The Rockies Add Reinforcements…Or Something


Even if the names are not exciting, the Rockies front office deserves some credit for the manner in which they are pursuing pitching help this offseason. Sure, Miguel Batista is really old, and sure, Chris Volstad is a reclamation project of the most extreme variety. Yes, Derek Lowe and Carl Pavano are on the wrong end of the proverbial hill and might even be considered washed up.

In other news, I love pictures of pitchers hitting. Image: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Even still, the distinct situations of each of these pitchers make sense for the Rockies. First of all, and perhaps most importantly, the team is not heaping undue pressure on these guys to carry the pitching staff. Unrealistic expectations were the genesis of a disastrous rotation in 2012. Jeremy Guthrie was never meant to be an ace and Jamie Moyer did not belong in a starting rotation. Neither of them made sense in Colorado. Juan Nicasio was not ready to be a fixture in a Major League rotation.

The Rockies will not place those expectations on a pitcher like Volstad. They see him as a low risk, high reward option. The same would apply for Lowe or Pavano and the same certainly applies to the ageless Batista out in the bullpen. If it doesn’t work out, hopefully another option does. And isn’t Volstad worth the risk? He is 6’8″ and has the powerful arm to go with his large frame. He was a first round pick. If he does hit his stride the Rockies add an upgrade in talent that they might not otherwise be able to acquire. If he does not…o well! It was worth a shot.

The flip side of this argument, of course, is that the Rockies might still be placing unrealistic expectations on certain pitchers. Is it fair to expect Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin to stay healthy and carry the rotation? Is it at all reasonable to think that Drew Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio will be more ready this season than they were last year?

I suppose this is my point: you can balk at the pitchers in whom the front office is placing their naive faith to turn things around in 2013…just don’t direct that skepticism at the washed up/reclamation project pitchers whom the Rockies are adding. It makes sense for this team to take chances on those guys.