LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Free-agent right-hander Bartolo Colon and the Mets have reached a deal, giving the New York the starter it was seeking to replace injured ace Matt Harvey.
The deal is pending the completion of a physical for the 18-game winner, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The two-year, $20 million agreement came Wednesday at the winter meetings and increased the Mets’ spending on free agents to more than $87 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an agreement had not yet been completed.
Out of baseball in 2010 because of injuries, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner revived his career with New York and Oakland over the past three years. Even though he will be 41 in May, Colon went 18-6 last year with a 2.65 ERA for the Athletics in a season he began by completing a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test. He struck out 117 and walked only 29 in 190 1-3 innings.
Colon won just 14 games in four seasons after winning the Cy Young with the Angels. But since 2011, he’s 36-25 with a 3.32 ERA and he earned his third All-Star selection in 2013.
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General manager Sandy Alderson had said he preferred not to go for more than a one-year contract for a pitcher because New York had several prospects close to being ready. But after several years of budget cutting and meager spending, the Mets have displayed some fiscal flexibility.
Colon’s deal comes soon after the Mets finalized a $60 million free-agent contract with outfielder Curtis Granderson, securing the former Yankees outfielder by being the only team to go to a fourth year. They also gave outfielder Chris Young a $7.25 million, one-year contract this offseason.
Colon will join a rotation that includes right-handers Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee and left-hander Jon Niese. New York is still looking for a fifth starter. Oft-injured Mets righty Jenrry Mejia could be an option.
Harvey had elbow reconstruction surgery and is going to miss the 2014 season.