Today I participated in another Rockies blogger panel at El Charrito’s. You should really think about coming out for the next one because they are really fun. Good-natured sparring about all things Rockies and solid analysis to boot.
In any case, I mention this because one of the main topics of discussion today was obviously the midseason trade deadline next Thursday. Despite what Dick Monfort thinks, the Rockies should be looking to sell. There will be no Rocktober this year, and as such, the team should see if they can get anything valuable for cheap. They should not, however, sell anyone who has proven he can be successful in a Rockies uniform. Between injuries and failed experiments this season, those players are few and far between, and we should be holding onto them for dear life. So, with all due respect to my esteemed colleague Hayden, I do not believe the Rockies should be shopping Jorge De La Rosa.
While Hayden makes some especially good points about DLR’s value, I know one player we can’t get in exchange for him: a pitcher we know can pitch at Coors Field. While DLR’s numbers are mediocre on the whole, his Coors Field numbers are better than good. He’s 7-2 at Coors this year with a 3.23 ERA. He’s given up 6 home runs at home and 6 on the road, which means that Coors does not cause his pitches to fly out of the yard as it does to so many others. Let’s not underestimate the value of a pitcher we know can manage Coors.
Far too many major-league ready pitchers have come to the Rockies in trades from other teams or in free agency and have not pitched well here: Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Outman, Guillermo Moscoso, Roy Oswalt, Jair Jurrjens, Boone Logan. Now, I realize there are any number of other reasons to call these pitchers failures–limited opportunities, bad flyball rates, oldness, etc.–but the fact remains that the front office has tried bringing in guys with the kind of experience DLR has, and the success rate has been low. Pitching at Coors Field does something to a guy’s head, but it doesn’t do anything to DLR’s.
Dave Cameron recently argued that the Rockies are foolish for thinking DLR is an important piece. Cameron says that believing a pitcher like DLR is essential is part of the wrongheaded thinking that has led to an ownership having no idea why its team is losing. But show me the alternative. Who could the Rockies bring in that would do a better job than DLR? See the above names for examples of the attempt.
The only thing better than a DLR anchoring the starting rotation is a young guy brought up through the system like an Eddie Butler. Somebody truly talented who can have long years of success in a Rockies uniform. And the Rockies are not going to get someone like that for DLR. At best, they’ll get a utility infielder and some cash or a mid-level prospect. They’re not going to get someone who will have the necessary impact on the starting rotation to be worth the loss of DLR. Cameron is right that DLR is “aging, mediocre, and expensive.” Since players who are young, talented, and cheap do not exist, you generally have to go for two of the three. And you don’t get two of the three by trading away someone who other teams perceive is none of the three.
There are too many unknowns in this Rockies system right now. DLR is a known, and he’s a solid known. The Rockies need to keep him because they can’t get anything worth having for him.