MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The New York Mets say they wanted a reunion with Bartolo Colon, but Big Sexy has opted for a new home.
The 44-year-old Colon agreed to terms Friday on a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins, who would be his 10th major league team over a 20-year career.
“You know he’s been around a long time if I’ve faced him,” Twins manager Paul Molitor joked, adding he vaguely remembers getting a hit off Colon in his final game in 1998.
Colon, who has 235 career victories, was designated for assignment last Thursday by the Atlanta Braves, a day after a loss to San Diego dropped his record to 2-8. He had an 8.14 ERA in 13 starts.
Speculation swirled that the portly right-hander might return to New York, where he became a fan favorite as a rotation mainstay from 2014-16.
“We made a strong effort to re-sign Bartolo,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “But he decided to go elsewhere.”
The Twins say Colon will report to Triple-A Rochester soon. Molitor said Colon could potentially pitch the Red Wings’ first game after the All-Star break next Thursday.
“He’s been down a little bit, hasn’t pitched against live hitters, so we just want to make sure he gets back and everything looks right,” Twins executive vice president and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said of plans to bring Colon to the majors.
One of the AL’s surprise teams this season, Minnesota has had a shaky rotation outside of Ervin Santana (10-6) and Jose Berrios (8-2). Adalberto Mejia (4-3) is showing signs of becoming a reliable starter, but the back of the rotation has been inconsistent.
“Certainly with some of our needs at the back of the rotation and otherwise, we felt like, ‘Let’s get him in, get him in on a minor league deal, get a chance for him to pitch down in Rochester and we’ll see from there,'” Falvey said.
Colon’s successful run with the Mets helped affirm his status as one of the game’s most durable and popular players. He began his career with Cleveland in 1997 and won the AL Cy Young Award with the Angels in 2005. He is a four-time All-Star, most recently with the Mets last year, when he won 15 games with a 3.43 ERA.
“We felt like the stuff was similar to where it had been so this was a good opportunity for us to add a guy who’s been really successful over the last couple of seasons, who’s had a little bit of a tough start to the year,” Falvey said.
The Braves hoped Colon could hold a rotation spot this year while the team waited for pitching help from prospects still in the minors.
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