apparently interested in the services of Bartolo Colon, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since quitting on the White Sox in 2009 and who missed all of 2010.
Apparently Colon has attracted the interest of the Indians, Yankees and Rangers due to the 1.47 ERA he posted over the seven Dominican Winter League starts he made and that he'll choose "whichever teams signs [him]."
As tempting as it is to dismiss this report outright, this is the Hot Stove and it is January, also known as the deadest month of the baseball year, so what better way to pass the time than to take a quick look at the career of a formerly very good pitcher in graphical format?
It's easy to forget that from 1998 to 2003 Colon was one of the top ten pitchers in baseball, at least by fWAR. Of course, it's very easy to remember that the last time he pitched at an elite level was five seasons ago, in his AL Cy Young-winning 2005. Although many also recall that Colon primarily won the award on the strength of his league-leading 21 victories, and that in reality Johan Santana, who put up a ridiculous 7.6 fWAR season, was robbed. Additionally, Mark Buehrle, John Lackey and even Randy Johnson out-fWARed Colon in 2005. Regardless of whether Colon was deserving of the award or not, it was still an excellent season, and sadly he hasn't even come close to returning to those previous heights.
Colon's 2006 and 2007 were injury-plagued and ineffective. He actually pitched OK for the Red Sox in 2008, throwing to a 3.92 ERA (4.34 FIP) over seven starts and 39 innings, but apparently left the team in September to handle a personal issue in the Dominican Republic. Colon made 12 starts with Chicago in 2009 and also reportedly quit on the team at some point in the season, though the only significant mention I can find of any trouble between Colon and the ChiSox is in this July 9 ESPN article stating that Colon actually went missing for an unspecified amount of time while on injury rehab but was later found and thought to possibly be rejoining the Major League rotation later that month.
In any event, as much as I tend to like the idea of taking fliers on cheap, low-risk, potentially high-upside pitchers, in this case I can't offer any sort of endorsement for Colon. His track record during the last five seasons is mostly abysmal, and a few impressive outings in Winter League ball don't change that. Having missed last season there aren't even any publicly available projections for the soon-to-be 38-year-old, though one system sees him as a 0.7 WAR pitcher over 80 innings in 2011. Even that sounds pretty optimistic for a pitcher who hasn't thrown in the Majors since 2009, but I suppose you could do worse if you were to sign Colon to a minor league deal with no guarantees regarding making the big league club.