I feel like there should always be a qualifier when we consider potential candidates for the Colorado Rockies pitching staff, starting rotation or otherwise. Because things were truly so bad in 2012, any recognizable name and any pitcher with big league success on his resume feels like a significant improvement. Really, can the Rockies afford not to look at capable pitchers on the market?
I was actually disappointed that the Rockies did not sign Kevin Correia. That’s another way of saying it.
Lowe pitching in the playoffs as a member of the Yankees. Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
On Christmas Eve MLB Trade Rumors passed on a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that five teams had expressed interest in the 39-year-old Derek Lowe. That list might include the Rockies. The current snag in any team’s pursuit of Lowe is that he insists he can still start, but the teams interested view him as more of a bullpen swing man.
I think the Rockies should pursue Lowe and I think they should be the team to give him a chance to start. Why do I think he would be a good fit for the Rockies? Because that man pitches angry.
Whether in the peaks or the valleys of his career, I think anybody would agree that Lowe pitches with an edge. Whether it is being a hero in enemy territory (Yankees stadium) in game 7 of the ALCS as a member of the Red Sox or making obscene gestures towards the crowd or just generally pitching like he is ticked off at the world, his personality makes him distinct from other starting pitchers, for better or for worse. In this case, as we consider him as a fit for the Rockies, I think that is for the better.
Look at this quote from Lowe:
“I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts. I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”
Whereover Lowe lands, his anger meter will be maxed out. He will be out to prove something. Why shouldn’t the Rockies give him the chance to angrily prove to people that he can still start? And wouldn’t Lowe be more persuaded to actually choose Colorado as a destination if they were the only team that told him that they wanted him in the rotation?
If you combine Lowe’s edginess with his strikingly consistent career groundball percentage, aren’t we talking about a guy who is at least worth a shot as a member of the starting rotation? The reason Lowe is risky is because of his struggles in the past couple seasons, especially in games that he did start (his numbers improved out of the bullpen). Even still, this seems like a low risk, high reward situation and exactly the kind of (potential) upgrade the Rockies should be seeking. What other risks are there if the Rockies sign Lowe to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp to compete as a starting pitcher? That they will be laughed at? Isn’t that already happening?
For my part, I say the Rockies should see if they can add an extra-ticked-off Derek Lowe to the mix for the 2013 rotation.