Colorado Rockies Have Options When It Comes to Addressing Starting Rotation

By Craig Williams

The Colorado Rockies have a couple of big items on their wish list. Third base is one of them and guys like the New York Mets’ David Wright and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez have already been linked to the Colorado Rockies in various rumors.  Also on the list for the Colorado Rockies is starting pitching. They can hop in line with at least 28 other teams (the Tampa Bay Rays don’t need anymore damn pitching). The thing that might work in the Colorado Rockies’ favor is that they are specifically looking for an innings eater. Innings eaters (as opposed to top-of-the-rotation starter who throws a lot of innings) don’t grow on trees either, but its not like they’re necessarily looking for a guy to pitch Game 1 or 2 of a playoff series. Let’s discuss some options.

First of all, the Rockies can always check out the trade market. Teams are generally pretty stingy with their starting pitching, but most people tend to believe that any player can be had for the right price. If the Rockies want to get the most out of their resources which I imagine they do, they should look to the free agent market for their innings eater – leaving any trade chips available to be flipped for help at the hot corner. Three guys come to mind as potential targets for the Rockies – Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and….Livan Hernandez.

Mark Buehrle, despite underwhelming stuff, fits the bill of what the Rockies want to a T.  He pounds the strike zone, gets outs and racks up 200+ innings a year. The Rockies can be confident that they’re going to be in the game whenever Buehrle is on the hill. What about the age and the contract? Coming off of a four-year/$56 million deal, he’s probably not looking to take much of a pay cut and handing out a long-term deals to pitchers entering their age-32 season is usually a dicey proposition. A little length in the tooth should not be that big of an issue for a finesse guy like Buehrle though.

Whether he deserves the attention or not, Edwin Jackson is always going to intrigue people because of his stuff. Big fastball, nasty slider (when its on) and the dude just looks good delivering a baseball, doesn’t he?. What Jackson lacks in consistency when compared with Buehrle, he makes up with upside. Jackson will enter his next contract as a 28 year old and is a Scott Boras client. Those two things mean that Jackson will be a rich(er) man in a couple of months.  I’m not sure the Rockies will be the team to hand out this contract because Jackson is going to want to be paid like a No. 1 or  No. 2 but his stats say that he’s a high-end No. 3, but you never know.  Starting pitchers can be like women sometimes – they make men do crazy things.

Finally, and I hate that I’m about to type words on behalf of this dude, but Livan Hernandez can’t be left out of the discussion. I’m not sure if he has anymore 200 inning campaigns left in that arm of his, but he still somehow finds a way to work deep into games…or at least deeper than you would expect. Hernandez is more of a last resort type of option, but he’ll be cheap and its not as if they’re going to have to fight off a ton of suitors for his services.  Even if it was just for half of a season, I would not be surprised to see Livan back in Denver.

There are several additional low risk/low reward types that the Colorado Rockies could strike bronze with. Additionally the trade market presents a few more options that might be more attractive.  However, as I suggested above, the Rockies need to be as efficient as possible with their resources.  That could mean using  cash to aggressively pursue one of the three guys discussed above and using farm system assets to acquire an impact bat for third base.  Either way, Rockies fans should gear up for what could be a busy off-season.

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