I really like Adrian Gonzalez. And yes, I appreciate that he has a closer connection to San Diego than a lot of star players have to the teams they end up leaving in free agency. But I really do wish that he — and any other player in his position would stop saying things like this:
“I’m torn . . . I’ve been a Padre fan all my life. I’d love to be part of it happening here. But I understand. I’m hoping to stay through the end of next season. Beyond that, I’m not in control. God is. I’m a man of faith.”
There isn’t any faith about it. There’s business. And the business is going to compel either the Padres to trade him or Gonzalez to leave via free agency. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s reality-based. If fans were to accept that more readily than they do they’d probably have a healthier relationship with sports than many of them do. Instead, we’re left to construe these situations in terms of loyalty and heartlessness and religion, when none of it has any practical place in determining which players play for which teams.
If the Padres wanted to pay more money to Gonzalez, he’d stay. If Gonzalez were willing to take considerably less money from the Padres than he’ll get on the open market, he’d stay. But that’s not going to happen, and there’s nothing spiritual or even particularly emotional about it.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.