PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sometimes, free-agent decisions are really quite simple.
Though several teams were interested in Bartolo Colon this winter, the Mets were the only club to offer him a two-year deal. That, combined with the fact that his wife and son live in New Jersey, was enough for Colon to sign a $20-million contract with the Mets.
"I really left it up to my agent," Colon said through an interpreter, after arriving at Mets camp for the first time on Saturday morning. "I trusted him to find a team that would be a good fit for me."
On the flip side, Colon was also the best fit for the Mets, who did not want to overspend in their quest to replace injured starter Matt Harvey. Because he is about to turn 41 years old, Colon came far cheaper than many of the other top arms on the market -- Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza and others.
But Colon is still coming off a season in which he ranked second in the American League with a 2.65 ERA, going 18-6 for the A's and throwing 190 1/3 innings. Age did not seem to matter for him.
"I was a little surprised, as well," Colon said of his success in Oakland. "It was just keeping healthy and working hard."
If Colon performs even close to that level in 2014, it will go a long way toward helping the Mets replace Harvey. If not, they may regret their investment, knowing how crucial he is to their 2014 goals.
"It's a big loss," manager Terry Collins said. "But when you go out and you dip into free agency to replace Matt Harvey, I think we found as good a guy as we could find. Obviously, Bartolo has proven himself in the last few years to be an accomplished pitcher, and I think he's going to bring a lot to the table here."
Farnsworth knows pressures of playing in New York
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Kyle Farnsworth once pitched in the National League Championship Series for the Cubs, in the game that Steve Bartman famously helped decide. Farnsworth later spent parts of three years in the Bronx, appearing in high-leverage situations for the Yankees. Last year, a late-season signing with the Pirates gave Farnsworth a taste of what that playoff-starved city had to offer in October.
So Farnsworth knows pressure, and he also knows New York.
"I experienced it ... press and atmosphere like that," Farnsworth said on Saturday after reporting to Mets camp on a Minor League deal. "That part is definitely not going to be new to me. I'm looking forward to it."
Back in the day, of course, Farnsworth was capable of dialing his fastball into triple digits and overpowering opposing hitters. These days, Farnsworth says he's more of a pitcher than he was back in his earlier days.
"I know the hitter is going to make adjustments," said Farnsworth, who will turn 38 in April. "Teams will make adjustments on you -- and you have to do the same thing. Over the years, you're going to lose velocity and you're not going to be able to get away with things like that anymore. So you have to learn to adjust, also."
That's a lesson that Mets closer Bobby Parnell has also learned in recent years, no longer trying to break the sound barrier with every pitch. So perhaps Farnsworth, who will compete alongside fellow veteran Jose Valverde this spring for a setup role behind Parnell, can impart some advice to the younger closer.
"This is just quite a good opportunity to come here and try to help out the best way I can," Farnsworth said. "Just to help [in] any way possible. I'm not going to come out here and try to do anything I'm not capable of doing."