Bartolo Colon reportedly cleared waivers Monday, making him eligible to be traded to any club, but the New York Mets right-hander does not appear to be a fit for the Angels because of his age (41) and a contract that guarantees him $11 million in 2015.
There was heavy speculation that the Angels, who lost their top starting pitcher, Garrett Richards, to season-ending knee surgery last week and young left-hander Tyler Skaggs to Tommy John surgery in early August, would claim Colon if he got to them on waivers or pursue a trade for him if he cleared waivers.
The 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Angels in 2005, Colon is 12-10 with a 3.82 earned-run average in 25 starts this season, including a victory over the Dodgers on Sunday. Known for his superb command, Colon has 130 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 167 1/3 innings.
But 29 teams, including the Angels, passed on Colon through waivers, according to Fox Sports. The Angels could have gained an exclusive 48-hour negotiating window with the Mets had they claimed Colon, but they also would have run the risk of having to assume the pitcher’s hefty contract if the Mets let him go via a waiver claim.
The Angels already have about $140-million in salary commitments for luxury tax purposes to 10 players who under contract for 2015. Salaries for arbitration-eligible players and those with less than three years big league service time could push that payroll figure well past $170 million.
If the Angels absorbed Colon’s $11-million salary for 2015, it would push them right up against the $189-million luxury-tax threshold, which Owner Arte Moreno does not want to pass, and leave them virtually no flexibility to pursue a free-agent pitcher next winter.
It is still possible for the Angels to trade for Colon, but they would probably want the Mets to assume a chunk of the pitcher’s 2015 salary to do so.