Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Braves' staff has become antiques market with Colon (43), Dickey (42)


The Braves are building a hell of a pitching staff. We just can't be certain for which decade.

They have come to terms with the rotund 43-year-old, Bartolo Colon, on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal, first reported by MLB.com's Mark Bowman and confirmed by the Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien, follows Thursday's signing of 42-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

As long as Flomax isn't on baseball's banned drug list, Colon and Dickey could both be in the Braves' starting rotation next season.

John Hart and John Coppolella, the Braves' chief makeover artists, recognize what everybody else recognizes: The team's starting rotation stinks. The Braves ranked 28th in the majors last season with a starters' earned run average of 4.87 and 23rd in completed innings (880 1/3). The staff also had only one complete game, although that's become a lost art in baseball (San Francisco and Boston led the majors with 10 and 9, respectively.)

The Braves' rotation may be better one day, if enough of these prospects pan out, but that's not the case now, and Hart and Coppolella have been frustrated by their development.  (They chose to make former pitching coach Roger McDowell the scapegoat for this and fired him, stunning folks around baseball.)

So until prospects become actual valuable commodities, Hart and Coppolella are attempting a short cut so the 2017 season. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. Either way, it'll be entertaining.

An organization trying to project new/fresh/young/hip just signed two pitchers who are a combined 85 years old. Is there a Denny's among the restaurants by SunTrust Park?

Assuming there's no hardening of arteries between now and spring training, Colon and Dickey have shown the ability to do one important thing: consume innings.

Colon, who's listed at 5-11, 285 pounds (and that may be before he puts his other foot on the scale) has pitched 190-plus innings in the last four seasons. Even at his age, he went 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA with the New York Mets last season.

Dickey threw 200-plus innings five straight seasons and pitched 169 2/3 last season in Toronto, going 10-15 with a 4.46 ERA.

Adding Colon or Dickey would be considered an interesting addition to a young rotation. Either could be fine as a bottom of the rotation starter. Adding both seems a little bit of overkill.

When I spoke to Chipper Jones in August , he said the Braves needed to add "a bona fide top-of-the-rotation starter."

He also said. "... If you add a No. 1 pitcher, you make (Julio) Teheran second. It lengthens the rotation. Now (Mike) Foltynewicz can go against the other team’s third starter and so on."

But apparently the Braves aren't in the market to spend what it would take to bring in a top-of-the-rotation starter, either in salary or assets.

Welcome to your new Atlanta Braves. Can Phil Niekro be far behind?

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.