Dennis Martinez retired in 1998 after winning his 245th game, a 6-5 squeaker over the Mets in late September. When he hung up his cleats for good, he ranked no. 52 among the all-time greats in pitcher wins (a revered, if fundamentally flawed stat) and first among all Latin American-born hurlers. Twenty years later, that record is on the verge of being eclipsed by one Bartolo Colon.
Colon is just six wins away from overtaking Martinez’s 245-win milestone, but he has yet to ink a major-league deal for the 2018 season. One possible suitor could be the Mets, who were said to have expressed interest in a reunion with the 44-year-old right-hander last week, but more recent reports suggest that the team “[doesn’t] see it happening.”
It’s not difficult to understand the hesitation: Colon labored through back-to-back gigs with the Braves and Twins in 2017, skidding to a 6.38 DRA, 112 cFIP, and career-worst -1.3 WARP by season’s end. While there’s no doubt the Mets could use some low-cost rotation depth this year, they appear reluctant to stake 30 starts on the veteran, even for history’s sake.
Another aging right-hander inching toward retirement: 42-year-old free agent Koji Uehara, who tells Kyodo News that he’s “more the 90 percent certain” that 2018 will be his last season in the majors. Uehara capped his ninth year in MLB with the Cubs last year and would like to round out his career with a 10th and final run, but the downward trend in his peripheral stats and overall value (to say nothing of the neck strain, knee infection, and back tightness he dealt with throughout the season) may have lessened his appeal to prospective clubs this offseason.
Several teams have reportedly engaged in discussions with the veteran righty, though none have made a concrete offer just yet. That’s hardly surprising, given the snail-like pace of the offseason so far, though Uehara warns teams that he won’t be open to a last-minute minor-league contract. After spending a decade in Japan and another decade in MLB, he’d rather enter a premature retirement in 2018 than be forced to polish off his 20-year career in the minors–a perfectly reasonable request, if one that might prove a little difficult to honor by Opening Day.
Following reports that the Brewers are making a play for Yu Darvish, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says the right-hander has a five-year offer on the table, albeit not one he’s inclined to take. It’s unclear whether the offer came from the Brewers or another of Darvish’s suitors, but the Associated Press reports that he’s “having active talks” with the Cubs. Among his other known suitors are the Twins, Rangers, Dodgers, and Yankees.
Given the high level of interest surrounding the right-hander, Darvish can likely afford to hold out for a better deal. Last week, John Harper of the New York Daily News speculated that the Yankees were biding their time with Darvish as they waited for his price to drop, and said the team felt a five-year, $80-90 million contract would be appropriate. That’s well under the $100 million-plus multi-year deal the 31-year-old is expected to receive, however, and one that should be easy enough for another team to top–especially for those who aren’t tangling with the luxury tax threshold this year.