Mar 5, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) throws against the Baltimore Orioles during the top of the first inning of a spring training game at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rockies Continue Pitching Hunt

This morning in the Denver Post columnist Woody Paige guest-starred in a synopsis of the Colorado Rockies’ pitching woes. I have actually now written three separate posts about the state of Rockies pitching, and fans around the globe have lamented about the pitching issues all off season. Perhaps most frustrating is the lack of moves that the front office has made to help shore up that horrible pitching staff who shoulder the brunt of a horrific 2012.

February 25, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano (35) throws against the Chicago Cubs in the third inning during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

In the article, Paige suggests that the Rockies should trade for pitchers Chris Capuano (Dodgers) and J.A. Happ (Blue Jays), post-haste. Don’t waste any more time messing around with this sub-par rotation. At first blush I really don’t hate the idea, but how much of an upgrade are we looking at here?

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I appreciate the FIP sabermetric the most for evaluating pitchers — a weighted ERA that helps us focus more on pure pitching effects. Currently none of the potential Rockies rotation has a career FIP less than 4.00, aka “average”. Capuano and Happ have career FIP values of 4.40 and 4.50, respectively. Obviously this is not any upgrade from what the Rockies already have on roster! If you take a gander at another statistic I love, WAR (Wins Above Replacement), Cap and Happ have given their teams 1.1 and 0.7 wins per season above the average player. Not spectacular but at least it’s positive? If it came down to it I would rather not have those glaring FIP values to stare at for a full season just to have 1 more win above an average replacement. On top of that Capuano has had an awful spring, posting a 10.40 ERA in 2 games (5 IP). Happ has been better with a 3.00 ERA in 3 games (6 IP) though I would suspect Happ would fall back to his career average of 4.19 ERA sooner than later.

Paige next brings to light the fact that the Rockies pitching staff makes a quarter of the salary any respectable pitching staff makes. So to balance that he suggests bringing in these two pitchers and their multi-million dollar contracts. Hey, I get it, this is a point well taken. We need to spend a little more to earn a more wins. But please can’t we come up with some better pitchers to lay the dough on? Noted, we have waited too long as most all pitchers worth anything have found a home by now. Which would leave trading as the only option.

That brings me to the last point, where Paige suggests trading away surplus talent such as INFs Chris Nelson and DJ LeMaheiu, or Trevor Story who probably won’t need to purchase a home in Denver anytime in the near future in order to land these two pitchers. I am completely fine with trading away some of the ample talent the Rockies have built up and that hasn’t quite panned out, but why for two sub-par pitchers? Even if Paige does think they could be the top two in the rotation, it would be by the hair on his chin! Again, I would like to think that we could swing some of this in the direction of a much better pitcher. There has to be someone out there…

(P.S. — Another pitcher that has been rumor-linked to the Rockies is Jeff Neimann, who sports a 4.35 career FIP and 0.7 WAR/season, not ideal and right in line with Paige’s suggestions… blegh.)

I like Woody Paige and his quirky commentary for the most part. However I believe he missed not only the boat, but the ocean with this musing. I hope to God — for Woody Paige’s sake and for the Rockies’ sake — that we don’t end up with any of these pitchers toeing the rubber in Coors Field for 2013. This would not be a move in a positive direction but simply a move to trick fans into thinking that the front office cares. Making moves like this would just dig us deeper into the pit we already live in. At this point if management is not serious about bringing in pitching that can have a positive affect, I would rather watch the current rotation gut it out.

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Tags: Chris Capuano Colorado Rockies Derek Lowe JA Happ Pitching Woody Paige

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