The Detroit Tigers have not been fun in 2017. At all. Tigers fans have had little to cheer for this season as the team has been mired in mediocrity. The starting rotation has been terrible. The defense has been sloppy. The offense has been inconsistent. And if the Tigers happen to lead in the late innings, you fully expect the bullpen to blow it. This season has been disappointing on every level.
Mikie Mahtook has been a highlight so far — one of the few — but it takes more than one enjoyable player to make watching baseball worthwhile, and lately it hasn’t been worth it for most of us.
The Atlanta Braves designated starting pitcher
and living legend Bartolo Colon for assignment Friday afternoon, and I seriously believe the Tigers should claim him. “But,” you protest, “have you seen his 2017 stats?” I have. Colon’s ERA is 8.14, nearly two points higher than his previous single-season high. He has given up over 13 hits per nine innings and walked nearly three batters per nine. And to top it all off, he is 44 years old. 2017 is his 20th major league season, and he has faced 13,678 batters in his career. So there are plenty of reasons to argue why it might not be a good idea to pick him up expecting him to play with the big club.
On the flip side, there are signs that perhaps he isn’t as bad as the stats first lead you to believe. His FIP is “only” 5.07, meaning that if you take his team’s defense — ranked 21st in MLB by defensive runs saved on Fangraphs — out of the equation, his ERA would be a full three points lower than it is. While an ERA over five is nothing to write home about, it’s considerably better than an ERA over eight, and there’s no reason to believe it can’t improve as the season continues. Additionally, Colon has struck out six batters per nine innings in 2017, which is quite consistent with the rest of his career except for a few outlier seasons — he struck out between five and seven batters per nine innings in 17 of his 19 completed MLB seasons.
This is all before we discuss how fun of a player Colon is. I mean, his nickname is “Big Sexy.” How could you not love someone who goes by that?!
Colon is entertaining even when he’s not pitching. Here’s some highlights for you.
The Braves have designated former Met Bartolo Colon for assignment. pic.twitter.com/KZRru4hltL— Amazin' Army (@WE_ARE_MET_FANS) June 29, 2017
He’d be handy for interleague games, too.
Though I must admit his at-bats are usually ... unfortunate ... to put it lightly. [Editor’s note: if by “unfortunate” you mean “amazing.”]
Colon would give Tigers fans something else to watch and cheer for. Even if his 2017 stats don’t improve, he is a loveable pitcher that you really hope to see succeed. His 2016 season was magical — he made the All-Star team for just the second time since 2005 — and it’s proof that he can be effective despite being the oldest active major leaguer at the time of his DFA (If Colon does not get picked up, the new oldest would be Ichiro Suzuki at 43, born the same year as Colon).
Of course, Detroit could always give him a job that doesn’t involve a spot on the roster:
I think it's time for Bartolo Colon, third base coach. Look at the form on these signals. pic.twitter.com/8oQ2ZtV9HH— Matt Schlichting (@MattSchlichting) June 29, 2017
Regardless of the capacity, I think the Tigers should bring Colon into the organization. His big personality would serve the club well.