Coming off two excellent seasons in Oakland, Bartolo Colon signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets back in December. While his raw numbers have fallen off quite a bit this year, Colon is still living up to his contract and remains a dependable pitcher for the Mets. In 19 starts so far this season, the 41-year-old sports a 4.12 ERA to go along with a 3.58 FIP and a 3.72 xFIP over 126.2 innings.
Despite a spike in ERA, Colon's 2014 peripherals are actually right in line with his Oakland numbers. He's giving up more runs largely due to a lower strand rate—69% this year compared to 80% in 2013—and a higher rate of home runs on fly balls—8.9 percent compared to 6 percent.
While his recent slump—see his 5.40 ERA in July—does somewhat hurt his value, Colon's calling card remains his workhorse-like consistency, a rather extraordinary feat considering his age. The veteran starter ranks 12th in the National League in innings pitched with 126.2. He's also averaging 6 2/3 innings per outing, good for fourth among National League starters who have made at least ten starts. While he's not flashy, Colon is a proven major league commodity with postseason experience, which certainly appeals to contenders looking to shore up their rotation for a playoff push.
Even though the Mets are still unsure of their buyer/seller status as July 31 approaches, it's no secret that Sandy Alderson is actively entertaining offers for Colon. Given his age and the Mets' starting pitching depth, Colon is arguably one of the most expendable pieces for the Mets as the trade deadline looms. He is due $11 million next year, after which he will become a free agent. The Mets should be willing to eat part or all of Colon's salary if that means netting them a better return.
Contending teams such as the Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, Brewers, Pirates, or even the Cardinals, could use help in their rotation. The starting pitching market figures to be led by the likes of David Price, Cole Hamels, and Jon Lester. For teams either not looking to acquire an ace or unwilling to part with their top prospects to do so, Colon can provide a solid alternative as a mid-rotation starter.
The Mets are looking for a shortstop upgrade over Ruben Tejada and another outfield bat to complement Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson in trade talks. It is, however, unlikely that they will get either in return for Colon. So the Mets will most likely look to add to their farm system should they deal the veteran starter. Chances are they will not get a blue chip prospect back, but any package with a team's top ten prospect in it should be enough for Sandy Alderson to pull the trigger.