MLB Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies Rumors: Search For Starter Could Lead Team Back To Jeff Niemann

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Have the Colorado Rockies found some more pitching yet? No?

What about now?

It seems that every time you look, the unsolved question of the Rockies’ starting rotation just looms larger.

The team will, of course, soldier on with what they have, and the fact that they’ve got good offense means they’ll win games from time to time; that said, there’s no avoiding the fact that a starting rotation led by Jeff Francis is far from a reassuring prospect.

So it’s no surprise that they’ve been linked to just about every rumor involving starting pitching in the major leagues these days, whether it’s Kyle Lohse, the Los Angeles Dodgers, or the Baltimore Orioles. Yet, the team still hasn’t made a move.

For a club with such an obvious weakness, the Rockies sure are taking their time with the team’s quest to bolster its starting pitching. Perhaps it’s precisely because that they so obviously need it that they still haven’t been able to strike a deal, though — after all, it’s hard to get something at a desired price when it’s clear that you need it more than the seller.

So where will the Rockies find their bargain?

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the team could be participating in some good ol’ waiver wire hunting towards then end of Spring Training, when teams have to make their decisions on out-of-option players.

It’s not a overwhelming list of talent by any means, but there is at least one former starter from 2012 who is at risk of not having a job out of spring — Jeff Niemann of the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s actually a familiar name to the Rockies over the off-season, as the team had inquired about the righty’s availability before camp opened, and was presumably told no.

That was then, though, and this is now, where Niemann is being out-pitched in spring by upstart prospect Chris Archer for the Rays’ No. 5 spot in the rotation.

If the Rays do decide to go with the rookie Archer as their guy, it would leave Niemann without anywhere to go. They could try to put him in the bullpen, but that’s not something he’s ever really done. To put the 30-year old to the minors, they’d have to put him through waivers and potentially lose him for nothing.

Which is to say that he might be eminently available, and the Rockies could finally find themselves in a buyer’s market.

Niemann was off to a great start in 2012 before a come-backer ended his season, and his improving ground ball rate (1.13, 1.34, 1.72 each year from 2010-2012) and strikeout rate (6.76, 6.98/. 8.05 K/9 over same years) are both things that the Rockies should be very interested in.

It’s not to say that the Rays are definitely selling, of course, but I’m imagine the Colorado brass are probably pretty big fans of Archer these days.