|Jon Garland could provide some stability to the Rockies lineup.|
Instead of upgrading in the offseason, the Rockies insisted that Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio being healthy would change the fortunes of the embarrassing pitching staff. With all of the issues, most Rockies fans believed that the club should have done anything they had to do to improve the starting five.
On Sunday, the Rockies addressed the issue by signing newly released right-hander Jon Garland.
The veteran sinker-ball pitcher hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011 due to a shoulder injury the sidelined him for the past year-and-a-half. The Mariners signed him to a deal that allowed him to ask for his release if there was no spot for him on the big league roster.
Despite a strong showing for the Mariners in spring training, with a 1-0 record in four starts with just a 2.25 ERA, Seattle couldn't guarantee him a spot, and therefore allowed him to walk.
Make no mistake, the move does not make the Rockies instant contenders. However, it does provide some veteran leadership to a rotation full of young starters. All of the starters, with the exception of De La Rosa, have less than three years of service time to their credit.
Signing Garland is a typical move around the end of March, where clubs try to convert another team's castoffs into a usable player for themselves. This time, the move could pay off for the Rockies. Garland is no slouch, in his career he has logged nine seasons of double digit wins. Of course, that all came before the shoulder injuries, but Garland represents what has been successful at Coors Field, a crafty sinkerballer.
The move allows the Rockies to have a guy in the rotation who has had success in both leagues, for a sustained period of time. Most importantly, he gives the Rockies a chance to allow Drew Pomeranz, the prized piece in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, the opportunity to fine tune his mechanics in Triple-A without having to continue learning on the job at the big league level.
If Pomeranz can continue his maturation process in Colorado Springs, the Rockies can avoid the psychological issues that come with a young pitcher trying to find his way at the big league level at Coors Field.
The move also allows the Rockies some insurance in case either of the three pitchers returning from injury have setbacks. In the spring, the Rockies have already seen a few small issues creep in with two of those starters. Chacin was scratched from his last start with back spasms and De La Rosa has had a few forearm issues, something that is common in the rehab process of Tommy John surgery.
If either one of those pitchers has an early setback, having Garland in the fray allows the quick move to be to fetch the most ready prospect, Pomeranz, from Colorado Springs, and not have to dip any further than necessary into the already shallow pitching prospect pool.
The move may seem like it is typical of the Rockies trying to grab something off of the trash heap. However, it might be a move that helps the team and brings some stability to the rotation that is in desperate need of help. It also is a move the Rockies didn't have to make, which shows that they are at least looking for pieces that will help the team get better.
Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"