Make no mistake about it, De La Rosa is a very good pitcher. He throws in the mid-90's from the left side and has a biting slider with a great changeup. That type of talent doesn't come around often.
Throw out De La Rosa's career 49-47 record with a 5.02 ERA. The majority of those losses came in the early part of his career when four different franchises gave up on him because he simply could not find a way to control his emotions and keep his confidence at a high enough level to compete.
De La Rosa's career finally turned the corner mid way through the 2008 season, not when he tweaked his mechanics or added an additional pitch, but rather when the club made him take a seat on the couch. The couch just happened to belong to the team's mental skills coach, Ronn Svetich.
Svetich was able to work with De La Rosa on only worrying about the things that he could control.
Suddenly, De La Rosa wasn't having the mental meltdowns that caused so many issues in his career. When the umpire wasn't giving him the corner, he took a deep breath and battled through it, rather than losing his focus and trying to overthrow.
All of that suggests that De La Rosa is a better pitcher than his numbers suggest that he is.
However, the other side of the story is what is scary. Despite finding mental relief that comes with visiting a sports psychologist, De La Rosa is still a very volatile baseball player. In order to perform at his best, he must have a clear head and be focused.
That is exactly why giving De La Rosa a huge contract might not be a good idea. As is the case with many players who sign big contracts that come with big expectations, it is very conceivable that the left-hander could start to over throw and think that he needs to prove that he is worthy of the contract that he just signed.
So is re-signing De La Rosa a bad idea for the Rockies? No. In fact, it is something that the club should make their No. 1 priority. However, they should be very careful not to over commit and break the bank by signing him to a four or five year deal worth somewhere in the $15 million per year range.
The Rockies should do everything that they can to get the 29-year old to sign a deal in the $12 million range.
That may sound impossible, but what has to remain in the back of the lefties mind has to be that he is very comfortable in Colorado. He finally figured himself out with the organization and became the pitcher that he currently is. By no means does that mean that he will stay, but comfort is worth something, and $12 million over three years is still a pretty good contract for a guy who looked more like a non-tender candidate three years ago than the second best pitcher on the free agent market.
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