Sunday, March 24, 2013

Colorado Rockies add Jon Garland to starting rotation

Jon Garland could provide some stability to the Rockies lineup.
Colorado Rockies fans went from disgruntled to flat out angry when the club did nothing to improve a pitching staff that was laughable in 2012.

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.

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  1. Finally. I'm hoping that Garland will be a bit like Jason Hammel was a few years back. I never understood why the Rox gave up on Hammel, I thought that he always was the most competitive pitcher (mentally) they had. Here's hoping that Garland will give us some innings (175+) and be mentally tough. I wonder why the Rox front office has never developed a template for what a successful pitcher looks like when he spends more than a season at Coors Field. That template would include ground ball outs, excellent command of the fastball, and a competitive spirit after giving up an inning with crooked numbers.If they'd come up with that model, they could then pay pitchers based upon that kind of performance. The guy who has performed this way the best is Francis. Other guys who've been like this are Hammel, Kevin Ritz and Armando Reynoso.

  2. $11 million per year for Kevin Lohse was too spendy for the Monforts.

  3. Not sure anyone knows who Kevin Lohse is.... maybe you should start watching baseball.

  4. I meant Kyle Lohse.

  5. I rip the rockies but Lohse wasn't the answer at 11 million. Lohse would be a bust. Lohse doesn't miss bats and he would have a 5 era.

  6. Please look at the big picture here fans. While this is no Justin Verlander or Johny Cueto. The fact of the matter is that management made a move to try and get better. I am sure that this is not the only move they are working on. History tells us that no big name pitcher will ever come here again and the blueprint for Rockies success is going to be getting arms that are willing to extend their career for a paycheck and gives us a lift with experience and work ethic and hope some of that will trickle down to the current guys on the staff. While on paper this doesn't sound sexy or give us the big splash that we wanted however this is a pretty substantial signing that could pay off big for us and could account for an extra 5-6 wins this year. This may not seem like much but all 162 count people and if we find another arm to get us another 6 more wins that could be enough to get us into the playoffs. With additional wild card 88-90 wins should be enough to get in this year and this as simple as it seems could be the difference if we add one more veteran arm.