The Colorado Rockies signed journeyman starting pitcher Tim Redding on Wednesday. It is clear that the Rockies fan base has grown because of the overall panic that has been associated with signings like this.
Redding was signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. He is by no means going to be this seasons version on Jason Marquis. He is not going to push Jason Hammel or Jorge De La Rosa out of the rotation. He is simply being brought in for depth.
Many Rockies fans are scared that the righty, who was accused of being out of shape when he showed up to Mets camp last spring will be the Opening Day starter for the club. There are references to Kip Wells being thrown around. Make no mistake, this is no Kip Wells signing.
When Kip Wells was signed he was brought in to compete for a spot in the rotation. The Rockies were hoping that he would be good enough to be a fifth starter, or at worst a long man out of the bullpen. They firmly believed that Wells would be a member of the team on Opening Day.
The fact is, if Dan O’Dowd was completely honest, he would admit that the chances that Redding cracks the opening day lineup are slim to none. The point of the signing is to have a stash of big league-ready pitchers, who have had some success at the highest level, waiting in the wings an hour south of Denver just in case.
The alternative is to go with what the club already has. That might not sound like a bad idea considering the depth that the farm system enjoys. However, if the Rockies simply depended on their young pitchers they might find themselves in trouble if and when a starting pitcher gets injured. In 2009 Josh Fogg had to make a start while Aaron Cook was on the mend.
Young pitchers are great to have around, and even to give a start to here and there, but the learning curve in the big leagues is tough enough, but imagine being thrown into a big league situation in the middle of a playoff race and be asked to throw better than ever before. It just is not realistic. So when guys like Tim Redding are signed, panic should not ensue.
It is simply a depth move.