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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Bartolo Colon earns 200th career win

Who you callin’ “round”?

Though the pitcher win is widely regarded as an outdated stat in today’s world of advanced stats and metrics, it’s still kinda cool to see a pitcher reach a round win total that only 111 pitchers before him have reached. In this case, we’re talking about 41-year-old Bartolo Colon, who on Friday night notched career win No. 200 in the New York Mets’ 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies…

With the victory, Colon becomes the third active pitcher to reach the 200-win plateau, joining Tim Hudson (213 career wins) and CC Sabathia (208). Colon is also the third Dominican-born pitcher to win 200, joining Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219). That’s very good company.

‘‘I’m really happy to be in that category,’’ Colon said through an interpreter. ‘‘I’m expecting a call from those guys.’‘

If it seems like Colon found the Fountain of Youth, it might be true. Since turning 40 on May 24, 2013, he’s won 25 games…

Given how well Colon has pitched these past two seasons, it would seem he has at least one more decent season left in him, maybe two. Obviously 300 wins is out of the questions and 250 is an extreme longshot, but 215-220 may not be. Getting there would move him into the top 80 on the all-time wins list.

The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 10:49 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bartolo colon, history, mets

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 09, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4767706)
So many odd things about the career of Bartolo Colon (who is listed at 5'11", 285 lbs.):

Way back on July of 2002, the Expos gave up Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens for 117 innings of Bartolo Colon. That's three guys who each made at least three All-Star Games. Two position players who win multiple Gold Gloves, and each get votes for the MVP several times each. The pitcher wins a Cy Young, gets votes for the Cy Young several other times, and is seen as one of the best lefties in the game while playing.

Meanwhile, David Price is under team control for an additional year, is as consistent an ace as you'll get in the game, is in great shape...and the Rays can't get a fraction of the haul.

The deadline trade market, in terms of how teams value prospects, has radically changed (evolved?) over the past 10-15 years.
   2. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4767712)
It's impossible to tell what the "haul" is going to end up producing. You're assuming that Smyly et al. aren't going to produce that much and you are assuming that the Expos and Indians knew what prospects were going to end up doing when they traded. Both are false assumptions.

   3. BDC Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4767718)
Most similar pitching careers to Colon's by Starts and ERA+:

Player                 WAR  GS ERA+   Age  GF   W   L     IP
Waite Hoyt            53.3 425  112 18
-38 172 237 182 3762.1
Larry Jackson         52.5 429  113 24
-37  73 194 183 3262.2
Mark Langston         50.3 428  107 23
-38   3 179 158 2962.2
Dwight Gooden         48.2 410  111 19
-35   4 194 112 2800.2
Mel Harder            47.9 433  113 18
-37  94 223 186 3426.1
Frank Viola           47.4 420  112 22
-36   0 176 150 2836.1
Bartolo Colon         45.4 428  112 24
-41   0 200 137 2738.0
Tom Candiotti         42.5 410  108 25
-41  11 151 164 2725.0
Paul Derringer        39.0 445  108 24
-38  98 223 212 3645.0
Freddie Fitzsimmons   33.5 424  112 23
-41  65 217 146 3223.2 

All long careers, of course, but an interesting mix of guys who succeeded mostly as wily veterans, and guys who flamed up and out young, but hung on for a while as lesser lights.

Larry Jackson is always an interesting career to consider, as he probably had some good years left but didn't want to start over in 1969 with the aforementioned Expos.

Waite Hoyt is the only Hall of Famer. He added quite a bit of value as a reliever. He also gets some Yankee-dynasty benefit and some career-announcer benefit. Hoyt is not in the HOM.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4767721)
What vet went to Boston, sucked, went elsewhere.... Had a career rejuvenation and got caught for steroids?

Ha. Gotcha. It's Marlon Byrd.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4767723)
Speaking of milestones by old guys, Byrd is third in the NL in homers!

His chance to catch Stanton (28 vs. 22 currently) is of course minuscule, but man, would that be one of the least likely homerun champions ever.
   6. Brian White Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4767724)
Way back on July of 2002, the Expos gave up Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens for 117 innings of Bartolo Colon.

To be fair, it was 359 innings of Bartolo Colon. The Expos just traded the last 242 innings for Jeff Leifer, Rocky Biddle and an injured El Duque.

Also, I'm not sure I'd use this trade as a prime example of how prospects were valued a decade ago, given that it was an outlier even then in terms of young talent given up for a major league veteran, as well as the extenuating circumstances of the Expos' situation (how much value do prospects have to a franchise that might get terminated in a year and a half?)
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 09, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4767731)
Also, the Expos were under threat of contraction at the time. Jim Bowden didn't care about trading the future of the team because he was working under the assumption that the team did not have a future regardless.
   8. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 09, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4767733)
A) They weren't really and B) Omar Minaya was the idiot who made that trade.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4767746)
A) They weren't really and B) Omar Minaya was the idiot who made that trade.
Yeah, I've always been very skeptical of that explanation. Most of us here scoffed at contraction as an empty threat, so it's hard to believe that people with much more information than us took it more seriously. I would love to hear Minaya's honest account of what he was thinking, although I'm not sure how you could get that, given that the trade didn't work and this is the obvious excuse he can offer.

Now that said, obviously when the trade was made, no one knew that all three guys would become terrific major leaguers. Sizemore was a 3rd round pick two years earlier, then in A+ ball. He was doing well, but looking more like a speedster than an all-around star, and seemingly far from the majors. Lee was a 4th round pick, looking like a guy who would be in a rotation, but not necessarily more. As we all know, it wasn't until age 29 that he shocked the world by becoming CLIFF LEE. Phillips was the best prospect of the group, a 2nd rounder who was ranked #20 by BA. (I do wonder if the personality concerns that prompted Cleveland to give up on him -- and which quite honestly didn't turn out to be entirely unfounded, although the guy has had an excellent career -- were considered even then.)

Still, I do suspect it is true that it's become rare to see even a haul like that in exchange for a two-month rental. I would expect such a rental to possibly yield a top 50 guy (e.g. Zack Wheeler), but not a top 20, never mind a top 20 plus two other good prospects. And when we did see a top 20 guy (Addison Russell) go, it was for two rotation SP. So that does sound right to me, but it'd be interesting to see a study confirming or denying it. I suspect it has been done, since the methodology would be pretty straightforward, but don't know where.
   10. MNB Posted: August 09, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4767747)
There's also the trade the Expos made where they sent Randy Johnson, Brian Holman, and Gene Harris to Seattle in exchange for 176 2/3 innings of Mark Langston.
   11. jdennis Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4767748)
Hard to think of Colon as a top 100 pitcher of all time, but that's what that comp list in #3 implies. Long career of 112 ERA+ will get you pretty high up. Colon is probably above about 6 starters and 3 relievers in the Hall too. I guess that doesn't count the inevitable crap season at the end, though.
   12. BDC Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4767756)
The Rangers' 2010-11 pennants were strongly influenced by rental trades, of course. Andrus, Feliz, and Matt Harrison (plus Salty) for a year-and-a-half of Mark Teixeira, which the Braves parlayed into … Casey Kotchman? Hmmn. Then, in the other direction, renting Cliff Lee for the unfortunate Justin Smoak and change. But an earlier rental trade was also very important, in an unforeseen way: renting Carlos Lee for the stretch run in 2006. The Rangers dropped like a stone soon after, though Lee himself played fine for them. But along with Lee came Nelson Cruz, who was both hero and goat in his Texas tenure, but never provided a dull moment.

I've gotten a kick out of these moves over the years: like Cruz, they are rarely boring. Well, I suppose Matt Garza was pretty boring last year.
   13. Dag Nabbit at Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4767758)
His record is 200-137. Most similar records by pitchers at the time of their 200th win:

200-141: Catfish Hunter
200-140: Orel Hershier
200-139: John Smoltz
200-137: Bartolo Colon
200-134: Warren Spahn
200-134: Herb Pennock
200-134: Kenny Rogers
200-133: Curt Shilling
200-132: Stan Coveleski
   14. Brian White Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4767766)
Yeah, I've always been very skeptical of that explanation. Most of us here scoffed at contraction as an empty threat, so it's hard to believe that people with much more information than us took it more seriously.

Regardless of how serious the threat of contraction was, it was pretty clear that baseball was long going to be in Montreal much longer. I'm not sure how serious team management took the threat of contraction, but there was a whole heck of a lot of uncertainty facing the franchise.

Throw in the idea of the Colon trade as a big middle finger to MLB, which had tried very hard to sell the false idea that the Expos could never compete and had to be moved/contracted, and I'll accept the idea that there was a good reason for the Expos to value current wins much more highly than future wins. No, it wasn't a great trade, but you really can't dismiss the situation in which it occured.
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4767768)
200-137: Bartolo Colon
200-134: Warren Spahn

Both men fought the Battle of the Bulge.
   16. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4767772)
I don't think we can rule out the fact that people with more information would take the threat of contraction more seriously. Perhaps there were real plans being set up (like for a player dispersal draft)on what to do if contraction happened that we don't know about that would make the plan look a lot more realistic.
   17. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 09, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4767775)
Throw in the idea of the Colon trade as a big middle finger to MLB

The team owner.

Whether the contraction threat was real, the future of MLB in Montreal was decidedly uncertain.

   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4767785)
Both men fought the Battle of the Bulge.

The difference being Spahn won.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4767804)
That trade was roundly criticized at the time. It was bad on pretty much all fronts -- the talent given up, the talent received, the Expos' chances of making the playoffs ... and then it quickly became doubly stupid when he traded Colon to the White Sox for absolutely nothing. It is most certainly not an example of how prospects were valued back then. If you averaged the two Colon trades, you might get somewhere close to the truth.

As noted, MLB owned the Expos at the time. The notion that this was a middle finger to MLB is silly. If anything this was MLB trying to show that they weren't there to drive the Expos into the ground, that by golly they were trying their darnedest to help this team win. They'd been criticized over payroll limits, etc. so this was the "big move."
   20. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: August 09, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4767814)
That's how I recall it too, Walt. More of a "we are trying to win" move than a "we will show you trade"....
   21. Brian White Posted: August 09, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4767816)
and then it quickly became doubly stupid when he traded Colon to the White Sox for absolutely nothing.

Not really Minaya's fault, though. Well, kind of Minaya's fault - MLB farted around with what their allowed payroll would be, then half-way through the offseason, set it so ridiculously low that keeping Colon wasn't really an option. Everyone knew the Expos would have to trade Colon, and they proceeded to get low-balled by pretty much everyone. Minaya didn't help things by dragging out the process, until teams (notably the Yankees) dropped out of the bidding, until he was left with only the White Sox offer of a broken down 37-year-old and some spare parts.

And the commissioner's office was decidedly NOT happy with the Colon trade (the one that brought him to Montreal, not the subsequent one that sent him to the North Side). Minaya had made a lot of noise about how this was going to help them compete in 2003, and MLB quashed that by essentially forcing Colon to be traded.

EDIT: Here is BP's take on the trade at the time. It pretty accurately captures all the silliness that went into MLB's shenanigans with the Expos, and how blame should be assigned to various parties for the Colon disaster (first and foremost, Bud Selig gets the prize).
   22. Norcan Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4767844)
Bartolo was also 20 when he signed, which was ancient by Latin American standards, even though he was representing himself as 18. I don't know whether it was because he was so advanced or the Indians suspected he was actually older but it's surprising he started his second year at High-A ball. I remember reading about how precocious he was for his ability to spot high-90s fastballs knee-high on the corners. If he was known to be two year older, I doubt he would've ever been rated the 15th and 14th best prospect in 1996 and 1997. Then again, his performance and stuff might have overcome the bias against his age.

I used to think that if Bartolo hadn't lied about his age, that he might never have gotten signed in the first place and then been pigeonholed into being a reliever. But Rafael Montero signed at 20 and has been a starter all along. Then again, maybe the history of guys like Colon and even Miguel Tejada have changed some opinions.
   23. Bhaakon Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4767845)

Both men fought the Battle of the Bulge.

The difference being Spahn won.

Bartolo Colon to German commander: "Mmm, nuts."
   24. bobm Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4767853)
There's also the trade the Expos made where they sent Randy Johnson, Brian Holman, and Gene Harris to Seattle in exchange for 176 2/3 innings of Mark Langston.

Davidoff in NY Post

In 1989, the Montreal Expos, in go-for-it mode, traded a package of prospects to Seattle for hard-throwing lefty Mark Langston. Though Langston pitched extremely well, the Expos failed to qualify for the postseason, and one of those prospects was another hard-throwing southpaw named Randy Johnson.

Dave Dombrowski, who made the trade for the Expos, was not deterred. Now in his 13th year running the Tigers, he has become baseball’s king of go-for-it trades.

This July, he executed two more big deals, trading young pitchers Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson to Texas for reliever Joakim Soria on July 23 then pulling off a three-way trade in which he acquired ace David Price from Tampa Bay while shipping minor league shortstop Willy Adames and left-hander Drew Smyly to the Rays and center fielder Austin Jackson to Seattle.

“For some reason, this false thought process is out there that you can acquire good big league players without giving up any talent,” Dombrowski said this past week, during the Tigers’ visit to The Bronx. “I have not found that to really exist. I just think, if you’re trying to win, that’s the cost of doing business.”

In recent years, very few of these prospects have come back to bite Dombrowski. Not yet, at least.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia, dealt to the White Sox last year in a three-way swap that brought aboard currently injured shortstop Jose Iglesias, missed most of this season with a serious left shoulder injury.

Jacob Turner, the key piece that landed Anibal Sanchez from Miami in 2012, was just traded from the Marlins to the Cubs.

Going back to 2007, Dombrowski gave up a haul of kids, including outfielder Cameron Maybin and pitcher Andrew Miller, for reigning two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. None of the players helped the Marlins significantly.

“You hear everybody say it and it’s absolutely accurate: You’re in a spot where you have to know your own players better than anyone else,” Dombrowski said.
   25. T.J. Posted: August 09, 2014 at 10:22 PM (#4767879)
And when we did see a top 20 guy (Addison Russell) go, it was for two rotation SP.

The Cubs also got OF Billy McKinney from Oakland in the deal. He's a 2013 first-round pick slashing .340/.439/.470 as a 19-year-old at High-A Daytona, although he was only hitting .240/.330/400 at Stockton before the deal, so the usual SSS warnings apply. BP says he "could be a J.D. Drew-type player in his prime." ranks him #9 in the loaded Cubs' organization.
   26. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4767973)
I think it is kind of scary that the Colon trade looks to be such old history that there are myths about it now.

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