Mar 23, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a new report out today that Minnesota Twins right-handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey would be open to a trade to a team where he can have an opportunity to start, after losing out on the competition for a rotation job in Minneapolis.
"Obviously if some team realizes I’m healthy for the first time in years, and this is probably the best I’ve felt and thinks I can help them, let’s do it. I think I showed them that I could start. If it happens, great. Let’s go."
A lot of teams are looking at the cards they’ve been dealt by the end of March and thinking about going for starting pitching depth; if Pelfrey is as healthy as he claims to be, he’s probably worth a flyer to somebody, somewhere.
And to his credit, he did pitch better than Tommy Milone this spring, the eventual winner of the rotation job over Pelfrey. (Pelfrey has allowed just two earned runs across 4 games/2 starts – 13.2 innings – while walking only two hitters and striking out seven.)
Something evidently changed from a few days ago, when Pelfrey seemed resigned to accept a long-relief role.
So where do the Rockies fit in all this?
Well, with Jorge De La Rosa out for at least the first few weeks of the season, Jhoulys Chacin long gone, persistent questions about whether Jon Gray and Eddie Butler are ready for the big leagues, and if Christian Bergman and Tyler Matzek can continue their respective development tracks, the Rockies can’t get enough pitching.
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Pelfrey hasn’t been good the last two years in Minnesota, and the Twins owe him $5.5 million this season, so he wouldn’t come cheap and he might not come effective, either. That’d be a problem.
Sure, he could work as a temporary stop-gap in the rotation if De La Rosa is delayed and Gray and Butler need some time in the minors, but he could also blow up like Chacin probably would have done and fail to keep the Rockies in games.
Pelfrey himself would be a bad decision for the Rockies, so let’s not make a trade for him. But his desire for a trade and possible availability highlights what the Rockies need to be doing right now, especially with news of De La Rosa and David Hale’s injuries: depth, depth, depth.
Seeing the health issues of De La Rosa and Hale, assuming Gray and Butler may need some time in the minor leagues, and predicting Bergman and Matzek may regress a bit as the league adjusts to their offerings, all mean the Rockies should be searching for cheap, veteran pitching depth as the season begins.
Pelfrey himself isn’t that guy for the Rockies, but his trade talk piqued my curiosity about available pitchers. We’ll see if the Rockies add anyone (or, if they even need to; granted, Matzek, Bergman, Butler and Gray may all impress a skeptic like me). But something tells me they’re going to need more starting pitching.
Side note on Mike Pelfrey: I could maybe see a team like the Dodgers make a move for him. They’ve got the money, they need starting pitching at the start of the year with Hyun-jin Ryu, Chad Gaudin, and Erik Bedard injured and Brandon Beachy months away from returning, and if Pelfrey is feeling as good as he says, he might be worth a flyer to Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers.