Friday, July 23, 2010

Rockies Need To Cook Up a Roster Move

The Colorado Rockies continued their crash and burn tour on Friday night.

This time the road took them to Philadelphia, home to the two-time defending National League champions and their newly acquired ace Roy Halladay.

The Rockies were shutout 6-0 on Friday night, which wasn't a surprise based on the pitching matchup.

No team has ever won a baseball game when they scored zero runs. It has never happened and it never will happen. However, Rockies starting pitcher Aaron Cook showed why this game was essentially put in the loss column before it was ever played.

Despite seven innings of shutout baseball on Sunday, Aaron Cook has gone beyond having a rough stretch so far in 2010. The redhead has managed to pick up just four wins on the season. Only one of those have come on the road.

On Friday night, the box score may show that Cook had just one bad inning, but that does not tell the whole story. Cook was able to wiggle out of trouble in both the second and the fourth innings. He did not have a clean inning and the Phillies were hitting the ball hard, and in the air all night long.

The problem for the Rockies is that they are in no position to hope Cook turns it around. In 2009, Cook started out slow, but was able to return to form. That gave the Rockies hope that he would do the same after starting out slow in 2010. At this point, that hope is turning out to be false hope.

The Rockies, now 5-1/2 games out of first place in the National League West race, cannot afford to wait around for their former All-Star to turn his season around. July is about to turn to August, and Cook pitching anywhere, let alone on the road, is beginning to spell disaster for the Rockies.

So should the Rockies trade Cook? Good luck with that. The right hander is scheduled to earn $10.083 million in 2011 and a buyout of another half million dollars. Right now the Astros are desperately trying to offload Roy Oswalt, a pitcher who would be an instant ace on at least half of the teams in the league. The only reason that he hasn't been dealt is because he is insisting that for him to waive his no-trade clause, the team he goes to will need to pick up his $16 million option for 2011.

If a team won't pick up $16 million for Oswalt, there is not even a small chance a team would pick up over $10 million for a struggling Cook.

Despite not being able to trade the ineffective starter, the Rockies must find a way to get him out of the rotation. Sending him to the minors is not an option, they would have to designate him for assignment and hope that no other team picked him up for the Major League minimum with the Rockies paying the rest. That would certainly happen.

What the Rockies need to do is to find a "nagging injury" that Cook is feeling. That will allow them to move Jhoulys Chacin back into the rotation where he was finding his legs before being thrown back into the bullpen, where he clearly does not belong.

The move would also allow Taylor Buchholz to return from injury without sending Chacin back to the minors.

Cook could then go on a rehab assignment and try to figure out why he can't pitch the way that he was just two seasons ago. Hopefully taking a little bit of pressure off of the veteran would allow him to regain his form and return in September when the roster expands from 25 to 40.

Regardless, the Rockies need to figure something out with their rotation. Making the playoffs is not an option when Ubaldo Jimenez can only pitch once every fifth day. The fact is, Chacin was the third best pitcher in the Rockies rotation before Jorge De La Rosa forced him to move back to the bullpen.

If the Rockies don't figure out a way to patch a decent rotation together, they have better slug their way to the National League West title, because they aren't going to win pitcher's duals.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com




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