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Chris Gay: So long Colon

Posted: July 3, 2017 - 9:07pm

My friend, Kevin Faigle, had not posted on Twitter. As you know, Kevin is the sports director at WRDW. He's very active covering sports throughout the Augusta area. He's very active on Twitter. And he's been very active voicing his displeasure of Bartolo Colon pitching for the Atlanta Braves.

Early Thursday afternoon, the Braves delivered the news we've all been waiting to hear. Colon, and his embarrassing 8.14 ERA this season, had been kicked to the curb. The official term: designated for assignment. The Braves, per Mark Bowman, had already paid Colon half of his the one-year, $12.5 million deal he signed last fall. So the Braves will eat $6.25 million - or about what my wife spends in a year on big-name, overrated coffee.

Kevin recently received a Bartolo Colon bobblehead. He smashed that sucker into little pieces. So when news came down that his favorite pitcher had been let go, I waited for him to comment. And waited. And waited.

I thought he might have been having a Fred Sanford moment, a heart attack at hearing the news. It's the big one! I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth!

It took Kevin 45 minutes to respond. On Twitter, 45 minutes is like 45 years. Good news: No heart attack. He claimed he was working, which was good enough for me. When he got his chance, he happily posted about Bartolo - or as he called him "BartoLOL" - being done as a Brave.
I questioned the Braves' signing of Colon when it happened. Yes, he was an All-Star last year. But $12.5 million for a pitcher older than me? (I'm 43.) Well, the nightmare is over. Colon will no longer have to worry about doing the Tomahawk Chop or racing The Freeze. Maybe that's what the Braves should have done a month ago: Had have Colon race the team's newest sixth-inning sensation.

It would have been no contest for The Freeze. Then again, it's been no contest for opposing teams all season against Colon. Finally, the Atlanta albatross is gone. Hallelujah!
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BAD SIGNINGS: I'm surprised someone hasn't done a list of the top 10 worst free-agent signings by the Braves. (Maybe they have and I've missed it.) Colon would be in there somewhere, but he wouldn't be the worst. How could we ever forget B.J. Upton, who was so bad he changed his name to Melvin (that didn't help, either)?

If you're wondering about Dan Uggla, he was traded from Miami to Atlanta. Then, the Braves re-signed him to a four-year, $52 million deal. He was good the first year of that deal.

As far as bad signings go, I still remember when the Braves signed star reliever Bruce Sutter to a six-year, $10 million deal before the 1985 season. Sutter was going to shut down opposing teams and help lead Atlanta back to the playoffs after its appearance in 1982. Except it didn't happen.

Sutter was awful, going 7-7 with 23 saves and a 4.48 ERA in his first season. An ERA above 4.00 for a closer is unacceptable, especially for a player making that kind of money then.

After making 58 appearances in 1985, Sutter made just 54 more combined appearances in 1986 and 1988 for Atlanta. He underwent multiple shoulder surgeries, a knee surgery and also suffered a torn rotator cuff. The Braves bought a lemon, a high-priced lemon whose contract turned out to be worse than all of us originally thought.

According to the blog site, Tomahawk Take, which cited a Los Angeles Times article from 1985, Sutter received $750,000 from 1985-91 and then would receive a minimum of $1.2 million for the next 30 years.
So Sutter is still getting paid by the Braves for his brief, crappy lousy tenure. And you thought Upton's five-year, $75 million deal with the Braves was bad.

If that's not enough, Sutter will receive a $9.1 million principal payment in 2021 for a 12.3- percent interest-bearing annuity agreed upon in 1985. You can read the story about Sutter for yourself (http://tomahawktake.com/2015/07/04/atlanta-braves-morning-chop-a-bad-con...) at tinyurl.com/SutterLemon
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INJUSTICE: In 2006, Sutter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'm surprised Kevin Faigle hasn't spit on his plaque. Then again, maybe he has.

Sutter had a good career. He was a six-time All-Star. He led the league in saves five times. He won a Cy Young Award. That's it.

Sutter pitched nine full seasons. He was good or great in six of them.
On the flip side, there's Dale Murphy. The Murph was one of the top players of the 1980s. I contend he was the top outfielder of that era.
He was a fearsome hitter at the plate. He possessed a strong arm in the field.

Only two players hit 300 or more home runs in the 1980s - third baseman Mike Schmidt (313) and Murphy (308). Both players recorded 929 RBI in the 1980s, while only one other player (first baseman Eddie Murray) had more. In other words, Murphy had the most homers and RBI of any outfielder in the 1980s.

Murphy also won two MVP awards. The only other player with two MVP awards not in the Hall of Fame? Roger Maris.

I can argue for days about why The Murph should be in the Hall of Fame. He earned five Gold Glove awards and four Silver Slugger awards.

He joined the elite 30-30 Club in 1982 with 36 homers and 30 stolen bases, becoming just the sixth player at the time to pull off the feat.
At the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings later this year, the Hall of Fame's Modern Era (1970-87) Committee will convene. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Dale Murphy finally gets his due and gets voted into the hall.

If our dream comes true and The Murph makes it in, Kevin and I will have our plans set for the summer of 2018. Come on, Modern Era Committee, make it happen. I'm ready for another trip to Cooperstown.

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