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Bartolo Colon-oscopy

Whoever winds up with Bartolo Colon next year will probably feel pretty uncomfortable.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, on the second Rosterbatorical podcast (which, hey, you should be listening to if you like or you hate this site, as it will make you like or hate us all the more), Chris Cotillo brought up that we are going to have Bartolo Colon to kick around for another year. I couldn't be more elated.

Defying any and all projections coming into 2015, the 42 year old Colon has pitched ok for the Mets. He has a 4.18 ERA that, frankly, isn't all that special. However, his fielding independent numbers suggest he's pitched slightly better than that, and has done an excellent job of limiting walks while still striking out more than six batters per nine innings. He's also proven to be very durable, especially for his age and...ahem...conditioning, throwing in excess of 190 innings for his third straight season. According to FanGraphs, he's been worth about two and a half wins. That's not bad for a guy the Mets were looking to unload for most of the offseason and spring.

But Bartolo's success in 2015 wasn't just on the mound. It was also on the Internet, as highlights from his at bats became appointment viewing.

Somehow, he got eight hits on the year.

Anyway, the point is that we're lucky that we'll have Bartolo Colon to kick around for another year. God willing, he'll sign with another National League team.

But what should we expect out of him? Since 1947, 25 42 year olds have pitched as starters in the Majors. Of those, Colon ranks 9th in innings pitched, 2nd in walk rate, 5th in strikeout rate, but 18th in homer rate. His ERA+ is 16th. All told, he's probably been a pretty average pitcher for a 42 year old starter. So how did that group do at 43?

Well, for one thing, half of them couldn't hang. Indeed, there are only 13 players who, at the age of 43, started at least 60 percent of their games:

Player

Year

Age

Tm

IP

ERA

FIP

ERA+

BB%

K%

HR%

Warren Spahn

1963

42

MLN

259.2

2.60

3.41

124

4.7%

9.8%

2.2%

1964

43

MLN

173.2

5.29

4.36

67

6.9%

10.3%

3.0%

Gaylord Perry

1981

42

ATL

150.2

3.94

3.14

91

3.7%

9.3%

1.4%

1982

43

SEA

216.2

4.40

4.07

97

5.9%

12.6%

2.9%

Phil Niekro

1981

42

ATL

139.1

3.10

3.50

116

9.7%

10.7%

1.0%

1982

43

ATL

234.1

3.61

3.74

104

7.5%

14.9%

2.4%

Tommy John

1985

42

TOT

86.1

5.53

4.50

72

7.1%

6.3%

2.3%

1986

43

NYY

70.2

2.93

4.17

141

5.2%

9.7%

2.8%

Don Sutton

1987

42

CAL

191.2

4.70

5.17

93

5.2%

12.5%

24.1%

1988

43

LAD

87.1

3.92

3.87

86

7.9%

11.6%

1.8%

Nolan Ryan

1989

42

TEX

239.1

3.20

2.51

124

9.9%

30.5%

1.7%

1990

43

TEX

204

3.44

2.87

114

9.0%

28.4%

2.2%

Charlie Hough

1990

42

TEX

218.2

4.07

4.98

96

12.5%

12.0%

2.5%

1991

43

CHW

199.1

4.02

4.73

99

11.0%

12.5%

2.4%

Dennis Martinez

1996

42

CLE

112

4.50

4.75

108

7.7%

9.9%

2.5%

1997

43

SEA

49

7.71

6.74

58

12.1%

7.1%

3.3%

David Wells

2005

42

BOS

184

4.45

3.83

102

2.7%

13.7%

2.7%

2006

43

TOT

75.1

4.42

4.51

102

3.7%

11.7%

3.4%

Jamie Moyer

2005

42

SEA

200

4.28

4.39

98

6.0%

11.8%

2.6%

2006

43

TOT

211.1

4.30

4.95

105

5.7%

12.1%

3.7%

Roger Clemens

2005

42

HOU

211.1

1.87

2.87

226

7.4%

22.1%

1.3%

2006

43

HOU

113.1

2.30

3.02

194

6.4%

22.6%

1.6%

Randy Johnson

2006

42

NYY

205

5.00

4.27

90

7.0%

20.0%

3.3%

2007

43

ARI

56.2

3.81

3.20

125

5.6%

30.9%

3.0%

Kenny Rogers

2007

42

DET

63

4.43

4.99

104

9.1%

13.1%

2.9%

2008

43

DET

173.2

5.70

5.22

78

9.1%

10.5%

2.8%

In all, we're talking about roughly 1/5 to 1/4 of the pitchers who managed to start as 42 year olds were able to at least hold their performances through 43 and stay healthy enough to be in the rotation all year. It's an extremely select group that consists of Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough, Nolan Ryan, and Jamie Moyer. If we want to be generous, we can also count Roger Clemens, who willingly sat out half of his age 43 season.

Those aren't great odds for whoever goes out and gets Colon, and that team should pay accordingly. Honestly, even though he performed well in 2015, Colon isn't worth much more than a minor league deal for 2016. Maybe a major league contract with a low base salary and performance incentives built in, because if he manages to stay in the rotation all year, he's going to earn every penny. But, no matter how desperate your team is for starting pitching, Bartolo Colon ought to be a last resort, regardless of how much fun it will be to watch and celebrate him again next year.