The Colorado Rockies have traded young pitcher Parker Frazier to the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon to secure a veteran starter in Armando Galarraga. The move is being hailed as a depth move as the Rockies have almost no starting pitching to turn to in AAA Colorado Springs. Gallaraga has been assigned to the Sky Sox.
Frazier looked to have a lot of promise as he ascended through the system after being drafted in 2007 by the Rockies. His best season as a starter came while in A level Asheville in 2009, as he posted a 10-7 record but a less than impressive 4.48 ERA. Frazier had recently transitioned to a reliever role and was successful in AA Tulsa to start the 2013 season, posting a 2.57 ERA in 35 innings. Hoever, after being called up to AAA Colorado Springs Frazier struggled. He posted a 10.67 ERA in 14 innings, as he was tossed between starter and reliever.
Armando Galarraga is the one and same pitcher that missed a perfect game due to a blown call with 2 outs in the 9th. Since that blown call during the 2009 season, Galarraga has bounced between minor league and major league rosters of the Tigers, Dbacks, Astros, and Reds. The 31-yr old right hander has most recently posted a 2.98 ERA over 84.2 innings (16 games) for the Reds organization. However last year for the Houston Astros Galarraga posted a 6.75 ERA and an 0-4 record in 5 starts. So while there is hope in this trade, it remains to be seen if Galarraga still possesses the pitching that nearly earned him a piece of MLB history. Since 2009, when Galarraga used 5 different pitches, he has culled his arsenal down to 3 main pitches — a sinker (88 mph), a slider (83 mph), and a change-up (81 mph). With almost no variance in speed between these three pitches Galarraga definitely has to rely on location, location, location. Also to note, Galarraga’s career FIP of 5.43 is far above his career ERA of 4.78, which could indicate that he may not be near the pitcher that the Rockies are hoping for.
Overall this trade should be viewed as a win-win for the Rockies organization. Currently there are three veteran pitchers (Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Chris Volstad) on the AAA Sky Sox that are a combined 5-9 with a 5.85 ERA. We are talking about three pitchers that have major league experience, completely struggling at the AAA level. The hope would be that this move will allow them to part ways with at least one of them. If Galarraga doesn’t quite pan out, the loss of Frazier is not overly heartbreaking as he never did live up to the potential the Rockies saw in him. If the veteran has indeed re-established himself then the Rockies could have either a spot-starter ready to go at AAA, a long-reliever, or a solid fourth option in the starting rotation.