LEADOFF: What they’re saying about Braves signing Dickey, Colon

Good morning. This is LEADOFF, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

It's rare for one team to have the two oldest pitchers in the major leagues, let alone for a team to add both of them to its starting rotation in a 24-hour period. So the Braves' signings (pending physical exams) of 42-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and 43-year-old fastballer Bartolo Colon has caused quite the buzz.

Here’s a sampling:

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes that the Braves "settled on a strategy and pounced," committing a combined $20.5 million to the two pitchers in one-year contracts. "Maybe the plan works, maybe it doesn't," Crasnick writes. "But it's certainly defensible. And if you have a soft spot for aging guys who practice their craft with imagination and flair, it should be a heck of a lot of fun to watch."

The Toronto Star's Richard Griffin acknowledges most Blue Jays fans "will simply say good riddance to Dickey and his capricious specialty pitch," but argues: "Realistically, Dickey deserves a better send-off for his four-year body of work in a Toronto uniform." Griffin notes that Dickey was left off the Jays' playoff roster last month because they "had six starters and only needed four."

Bleacher Report's Danny Knobler finds a precedent for Braves president of baseball operations John Hart signing aging pitchers, recalling that as the Cleveland Indians' general manager he signed soon-to-be-40-year-olds Dennis Martinez and Jack Morris in 1994 and 36-year-old Orel Hershiser in 1995.

The New York Times' James Wagner observes that "the older, and perhaps the heavier, Colon gets, the more he defies logic." Pointing out that Colon's 233 career wins puts him within reach of Martinez's 245 and Juan Marichal's 243, Wagner writes: "Can an athlete who, these days, does not even look like an athlete still end up with the most victories by any Latino pitcher? It appears likely."

And the New York Post's Hannah Withiam reflects on Colon's tenure with the Mets: "From cartoonish swings-and-misses to ironically nimble fielding to one jaw-dropping home-run trot, Colon left a three-year, 285-pound mark on Queens that Mets fans will cherish."

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When the Braves announced three years ago this month — Nov. 11, 2013 — their plan to move to a new Cobb County ballpark, who would have guessed that come Opening Day there Dickey and Colon would be in their starting rotation, Brian Snitker would be their manager and homegrown players Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward would be gone?

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Three things to watch when the College Football Playoff selection committee unveils its new rankings tonight:

1. Will one-loss Clemson remain ahead of one-loss Louisville, given that Louisville’s loss was to Clemson?

2. How far will Washington fall and how far will USC rise, given that the three-loss Trojans soundly defeated the previously unbeaten Huskies?

3. Will the committee have two Big Ten teams or two ACC teams in the top four this week, given that the SEC will have only one and the Pac-12 and Big 12 none?

LEADOFF appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.