As first reported by Jon Paul Morosi, the Yankees have signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal.
The 37 year old did not pitch last season, but in 2009 he had a solid 4.19 ERA through 12 starts with the White Sox. This winter, Colon made seven strong starts in the Dominican Winter League, allowing more than one earned run only twice — and never more than three earned — and finishing with a 1.93 ERA. He struck out 28 and walked six through 37.1 innings.
As a minor league deal, obviously this is a low-risk signing. I have to assume he’s in the mix for a rotation spot.
Of course, there’s always the outside chance that the Yankees have signed Colon with hopes of trading him for Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips.
UPDATE, 12:10 p.m.: Buster Olney notes that Colon was pitching for Tony Pena’s team this winter, so the Yankees got a good look at him. Colon will make $900,000 if he makes the team.
UPDATE, 12:41 p.m.: The signing has been confirmed by a Yankees source who said Colon pitched well enough in the Dominican to make the Yankees believe he still has something left. “He just threw well, as simple as that,” the source said. “He’s someone who showed he still has good stuff.”
Colon is being looked at strictly as a rotation option — “As many insurance policies as we can collect is valuable” — and if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training, he will be either released or traded. The Yankees have no plans of using Colon in Triple-A.