Bartolo Colon "Big Fat Bartolo Colon" and Krispy Kreme. Despite this, I was indifferent when the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract this offseason for reasons my co-author Matt Warden voiced best. The Yankees have money to burn, this year especially. The cost of one minor league contract is, literally, nothing to the team. Once upon a time Krispy Kreme was a good pitcher. Given that his contract is worth about $0 to the Bombers, he represents nothing but upside. If it turns out he has something left in that voluminous gut of his then the Yankees win. If not, no one loses. With that in mind, Larry suggested we investigate whether or not the numbers suggest Colon has anything left to offer the Yankees in 2011.
The data below are taken from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs. I've captured everything Colon has done in the majors since 2002 through 2009, the last time he pitched in the big leagues.
Digging a bit deeper, it appears that Colon also became inconsistent beginning in the 2004 season. After never posting an ERA above 4.09 since he had become a frontline starter, Colon saw his ERA bloat to 5.01 in 2004, his first subpar full season in the majors. After that, apart from his 2005 campaign, his WHIP elevated permanently, and his ERA and FIP bounced around from being good in some seasons to bad in others. The combined picture is one of a player who has a fork sticking out of his back, not one who is primed for a comeback.
Once upon a time Big Fat Bartolo Colon was a good pitcher. He broke into the majors with the Indians in 1997 and settled into their rotation. He also peaked with them, posting a 121 ERA+ and a 1.363 WHIP over six seasons in Cleveland. Unfortunately for the Yankees, a variety of metrics suggest that time has passed. Colon didn't appear to have much left in the tank the last time he pitched in the majors. It's unlikely he has anything now. Making matters worse, according to Baseball-Reference the pitcher he's most similar to through his career is Freddy Garcia. You can't make this stuff up.