Oakland Athletics: Two former A’s hurlers are on the comeback trail

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

While baseball is inching toward an agreement to restart the season, two former Oakland Athletics pitchers are looking for one more shot to wear a major league uniform.

The rumor mill has been quiet, but former Oakland Athletics pitchers Bartolo Colon and Scott Kazmir have stated their desire to return to baseball.

Colon anchored the rotation with Oakland from 2012-2013, while the left-handed Kazmir was an All-Star in 2014 with the Green and Gold before being shipped off at the 2015 trade deadline to the Houston Astros.

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Interestingly, both Colon and Kazmir used their time with the A’s to springboard their respective, late-career renaissance.

A lot has changed since either hurler pitched for the Oakland Athletics. Though, both are now on the comeback trail after not appearing in the 2019 season in the case of Colon, whereas Kazmir has not pitched on a major-league mound since 2016.

Colon is looking to continue a career that has spanned three decades as he has accumulated a 247-188 overall record with a 4.12 ERA. Colon’s decision to step away from the game in 2019 is not a unique characteristic of his career.

In fact, he did not pitch at the professional level in 2010 as well, but did make an appearance during winter ball that year.

He re-emerged with the New York Yankees in 2011 where he posted an even 4.00 ERA across 164.1 frames before latching on with the A’s for the next two seasons.

The right-handed hurler has made no secret about his desire to return, especially if it includes a chance to wear a New York Mets uniform again as he recently told ESPN the following.

"“That Mets team was really something special. I’ve played with 10 teams, but with the Mets, the way all those players treated me, how that entire franchise treated me, from the front office to the kitchen staff, it was amazing. And Mets fans are the best. In the beginning, when they laughed at me every time my helmet fell off, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I saw how much the fans enjoyed it, I asked for a bigger batting helmet so that it would fall more because it was so much fun for them… If it was up to me, I would retire with the Mets. I would like my career to end in New York”"

There is no doubt that baseball needs more of Colon on the mound, and in the batter’s box where he endeared fanbases with his antics.

There was this fine moment:

Then, perhaps one of the more memorable moments of the last decade:

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Colon brings a joy to the game that baseball desperately needs.

Though his desire is to pitch for the Mets, he has stated that he would welcome an opportunity outside of New York as well.

On the other hand, Scott Kazmir is making a bid to return to baseball as well. Similar to Colon, Kazmir is no stranger to a long layoff.

The 36-year-old did not pitch at the major league level in 2012 as he bounced around the minor league circuit while trying to regain the form that made him an All-Star earlier in his career.

He re-emerged with the Cleveland Indians in 2013, but really established himself again with the Athletics for the better part of the next two seasons.

With the Oakland Athletics, Kazmir posted a 20-14 record with a 3.12 ERA across 50 starts while earning a surprise All-Star nod in 2014.

His unlikely career path eventually scored him a three-year, $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kazmir’s time with the Dodgers did not go as planned as he made only 26 starts in 2016 before landing on the injured list for all of 2017.

The southpaw would eventually be shipped to the Atlanta Braves in the 2018 season, but did not make the team out of spring training.

Similar to Colon, Kazmir is looking to catch on with any team that could give him an opportunity and he appears to be throwing injury-free for the first time in years:

It remains to be seen when baseball will return. Though, Colon and Kazmir are in an interesting position as neither one will be demanding a major-league contract after long layoffs.

They are at the point when they just need an opportunity to prove what they have left in the tank, and let the rest take care of itself.

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The odds of them making it back to a major league mound seem remote at this point, but both Colon and Kazmir have defied the odds in the past.