fan
In his final start of the 2017 season, Colon was treated by Twins fans as if he had made the final start of his career. He received a much-deserved standing ovation, a proper goodbye if this is indeed the end of the line for him. But afterward, the 44-year-old said he would like to continue pitching in 2018. Colon promised his late mother that he would pitch until he was 45, which means that he’ll be more than willing to sign with a team that’s willing to give him a chance next season.
As long as Colon is willing to play, there should be a team that’s willing to sign him. Despite struggling with the Braves during the first half of the season, he proved serviceable after signing with the Twins later in the year. Colon has also proved himself capable of bouncing back from a rough year.
Several years ago, he looked like his career was approaching its conclusion, but he reinvented himself and from 2013 to 2016 he averaged better than 15 wins per season. Based on that, Colon would be worth the risk for at least one major league team.
“The biggest thing about him that stands out is his demeanor and the way he carries himself. It’s not everyday that somebody is pitching and he gives up a home run, you see him just tossing the ball up in the air and catching it like nothing is wrong. The next three batters he’s lights-out and it changes the way we go about the game.”
But it’s more than what he does on the mound that a team should sign him. It’s his presence on a ball club. It’s his leadership and the example he sets for younger pitchers. It’s his nonchalance when he takes the mound, just tossing the ball up and down in the air without a care in the world, only to have laser focus when he steps on the rubber. Even if he’s not the same pitcher he was just a couple years ago when he helped supplement the Mets young rotation on the way to the World Series, he can still be an asset to a team.
More than anything else, Colon deserves to take a victory lap. All of baseball needs to know that 2018 will be his final season so they can take in everything that he offers one last time. Fans need to be able to enjoy his memorable plate appearances, endearing spirit, and almost child-like attitude with which he plays the game. There have been so many things Colon has done in his career that no one thought they’d see, and so there’s no telling what unforgettable moments await if we just get one more year out of him.
“I think people can’t help but be drawn to Bart’s mannerisms. He’s never too high, he’s never too low, he’s just out there enjoying himself. When you’re young, everything about the game is fun. The only thing that changes is you’re playing in front of more people, the stands get bigger, there’s more people watching. The game should still be the same. We forget that. We tend to be at our best when we’re having fun, and he’s such a great example of that.”
To all the teams out there, someone please sign Colon in 2018. After the career he’s had, Colon should be able to pitch for as long as he wants. If he wants to play one more year, the game should oblige and give him one more year. Fortunately, it’ll only take one team to give Colon a chance to give him one final year in the big leagues and the farewell tour all of baseball wants to see.