Oakland Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games today for a positive Performance Enhancing Drug test. According to Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports, Colon was using a synthetic testosterone, which seems to be the PED du jour after Melky Cabrera's suspension.
This author is stunned by today's news. More specifically, stunned that Colon did not test positive sooner.
Can anyone honestly say this is surprising? After his Cy Young Award winning season of 2005, he was unable to throw 100 innings. In fact he was so injured at the end of the 2005 Division Series that he was removed from the ALCS roster, possibly costing the Angels the pennant.
In 2006 and 2007 he spent most of his time on the disabled list and was awful when active. He pitched seven games for the 2008 Red Sox before being suspended for unknown personal reasons. At age 36 he tried a final comeback with the White Sox in 2009. He pitched one game after June and then his season ended due to injuries.
A 36-year-old with the physique of Chris Christie logged 13 years of big league pitching and could not get through a season for the fourth year in a row. He did not pitch in 2010. If that is not a finished career, then nobody's career is done.
Then suddenly he returned from the Dominican Republic, not exactly the most strict country in terms of monitoring performance-enhancing drugs, a new man. According to The Wall Street Journal, Colon had a stem cell procedure that was mysterious at best. The result is he was able to pitch again at a high level.
His body conspired against him last year again, putting him on the disabled list, but he emerged this season as an effective pitcher with the Athletics. A 39-year-old pitcher with six years of injury issues suddenly has one of his best seasons?
The question is not "What are the odds he is using PEDs?" The question should be "Is there a possibility that he was not?"
It is not like he could pass an eyeball test of going from skinny to big.
The A's themselves can actually withstand this blow more than most teams. The return of Brett Anderson means he can join Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, Dan Straily and Travis Blackley for an effective rotation.
But on the heels of Melky Cabrera's contract run and website design issues, Colon is once again a sign to be suspicious of sudden spikes in a player's performance.
The only question this writer had when Colon's suspension was announced was "Who won the pool?"