Chalk this up as one of those, “I would have been pumped if the Rockies signed him five years ago” kinds of signings. Still, the Rockies are close to signing Jon Garland, a right-handed starting pitcher who will bring a measure of stability and experience to the rotation.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) March 24, 2013
Garland pitched most recently in the big leagues in 2011, a season in which he struggled for the Los Angeles Dodgers before missing over a year and a half with shoulder problems. From 2002 to 2010 Garland was exceptionally durable, starting at least 32 games and logging at least 190 innings in each of those seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and San Diego Padres. Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes that the Rockies were scouting his performance this spring with the Seattle Mariners and liked what they saw.
It is hard to imagine Garland pitching very well coming off such a serious shoulder injury. There is also cause for concern in that his high win totals in previous seasons might have masked some less-than-stellar stats in other areas. Take his 2006 season, in which he went 18-7 with a 4.51 ERA and a 4.35 FIP. Even his most recent successful season in 2010 featured some concerning numbers: Garland went 14-12 with a Petco Park-aided 3.74 ERA and a 4.41 FIP. I suppose the comfort one could take in those numbers is the idea that Garland has shown that he is OK with grinding out 6 innings even if he gives up like 6 or 7 runs. So that’s good, right?
Presumably Garland’s presence in the rotation would send Drew Pomeranz to AAA to start the season, making the starting rotation go something like this:
Pomeranz will still be in the rotation before too long, whether because of injuries or ineffectiveness from that group. This also buys time for Christian Friedrich and Tyler Chatwood to develop as starters in the minor leagues. Chris Volstad will also be doing his best to hang around, perhaps in the bullpen, waiting for a chance.
So the Rockies have a lot of options. Are they good options? Um…
…hey, at least the Rockies have a lot of options!