OAKLAND, Calif. — Suspended pitcher Bartolo Colon is getting a second chance with the Oakland Athletics, agreeing to terms on a $3 million, one-year contract that includes potential performance bonuses.
The AL West champions made the announcement Saturday. The 39-year-old Colon was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 22 after testing positive for testosterone. The ban will run five games into the 2013 season.
The former Cy Young winner went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland last season, his 15th in the majors.
“We wanted to bring him back — everybody, Bob (manager Melvin), me, everybody,” general manager Billy Beane said. “We ended up with a very good rotation, a young and talented rotation. But we wanted to find a veteran guy. In Bartolo’s case, based on the production, he was cost effective and good. It’s pretty hard to find that type of pitcher at that cost on a short-term deal.”
Oakland could have a spot at the back end of its rotation after lefty Dallas Braden chose free agency rather than accept a minor league assignment. The status of free agent Brandon McCarthy, the 2012 opening day starter, is unclear after he was hit in the head by a line drive Sept. 5 and needed brain surgery. He hopes to re-sign with Oakland.
Beane said the A’s have watched Colon throw at winter ball.
“Once again, he’s still got five games to serve on the suspension. The punishment is handed down by Major League Baseball, it is served and then at that point we move forward,” Beane said. “He threw in winter ball a few times and we were down there. That made us more comfortable going forward.”
Colon lost the remaining $469,945 of his $2 million base salary for the 2012 season. He also earned $750,000 in performance bonuses based on starts and $150,000 based on innings, which were not impacted by the suspension.
A two-time All-Star with a 171-122 career record, the burly right-hander won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award after going 21-8 for the Angels.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that Colon will earn $3 million in base salary plus incentives.