With the Colorado Rockies preparing to take the field today for their first spring game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, we receive word that the front office is not necessarily content to stand pat when it comes to the personnel that makes up the potential starting rotation.
The Rockies, searching for starting pitching, have checked in with the Rays about Jeff Niemann and others. No talks advanced, as of yet.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 23, 2013
Nothing to see here yet since the talks haven’t advanced. From the Rays’ perspective there is certainly no rush; they can only gain leverage as the Rockies grow more desperate for pitching help as Spring Training wears on.
As Troy Renck notes, the Rockies view Niemann as a more realistic trade target, both in terms of salary ($3 million) and in terms of the package it would take to acquire him. That would be more realistic in comparison to previously mentioned names like Rick Porcello and Luke Hochevar. In Hochevar’s case, I hope that is only a reference to his $5 million salary.
In limited action last season (8 starts) Niemann went 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA. He posted a 3.09 FIP. His best season was 2011 when he went 11-7 in 23 starts. That season he struck out 6.98 hitters per 9 innings and posted a stellar 2.84 K/BB ratio. So yes, without question, those numbers indicate that he would be a welcome addition to the Rockies rotation. But, like most pitchers, the numbers do not tell the entire story with Niemann. He is coming off of a season in which he missed time with a broken fibula and then an issue with his throwing shoulder. Obviously it is the latter that would concern the Rockies most.
For now there are no moves on the horizon. Once the Rockies assess some of their options for the starting rotation we can expect trade talks like this to pick up in earnest.