You remember Franklin Morales. As a pup he started games for the Colorado Rockies in 2007. In the years that followed he started some games, then was transitioned to a role in the bullpen.
As a reliever he was erratic as ever. Still, he was left-handed and he had a wicked fastball/slider arsenal, so you knew there would be a place for him somewhere…even if it was out of the bullpen, and even if it was for another team.
When the Rockies sent him to the Boston Red Sox in 2011, that was mostly how things had played out. The time had come for the Rockies to part ways with him, but he still had value as a big league pitcher. He would just need to figure out how to tap into that value on another team.
With the news that the Rockies re-traded for Morales (sending franchise favorite Jonathan Herrera to the Red Sox), it seems that things have come full circle in more ways than one. Besides the fact that he is returning to Colorado, Morales might be given a shot in his original role with the team: as a starting pitcher.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweeted the following:
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) December 26, 2013
In 2013 Morales pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen for Boston with some shaky results. In 20 appearances he posted a 4.62 ERA with a troubling though entirely unsurprising 15 walks issued. That sounds like almost the exact shaky relief pitcher I remember.
But then look at 2012. Did you know Morales started nine games for the Red Sox that season? I’m not going to pretend I knew that, and most Red Sox fans have probably already chosen to forget because they took place under the regrettable leadership of one Bobby Valentine.
Morales was completely and utterly mediocre in those starts, going 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA and allowing nine home runs and 21 earned runs in 45.2 innings of work. But you know what else he did in those starts? He showed the baseball world why teams will keep giving him a chance by striking out 47 hitters in those innings, good for a 9.3 K/9 mark.
The inconsistencies for Morales are scattered throughout all of the different stages of his career, but at age 27, there is still plenty of promise on which to gamble. Even though he did not start much in 2013, it very well might be the case that the Rockies will decide to audition him for the starting rotation. As always with Franklin, he has the goods to do it if he can throw strikes and be more consistent.
And if he somehow manages to do those things, the Rockies will have one heck of an option for 5th starter on their hands…but as they say in the business, that’s a BIG if.