Veteran manager Dusty Baker often gets blamed, fairly or unfairly, for hurting the careers of pitchers like Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior with years of strenuous pitch counts and uneven days of rest.
Whether Baker is guilty or not, his handling of Homer Bailey this evening can only be described as questionable. The 23-year-old Bailey was solid in his 2010 debut last week, racking up five strikeouts over five innings against the Cubs, but was forced to throw 115 pitches tonight in a loss to the Marlins — only his second start of the year. That’s quite a load for a young pitcher that has been groomed to throw only 90-100 pitches per outing and an indictment on Baker as a manager.
Bailey had a 2.41 ERA in 37 1/3 innings last season in the month of September and was dominant in his only October start. The Reds have high hopes for him this year and for many years to come. But should they, considering the reputation of the man that is leading the squad?
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.