Colorado Rockies Pitcher Wilton Lopez Not Getting the Job Done

By Al Balderas
Thomas Campbell-USA Today Sports

There is a pitcher on the Rockies’ staff who is quickly becoming one of the most overpriced players in baseball.

His name is Wilton Lopez.

In his case, the Colorado Rockies are paying $1.7625 million for a pitcher that the Houston Astros were willing to get rid of. Yes, the lowly Houston Astros — the team that could probably lose to most Triple-A teams.

The Astros are the ones who decided to part ways with Lopez and found a taker in the Rockies. Or was that a sucker?

The Rockies gave up Alex Gillingham, an 11th-round draft pick in 2011, and Alex White, the 15th overall pick in 2009 (Cleveland Indians). White is currently on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right elbow. The Rockies might have thought they were getting a deal, but then so did Greg Brady when he bought that clunker from his buddy in the old TV series.

Lopez appeared in 64 games for the Astros in 2012 and had a 2.17 ERA, but whatever plans the Rockies had for Lopez this season, he’s not getting it done.

Lopez was brought in to pitch the seventh inning of Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres. The score was tied when he replaced starter Jon Garland, but the Rockies were trailing by two runs by the time the inning was extinguished.

This brings back to recent memory his meltdown on Opening Day, when he gave up three runs and the Rockies’ lead disappeared.

Bring him in with a lead, he gives it up. Bring him in when the score is tied, he falls behind. How much longer will manager Walt Weiss think Lopez is a valuable member of the Rockies’ bullpen? He has appeared in five games this season, pitching a grand total of 4.1 innings. During that time, he’s given up 13 hits and six earned runs while striking out two.

That means that more than half of the 25 batters he has faced this season have gotten hits. It also means that he is averaging 27 hits per nine innings of work. His ERA is above 12.

This is not Major League quality. If the Rockies tried to give, not trade, Lopez back to Houston, the Astros would laugh.

Lopez has proven that he should only be used in those blowout games, where the Rockies are losing by 12 or more runs, and Weiss doesn’t want to burn out his bullpen. Rather than risk injury by having an outfielder pitch for an inning or two, just send in the clown.

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