|Jorge De La Rosa may be on the move.|
If that is the case, it was one of his many great ones in purple pinstripes.
As trade rumors heat up, and the Rockies spiraling out of the race, De La Rosa is quickly becoming one of the top two pitchers that might be available at the trade deadline. He is a free agent at the end of the season and is showing that he might be the exact piece that a contender needs in order to shore up their rotation for a real run at the postseason.
On Wednesday, with the Rockies on the verge of having the Nationals sweep the season series from them, De La Rosa pitched 7-1/3 innings, giving up just one earned run. He threw 110 pitches total, but was forced to throw extra because of errors behind him. Most impressive for the Rockies best left-handed starter of all-time, De La Rosa struck out 11 Nationals batters and walked none.
How good is De La Rosa? As bad as the Rockies are, when he is on the mound, there is a feeling that the team actually has a chance to win. Even if he gets into a little bit of trouble, he has been masterful in getting out of a jam, keeping the Rockies close enough in the game to give the Rockies offense a chance.
With Stephen Strasburg on the hill opposing him, De La Rosa outdueled the prominent Nationals ace. While Strasburg wasn't his sharpest, De La Rosa showed him what it takes to pitch at Coors Field. In fact, he has shown the entire Rockies organization what it takes to pitch at Coors Field, but it seems that no one wants to acknowledge just how good he has been.
The sad reality for the Rockies is that De La Rosa could have been re-signed in the offseason. It is well-known that he loves the city of Denver and he loves the Rockies. He wants to pitch at Coors Field. With that in mind, the Rockies never even approached the lefty about a contract extension, instead figuring that their young talent in the minor leagues would be ready once 2015 arrived.
It was the latest example of arrogance from the Rockies front office. It also shows how poorly they evaluate talent. The depth that the minor leagues supposedly is full of has been nothing short of a disaster, with the exception of Tyler Matzek, who has shown promise in his time at the big league level, the rest have either underperformed or found their way to the disabled list.
If the Rockies are forced to trade De La Rosa, they should be able to fetch a nice return. A lefty who throws in the mid-90's is tough to find. Even tougher to find is one who throws a changeup the way that De La Rosa did on Wednesday. As contenders start offering more and more for the piece that they believe will push them over the edge, the return for De La Rosa could force the Rockies to move him.
The problem is, while Dan O'Dowd and company have made some very good trades in their time, there are very few Rockies fans who are comfortable with the idea of them pulling the trigger on trading a good pitcher out of Colorado.
The problem for the Rockies is that they waited too long. They have painted themselves into a corner. They desperately need De La Rosa for at least the next two seasons, but they have no guarantee that he won't test the free agent market when the season concludes and find someone who is willing to pay him twice the amount the Rockies would offer. They need him in the rotation, but completely ignored the situation when they had a chance to avoid this mess.
Instead, the Rockies find themselves in a position that if they don't trade him, he could walk away and all they get is a compensatory pick in the 2015 draft. With that in mind, the Rockies will almost certainly find a team who is willing to give up some very good prospects to have De La Rosa's services. That, however, leaves the Rockies in a huge predicament heading into 2015. If they trade the lefty, their already terrible pitching staff will have just lost it's most valuable member, the only one who seems to be able to pitch well enough to help his team win.
As the rumors start to swirl, De La Rosa will find out his fate. Even if the Rockies get what looks to be very good prospects back for their ace, fans need to remember that because of the front office's lack of planning, they are forced to trade away their best starting pitcher when what this team needs the most is good pitching.
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