The Colorado Rockies are right in the thick of things with Thursday’s trade deadline approaching.
It is MLB Trade Rumors season, and the Rockies have multiple players drawing interest from contending teams. That list of guys ranges from stars like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to solid players like LaTroy Hawkins and even Matt Belisle. But the biggest trade target, the guy who is sought after and whom the Rockies might actually consider trading, is starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.
The veteran lefty has handled the challenges of Coors Field better than anybody and he already has 11 wins and 116 innings this season. That is the kind of value, not surprisingly, for which contending teams are looking. Even so, the Rockies are unlikely to trade De La Rosa.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes the following:
At this point, the Rockies are leaning toward keeping De La Rosa, a major-league source said. De La Rosa is a free agent at season’s end, so the Rockies would have to make him a $14 million qualifying offer. That move would ensure draft-pick compensation if he were to sign with another team.
Count me among one of the more enthusiastic members of the De La Rosa fan club, but it should make me and anybody else reading physically ill to think of paying $14 million for a 34-year-old starter with a career FIP north of 4.00 next season.
Thomas Harding of MLB.com provides an important point in that regard, however, in his own report about the Rockies likely choosing to keep De La Rosa.
It’s doubtful the Rockies will move lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who has pitched better at Coors than any pitcher in their history. The Rockies have been listening when clubs inquire, but after it surfaced that the Rockies coveted Orioles righty Kevin Gausman and a whole haul of prospects, no other team’s interest made it to the rumor stage. Expect the Rockies to make the $14 million qualifying offer for De La Rosa, a free agent after this season, and use that as the basis for keeping him.
If that qualifying offer is the basis or the starting point for a new deal with De La Rosa, that is another thing entirely. The Rockies could get themselves some more value that way and they could keep their most successful pitcher around for the rest of his career. That still makes me a little nervous given the failures to get extension talks off the ground up to this point, but the front office seems bound and determined to issue De La Rosa a qualifying offer.
As we wait for Thursday’s deadline to pass, arguments can be made both ways about what should be done with De La Rosa. It sounds like the Rockies are more inclined to keep him, pending an offer they can’t refuse.