The Oakland A’s have a desire to re-sign Bartolo Colon. The pitcher’s agent says Colon is definitely interested.
Will the result be a third season in green and gold for the right-hander? That answer will have a big impact on the A’s starting rotation looking ahead to next season.
Colon, who turned 40 last season and pitched on a one-year $3 million deal, went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA and made the All-Star team. A’s general manager Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin both said they’d like to bring the pitcher back. Adam Katz, Colon’s agent, said the interest is mutual.
“They’ve expressed interest in a general sense,” Katz told CSN California on Tuesday. “Bartolo loved his time there and would be interested in (talking to them).”
Some clarity could come in a week or so.
After the conclusion of the World Series, teams have a five-day window of exclusive negotiating rights with their free agents. By the end of that period, if the A’s and Colon don’t have a deal in place, the A’s must decide whether to extend a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to Colon.
Such an offer guarantees Oakland will receive draft-pick compensation should Colon decline it and eventually sign with another team. But what if Colon were to accept the offer? A $14.1 million salary is a pricey (and seemingly risky) investment for a pitcher who turns 41 in May.
Of course, the A’s could still have the opportunity to negotiate with Colon were he to hit the open market after the five-day window ends. But at that point, it might be tougher to hammer out a contract if other teams are throwing big bucks at Colon, who posted the second-lowest ERA among American League starting pitchers in 2013.
Katz would not discuss Colon’s status other than to say he would be interested in returning to Oakland.
The wild-card factor is whether Colon might give the A’s a “hometown discount,” re-signing with Oakland for a salary below what he might garner on the open market. By all accounts, it’s been a terrific marriage between the pitcher and team. Colon is 28-15 with a 2.99 ERA in 54 starts for the A’s over the past two years and provided a positive clubhouse presence, according to his teammates.
It’s no small factor that the A’s also welcomed Colon back with open arms after he was suspended 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, missing the postseason that year. The A’s not only re-signed the veteran for the 2013 season but gave him a pay raise, from $2 million to $3 million.
The A’s other free-agent decision involves closer Grant Balfour, although the common thought is Balfour will command big money on the open market and sign elsewhere.
Beane has indicated the A’s likely will exercise center fielder Coco Crisp’s $7.5 million option and left-hander Brett Anderson’s $8 million option. It seems much more unlikely Oakland will pick up options on outfielder Chris Young ($11 million) and catcher Kurt Suzuki ($8.5 million).