Bartolo Colón will turn 39-years old two months in to this upcoming season. The injury-prone right-hander, who won the 2005 Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Angels, will be entering his second season after returning from an injury that sidelined him for all of 2009. As a Yankee last season, he went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. His early season numbers were much better however, as he put up 2.77, 3.57, 2.25, and 3.82 ERAs in April, May, June, and July respectively. These numbers did not position him for thirty offers this offseason, but some fans may wonder why he chose Oakland over the other teams that offered him contracts. For that matter, the question arises: why do the Athletics want him?
Colón is nearing the end of his career and may not have many more chances to win his first World Series. One would probably think that he would want to sign with a team that could help him achieve that goal. Oakland does not fit into that category and as far as is publicly known, Colón has no professional or emotional connection to city or team. The first question that arises in this scenario is: what other choices did he have? There is some certainty that the Arizona Diamondbacks made an offer and the Yankees expressed interest--to some unknown degree--in bringing him back.
It is uncertain whether or not the Yanks actually ever made an offer. If they did not, that would explain why he will not be returning. With the recent acquisition of Michael Pineda and signing of Hiroki Kuroda, Colón's services would no longer be needed, so, in all likelihood, that is why he waited until now to select a team. The D-backs are a playoff contender, so this offer would have been interesting. Assuming that Arizona did make a legitimate contract offer to Colón, it is possible that he chose not to sign there due to the rumours of the state's anti-Hispanic attitude. Also, the Diamondbacks have only three Hispanic players, all of whom are Venezuelan (Colón is Dominican).
That said, the A's only have two Hispanic players on the team, but they do have a Dominican--Fautino De Los Santos. This could have been a deciding factor when Colón was choosing between the two teams. As far as is known, he may not have had any other offers.
The Athletics do, of course, have many fast players and the ability to manufacture runs, but in a division with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the A's will have difficulty contending even with the second Wild Card team next season.
So why do the Athletics want Colón? This is a bit more difficult to determine. There is always the possibility that they intend to trade him mid-season should he perform well enough to draw good return. The team already has a fairly solid rotation with Brandon McCarthy, Guillermo Moscosco, Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, and Josh Outman, as well as Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, and Tom Milone waiting in the wings. This is, however, a fairly young group of pitchers. Colón's veteran presence may help these players develop. Other than this, the signing is fairly odd.
The answer to the question of why Bartolo Colón signed with the Oakland Athletics is not certain, but if he can provide a veteran presence for the young pitchers and perform well enough to be traded to a contender, this could end up working out for both teams.