Bartolo Colon is no ace, but he is a very strong value signing for the Mets.

The 40-year old Colon -- the 2005 Cy Young Award winner -- is round, surprisingly effective and hit the free agent market at exactly the right time. He has taken a unique path to this point. He earned his first All-Star game appearance with Cleveland in 1998, but won his first and only Cy Young Award seven years -- and five teams -- later.

After shoulder pain from a torn rotator cuff and damage to ligaments and tendons cut short his 2009 season, he had an experimental (and controversial) surgery with in which stem cells from his hip were inserted into his shoulder in March of 2010 and followed by platelet-rich plasma therapy. He missed the entire 2010 season.

The Yankees took a chance on him in 2011. After an effective year in the Bronx, he headed to Oakland in 2012 for $2 million, only to draw a 50-game ban for testing positive for testosterone. Then in 2013, he put together one of the best years of his career.

Why is his timing so good? In 2013, Colon posted a career-best 2.65 ERA in 190 1/3 innings of work for Oakland. He was very close to the same pitcher he was in 2012 for the A's when he ran a 3.43 ERA in 152 1/3 innings, but he got lucky in two key areas: he stranded runners at an abnormally high rate, and fewer fly balls turned into home runs than in the year before. Colon's FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching (which is scaled to ERA based heavily on strikeout and walk rates and normalizes batted ball events and timing) - dropped, but less dramatically so, from 3.82 in 2012 to 3.23 in 2013.

Here are Colon's key rate stats since his 2011 comeback.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;ERA;FIP;IP;K%;BB%;LOB%;HR/FB

2011;4.00;3.83;164.1;19.5;5.8;70.0;11.4

2012;3.43;3.82;152.1;14.3;3.6;76.3;9.1

2013;2.65;3.23;190.1;15.2;3.8;80.0;6.0

MLB AVG;3.87;3.87;;19.9;7.9;73.5;10.5

[/sny-table]

Note that Colon's strikeout rate and walk rate have both declined in the last three seasons. In fact, his walk rate is now half of the Major league average, which is excellent. Also note that his left on base percentage (LOB%), which has more to do with luck than skill, has bounced around (as it should), peaking in 2013. That high LOB%, combined with his lowest HR/FB% since his return, helped produce Colon's pretty, sub-3 ERA in 2013.

Colon's LOB% of 80.0%  was high - 8th in baseball in 2013 - but not off the charts. In theory, higher strikeout pitchers will tend to have higher strand rates because they can pitch for the strikeout with men on base if they need to. In fact, Colon's strikeout rate (as measured on a per inning basis) was the lowest of any pitcher in the top 10 in strand rate in 2013.

Home run to flyball ratio is particularly important to Colon because he is an extreme fly-ball pitcher. In 2013, his groundball percentage (the opposite of fly balls) was 41.5%, 22nd in baseball. The fact that Colon was well, lucky, in 2013 and missed a few weeks with a groin strain, does not mean he cannot be an effective pitcher in the next two years.

In 2013, Colon led Major League baseball, among all pitchers who threw enough to qualify for an ERA title, in fastball usage percentage at 85.5% according to Fangraphs. In fact, he was the only pitcher above Justin Masterson at 73.3%. However, that camoflages the fact that Colon has two different fastballs: a fourseamer that averaged 92.9 mph that he threw 32% of the time and a sinker that averaged 90 mph that he threw 52% of the time per Brooks Baseball. His slider, at 11%, is his primary breaking ball and he throws a changeup about 5% of the time.

Colon is old, heavy, and unusual, but he represents good value for the Mets.

First, examine all of the free agent contracts that pitchers and teams have signed so far this offseason. This list comes from MLB Trade Rumors. Tim Lincecum never hit free agency, but his two year, $35 million deal with the Giants sure seems like a free agent-level contract from here, so we're going to include him.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;Years;Total;AAV;3 Yr bWAR;2014 Age

Hiroki Kuroda;1;16;16;12.7;39

Bartolo Colon;2;20;10;9.8;40

Jason Vargas;4;32;8;5.8;31

Tim Hudson;2;23;11.5;5.6;38

Josh Johnson;1;8;8;4.6;30

Ricky Nolasco;4;49;12.25;4.3;31

Dan Haren;1;10;10;3.8;33

Ryan Vogelsong;1;5;5;3.2;36

Felipe Paulino;1;1.75;1.75;2.3;30

Scott Feldman;3;30;10;2.2;31

Tim Lincecum;2;35;17.5;1.9;29

Phil Hughes;3;24;8;1.1;28

Scott Kazmir;2;22;11;0.8;30

Edinson Volquez;1;5;5;-2.8;30

[/sny-table]

In the last three years, Colon has been the second-best pitcher of this group by Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement and it's not really close. Hiroki Kuroda bests Colon by almost three full wins, while Colon is four wins better than Jason Vargas, who is third on the list. By average annual value, Colon's $10 million contract is part of a three-way tie for seventh-highest in the group. By total value, it is eighth.

Now, lets look forward. For all of the free agent pitchers, I added up their RA9-WAR projections for the years covered by their latest contract, according to the Oliver model hosted at Fangraphs. Now we can construct a rough estimate of the value of each contract as measured by $ per projected win. I applied a major fudge: Oliver projects Colon to be worth 2.6 wins in 2014. However, he is the only pitcher for whom there is no win projection for 2015 and beyond. For 2014, Oliver projects 190+ innings of baseball with an ERA just under four. That seems high on the innings front for Colon for the following year, when he would be 42 in 2015. To be very conservative, I slapped in a win value of 1 in 2015. This lines up with Dan Szymborski's ZiPs which projects Colon for 3.6 wins over the next two years.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;2014;2015;2016;2017;Total;Avg;$/win

Hiroki Kuroda;3.4;;;;3.4;3.4;4.7

Scott Feldman;2.2;2.1;2;;6.3;2.1;4.8

Jason Vargas;2;1.5;1.3;1;5.8;1.5;5.5

Bartolo Colon;2.6;1;;;3.6;1.8;5.6

Tim Hudson;2.3;1.5;;;3.8;1.9;6.1

Dan Haren;1.3;;;;1.3;1.3;7.7

Josh Johnson;1;;;;1;1.0;8.0

Phil Hughes;1.1;1;0.8;;2.9;1.0;8.3

Ricky Nolasco;2.3;1.5;1.1;0.9;5.8;1.5;8.4

Felipe Paulino;0.2;;;;0.2;0.2;8.8

Ryan Vogelsong;0.5;;;;0.5;0.5;10.0

Scott Kazmir;0.9;0.9;;;1.8;0.9;12.2

Tim Lincecum;0.9;0.5;;;1.4;0.7;25.0

Edinson Volquez;0;;;;0;0.0;#DIV/0!

[/sny-table]

By this metric, Colon's contract is the fourth-best among starting pitchers by projected $/win so far. And there are major caveats with the three ahead of him. Kuroda's deal is only for one year. Meanwhile, Scott Feldman (3/$30) and Jason Vargas (4/$32) each signed deals worth at least $10 million more than Colon's for one or two more years. It does not take much optimistic tweaking beyond flipping the estimate on 2015 from one win to two wins to make Colon's deal the top in terms of projected $/wins.

Lets step back and look at Colon's bWAR totals from the last three years: '11 - 2.1, '12 - 2.7, '13 - 5.0. Which of these things does not look like the other? The beauty of this deal for the Mets is that it does not suppose that Colon be as good or as fortunate as he was in 2013 to provide good value. Instead, he has to pitch at his more established level in 2011 and 2012.

According to Baseball Reference, there are 49 seasons in the expansion era of a pitcher earning 2.0 bWAR or better after age 41, and 30 of 2.5 bWAR or better. This is a remarkable group. The list includes knuckleballers (Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough and Tim Wakefield), spitballers (Gaylord Perry) and all-time greats (Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn and Mariano Rivera), but it also includes more ordinary pitchers like David Wells and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Jamie Moyer. Pitching success at age 41 and 42 is unusual, but so is success at 40, which Colon now has on his resume.

The Mets need for Colon to be healthy and effective at the start of 2014. If he needs a few weeks on the disabled list by the heat of summer for a muscle strain, so be it. In theory, both Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard will make their rotation debuts for the Mets in 2014. By 2015, Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner will have successfully rehabbed their Tommy John surgeries.

Colon has been very effective recently, and has followed a wildly unusual career arc which, combined with his age - 41 in 2014 - makes projecting his next two years a little more shaky than usual. Still, the commitment the Mets made to Colon in years and total dollars is less than other teams were making to lesser pitchers this winter. This has the potential to be a very shrewd signing.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, tobyhyde, Toby Hyde

Dec 6, 2016; National Harbor, MD, USA; A sign on day two of the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2016; National Harbor, MD, USA; A sign on day two of the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Monday's News and Rumors...

The Mets contacted the Royals about closer Wade Davis >> Read more!

The Mets also may have interest in free-agent relievers Matt Belisle, Joe Blanton, Junichi Tazawa, Drew Storen and Boone Logan, as Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal >> Read more!

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers >> Read more!

Read More

Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

Dec. 5 | 7:55 PM

Teams that have expressed interest in acquiring reliever Wade Davis are expecting the Royals to trade him sooner rather than later, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports

Dec 6 | 4:20PM

Read More

Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 6 | 6:15PM

The Mets are definitively trying to trade OF Jay Bruce, not Curtis Grandersonrival team executives told MLB reporter Jon Heyman late Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Mets, current offers for Bruce have been 'underwhelming,' Newsday's Marc Carig tweeted earlier in the day.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Mets are not trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce so they can sign free-agent OF Dexter Fowlera high-ranking team official told SNY's Steve Gelbs.

This is disappointing, if true. I'm sure it is, but I also know Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his front office tend to make statements based on what's happening at that specific moment, and it does not necessarily recognize where things are headed.

Remember, Alderson and his staff repeatedly told reporters that the Mets wouldn't release Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, nor would they be trading Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey, and they eventually did all of the above. I'm not saying the Mets will sign Fowler, or trade both Bruce or Granderson, I'm simply suggesting that we all take what they say with a grain of salt... because things have a way of changing as the environment changes around them...

That said, this is exactly the move I want to see the Mets make.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

For the second time this offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers, he told reporters Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.

Last month, Alderson said he is open to occasionally using a six-man rotation and mixing in spot starters so guys can get extended rest between appearances.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Teams have asked about RHP Robert Gsellman, but Sandy Alderson has told them he's not available, sources told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin.

Gsellman, 23, had a 2.42 ERA (2.63 FIP) and 1.27 WHIP, while striking out 42 batters in 44 2/3 innings, during seven starts and one relief appearance for the Mets in 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
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Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 6 | 4:00PM

Free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal worth $5-6 million a season, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported on Twitter.

"If Blevins is willing to do a two-year deal, maybe Sandy Alderson can reel him back," MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone wrote Nov. 22. "But, if Blevins finds himself eventually weighing three-year offers, I bet Alderson passes and, instead, signs a veteran or two on minor-league deals."

Read More

Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)
Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)

The Mets haven't decided whether OF Tim Tebow will be invited to play in big league games during Spring Training, GM Sandy Alderson said Tuesday.

"That's a decision we'll make some time in the near future," Alderson said, adding that there's "no benefit" to having him in big league camp.

Mets manager Terry Collins said earlier Tuesday that Tebow would play for the Mets during Grapefruit League games this spring, even if he's in minor-league camp

However, late last month, Tebow would not say if he plans to attend Spring Training.

Tags: Tim Tebow
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The Nationals will not be adding Chris Sale, who is about to be traded to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Earlier Tuesday, Rosenthal said the Nationals would have included RHP prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles in a deal with Chicago. However, they've been reluctant to put them in a deal for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, who they've reportedly been pursuing since last summer.

Read More

In honor of Mets media relation executive Shannon Forde, who lost her long, difficult battle with breast cancer last March, MLB announced Monday it will renovate a youth field in Forde's honor in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J.

"I think a picture says a thousand words," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said at a press conference at the Winter Meetings. "This is the group that loves and misses Shannon every day."

To raise money for the project, which is part of their annual Play Ball program, MLB is auctioning off a number of unique opportunities, including a pitching lesson from Johnny Cueto, player and manager meet-and-greets, a dinner with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

Read More

In this week's second episode, Robert Brender does his best to convince MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone that the Mets should trade Michael Conforto for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.

Later in the show, Cerrone and Brender discuss Monday's news and rumors from D.C., including more on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, O's reliever Brad Brach, and if the Mets should trade with the Royals.

Read More

David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

David Wright will be the team's primary third baseman entering spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday during the Winter Meetings.

According to Alderson, Wright is on track to start baseball activities during December.

Last month, Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that, while he's hopeful that Wright will return, the Mets need to be realistic about what to expect from him in 2017.

"I think that we're very hopeful he's gonna be able to come back and be productive," Alderson said. However, "I think we have to be realistic about how many games we can expect him to perform."

Tags: David Wright
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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Mets will work out Jose Reyes in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"We didn't want to do it last year, because we didn't want him working out at multiple new positions," Alderson explained about when the Mets acquired Reyes last summer.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Alderson answers fans' questions 00:05:56
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks David Wright's health, Jose Reyes' position in the lineup and what he thinks of Travis d'Arnaud when he answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Mariners and a 'mystery team' have all recently asked about trading for Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

The Nationals have pursuing him since July, Jayson Stark of ESPN recently said to Twitter. However, in addition to the above teams, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring a center fielder this off season.

Read More

SNY at MLB Winter Meetings 00:19:03
Andy Martino and Steve Gelbs discuss all the up-to-date topics with the Mets and everything else in the league at the Winter Meetings.

Earlier today, also on Facebook, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone answered questions during a Live Q&A about the overall hot stove, and what's next for the Mets >> To watch Cerrone's Q&A, click here!

Cerrone will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A for SNY tomorrow around 11 AM ET, after which Gelbs and Martino will return at 1:30 PM ET with another Winter Meetings Live from Washington, DC.

SNY will be live streaming Sandy Alderson's mid-day talk with reporters on their Facebook page each day at 3:30 PM during the Winter Meetings, which you can follow here.

Lastly, later tonight, Cerrone and co-host Robert Brender will be recording their second Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Tuesday. 

Read More

Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

"The Mets are fully planning to go with Travis d'Arnaud as the primary catcher in 2017 and don't foresee going the external route," ESPN.com's Adam Rubin wrote late Sunday.

According to Rubin, the Mets do not intend on pursuing free-agent C Welington Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

The Mets' top prospect for 2017 is 21-year-old SS Amed Rosario, according an organizational Top 10 list by Baseball America..

The team recently added Rosario, RHP Marcos Molina, OF Wuilmer Becerra, RHP Chris Flexen, and Nido to their 40-man roster, which will protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft.

According to TPG Mets, no other players on BA's top 10 list are eligible.

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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