Bartolo Colon exemplifies why the DH rule should be abolished

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Facing the Padres on Saturday night, Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon slugged the first home run of his 19-year career. It was a majestic 365-foot shot down the left field line at Petco Park off of a James Shields fastball.

One knew it was a big deal simply from the excitement in SNY broadcaster Gary Cohen’s voice. Colon, a veteran of 19 seasons, turns 43 years old later this month. He’s taken 249 plate appearances in his career, 145 of them coming within the last three years with the Mets. With the exception of 2002, when he spent half the season with the Montreal Expos, Colon didn’t take regular at-bats until he was 40 years old.

Colon’s lack of hitting prowess has often been a punchline, even here. We spoke of it as if we would never see him hit a home run during a regular season game. We settled for a batting practice home run, and a line drive foul ball. And yesterday, Christmas came early.

This is why pitchers hitting makes baseball so fun. We expect a bona fide slugger who can’t field at any position to have skill at the plate. Nelson Cruz or Prince Fielder slamming a baseball 450 feet isn’t novel. Colon homering is novel. How about the time in 2012 when then-Phillies ace Cole Hamels and Giants pitcher Matt Cain traded home runs off of each other?

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How about Joe Blanton‘s World Series home run? Or Madison Bumgarner outclassing many hitters who are paid to do just that?

Pitchers make outs approximately 85 percent of the time they come to the plate. The other 15 percent makes it all worth it, as does the half a percent chance that the pitcher hits one out of the park. When we go to the ballpark, there’s always the chance we’ll see something that’s never been done before. During Colon’s 473rd career start — most among active players — he did something he’d never done before in his career.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened by injuries.

After making his first start last season in early August, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

Texas announced the signing Friday night after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).