ST. LOUIS — The phone rang in Terry Collins office after Friday night’s 6-5 win with disappointing news. Hours earlier, Bartolo Colon had chosen to sign a minor league deal with the Twins over the Mets, Mets GM Sandy Alderson had called to tell Collins.
“It’s very, very disappointing,” the Mets manager. “We’re very disappointed.”
The Mets had reached out to Colon when he became a free agent on Thursday, a week after he was designated for assignment by the Braves. But the Mets but were just one of multiple teams vying for the 44-year old right-handers’ service.
Alderson felt the need to release a short statement about the swing-and-miss.
Mets reach out to Bartolo Colon, but no deal imminent
“We made a strong effort to re-sign Bartolo. But he decided to go elsewhere,” Alderson said.
In 13 starts, Colon had an 8.14 ERA. He gave up 11 home runs and walked 20 over 63 innings with the Braves. His home run (1.9) and walk (2.9( per nine innings rates are up, but his strikeout per nine rate is still 6.0, same as last season with the Mets.
The Braves will be responsible for the remainder of his $ 12.5 million salary for 2017.
The Mets had hoped that coming back to a team where he succeeded and closer to his home might rejuvenate him. One team source added that Colon knew how to pitch to his spots in Citi Field and would probably respond well to the return to a place he clearly loved.
Collins had hoped Colon would be a reliable choice in the bullpen.. The Mets bullpen went into Friday night’s game has the second worst ERA in all of baseball 5.04.
Colon, who still has his family based in Northern New Jersey, said last offseason his preference was to re-sign with the Mets. The Braves, looking for veteran leaders to add to their rotation for the first year of their new ballpark, threw a lot of money at him early in the free agency period.
But Colon is also on a mission to catch Juan Marichal to become the winningest Dominican-born pitcher in the majors. He is currently eight shy of the Hall of Famer’s 243 career wins. The Twins give Colon a better chance to start and pick up wins.
In three years with the Mets, Colon went 44-34 with a 3.90 ERA. After completing a two-year deal with the Mets in 2015, Colon re-signed with the Mets on a one-year deal knowing that they wanted him to work out of the bullpen.
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