Bartolo Colon not joining Tigers as Detroit refutes report suggesting the two sides were close to a deal

The Detroit Tigers are in a bad spot with their rotation. Michael Fulmer and Matt Moore are out for the season, and both Jordan Zimmermann and Tyson Ross are currently unavailable due to arm issues. The Tigers have a number of young starters on the way, but none of them are ready to slot into the big-league rotation just yet -- in part because a couple (Kyle Funkhouser and Beau Burrows) are dealing with injuries of their own.

As such, it's not surprising that the Tigers would be looking outside the organization for potential help. What is surprising is that the Tigers had to knock down a report that suggested they were close to terms on a minor-league deal with veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon. Here's more on that story, courtesy of MLB.com's Jason Beck:

Though a report from Dominican journalist Santiago Martinez said the popular, portly Dominican right-hander was heading to the United States to sign a Minor League contract with the Tigers, a club source called the report "not true."

On the one paw, Colon certainly fits as a disposable arm. He's 46 years old and hasn't been a productive big-league pitcher since 2016. On the other, why bother? If the bar is so low as to permit Colon to pass it, then the candidate pool is so large that the Tigers should be able to land someone who is properly stretched out and ready to roll when they need them -- which, based on Detroit's schedule, should be around June 8th. By then, as Beck notes, Gregory Soto will be eligible to return to the big-league club.

For a point of reference, consider what the Toronto Blue Jays have done in recent weeks by acquiring Edwin Jackson and promoting Ryan Feierabend -- neither is good, but both had at least pitched this season. The Tigers could look to do something similar by bugging teams about their excess Triple-A depth. That might mean asking the Washington Nationals if they can have Paolo Espino; or the Miami Marlins about Hector Noesi. Heck, the Colorado Rockies would probably be willing to spare Chi Chi Gonzalez or Tim Melville if Al Avila said pretty please.

None of those are great options, but then, neither is Colon. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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