The Braves went into the offseason hungry for reliable starting pitchers. They used 16 different starters in 2016, a number that would ideally be cut in half next season. With the signings of Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey for 2017 -- with an option on Dickey for 2018 -- the Braves have solidified the back end of their rotation in a hurry.
Make no mistake about it; Colon and Dickey aren't going to win the Cy Young like they did in 2005 and 2012, respectively. They aren't going to strike out 200 batters. They aren't going to win 20 games. What they will do is solidify the rotation for 2017 without creating a logjam for the numerous young pitchers making their way through the farm system. They're reliable and durable.
Some will scoff at the money Colon and Dickey received, but it's par for the course on the free agent market.
Colon, who has posted a WAR between 2.4 and 2.9 in five of the last six seasons, received fair value at $12.5 million.
Dickey, who posted a 1.0 WAR in 2016, received less at $8 million guaranteed.
If both players repeat their 2016's, which seems reasonable, Atlanta will have received a fair return. Anything more would be gravy.
I would much rather pay Colon and Dickey a combined $20 million for one year than pay someone like Ivan Nova $75 million over the next five years. Contracts like that are how mid-market clubs get into trouble. The Braves couldn't afford to take that on.
There is also the possibility John Coppolella trades his veterans at the deadline to add a promising prospect or two. We've all seen how much contending teams are willing to give up for just a couple months of an average player.
With little downside, a couple of reasonable contracts that won't hinder the future, and the ability to slowly bring along the likes of Sean Newcomb, Max Fried and others, these are two smart signings for the Braves. And they aren't done making moves, either.