‘Every dog will have its day’ is a common colloquium that gets tossed around in sports when an unsuspecting team outperforms it’s expectations. It’s how I used to explain what happened to Bartolo Colon in his first few starts of the season, but when every dog started to have their day against Colon, he starts to become the dog.
There were doubts in the offseason when the Atlanta Braves signed the 43-year-old. But, the intentions with the move made perfect sense. The plan was to rent the most experienced starter on the free agent market to eat innings and attract marginal fans for the allure of possibly catching a glimpse of the “Big Sexy” magic of 2016.
But, so far, they’ve only gotten the 2017 Big Disappointment. When the Braves signed Bartolo Colon and released the promotional calendar, Colon’s Bobblehead night on June 9th against his former team was circled as a must-see.
But now, I’m stuck wondering if Bartolo deserves a roster spot on that night. His outings haven’t shown any sign of improvement. At his age, drastic improvements don’t happen over night, they are almost always signs that the veteran has lost the edge that’s made them successful. Colon isn’t plateauing in mediocrity, he’s plummeting with each start into becoming one of the worst free agent signing’s ever.
At $12.5 million dollars, he’s the 35th highest paid starting pitcher in the league and the highest paid starter in Atlanta’s rotation. So when the results look like this, you have to wonder just how long the Braves are going to put up with the results.
|Opp||Avg R/G (Rank)||Result||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Blue Jays||4.34 (22)||W,10-6||5||7||3||2||2||1||0||6.8|
Colon’s bearing the brunt of facing three offenses that rank in the top ten in runs per game. He’s also starting against teams ranked 20th and above. Against the some of the least producing offenses in the league, Colon has given up the majority of his earned runs.
He’s also not the innings eater he’s intended to be. He hasn’t gone longer than six innings since his fourth start of the season on April 21st. This acquisition has not gone to plan.
In his last eight starts, opponents are batting .380 against Colon. If the Braves continue to plug him on the mound, Colon could set new records for outstandingly bad pitching. But it looks like manager Brian Snitker is beginning to consider his options. The Braves also have a plethora of pitching developing in the minors…
Snit said they will have to discuss many factors, including Saturday's doubleheader, before deciding whether Colon will make another start— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) June 6, 2017
This marks the first time all season that Snitker would not commit to scheduling Colon in his next start.
EDITORS UPDATE: As I started to wrap up this article, news broke that the Braves moved Colon to the 10-day DL for an oblique strain. His replacement in the rotation has not been named yet. Follow @armchairMLB on twitter to stay updated.
Bartolo’s success came from an ability to throw a two-seam fastball with late movement that jams right handed batters and got lefties reaching. That movement is now gone, and it doesn’t seem to be coming back anytime soon. It’s time for the Braves to move on from this free agent failure. Let one of the promising young arms take the bump to put some excitement back into SunTrust Park.
Replacing Colon with a young arm isn’t going to fix all of the Braves’s issues. Because Colon isn’t the only starter that has underwhelmed, staff ace Julio Teheran is also throwing uncharacteristically without signs of improvement.
Since May 1st, Teheran and Colon have combined for an 8.28 ERA and 18 HR allowed with only three quality starts while the rest of the starting staff (R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia and Mike Foltynewicz) have combined for a 4.02 ERA and 15 HR allowed with nine quality starts.
In one of my pieces after Freeman’s injury, I said we’d have to wait until July to start asking “What’s wrong with Julio?” questions, so I’m going to stick with that schedule. Hopefully things improve and I can instead shift my title to “How Julio turned things around in June.”