Colon, who played for the Sox in 2003, was among one of MLB's finest. He flashed sheer brilliance during his time with the Indians, Expos, and the Angels. He had an explosive fastball and was a dominant workhorse, working 200+ innings during the majority of his career. However, Colon has struggled to stay healthy since winning the Cy Young in 2005, and has lost some velocity on his 97-99 mph fastball.
Colon, as many Sox fans should remember, turned down a three-year, $30 million dollar contract with the White Sox to sign with the Angels. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf has made it no secret over the years of his disdain for offering pitchers long-term contracts. While that philosophy may have dampened hopes of them ever landing a prized ace in the free-agent market, it has saved the Sox from potentially tying themselves up on risky, and expensive contracts.
Classic examples of unsuccessful pitchers with long-term contracts which include Pedro Martinez, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park, and Mike Hampton have continued to give credibility to Reinsdorf's philosophy. While many Chicago sports fans have made it a hobby to second-guess the chairman's decision making, the man is right on the mark. Colon's career after the Sox has proven just that.
Colon's departure eventually led to the trade for Freddy Garcia. As Colon made his early impact with the Angels, he was unable to pitch in the ALCS series against “you know who” in 2005. Since then, his career has failed to resemble his 2005 Cy Young season, and contributed to the Angels' unsuccessful run at capturing their second World Series during his tenure.
Now that Colon has signed with the Sox, I wonder if he is even capable of producing 25-30 starts, and if he can successfully alter his delivery to make up for the partial loss of his arm velocity. However, the investment in Colon is far less risky, and will produce greater competition among other candidates like Clayton Richard, Jeff Marquez, Lance Broadway, and Aaron Poreida.
GM Kenny Williams, as many Sox fans know, has a knack for re-signing his former players again and again (i.e. Carl Everett, the Alomar brothers, Esteban Loaiza, Gio Gonzalez to name a few). Despite the signing of Colon, Williams is sure to hear the second-guessing from fans who were clamoring for former Sox Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia, as well as Ben Sheets, or Randy Wolf, all of whom have seen their value drop enormously due to the current economic climate.
I am excited to see the potential of a career rebirth for the big guy. We have seen Williams greatly maximize his investments in the past on guys like Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, AJ Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks. Let's hope that Colon will literally and figuratively fit into Kenny's shop for the '09 season.