Colorado Rockies Trade Candidate: Bullpen Lefties


July 6, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Boone Logan (48) delivers a pitch in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. The Dodgers defeated the Rockies 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As the season begins, we are profiling some potential trade candidates the Rockies might consider moving this summer. Next up in the series, let’s analyze lefties out of the ‘pen: Rex Brothers, Boone Logan, and Christian Friedrich.

It must feel good this year for the Colorado Rockies to have a little bit of depth in the bullpen, both from right-handers and lefties.

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The club won’t have the best bullpen in the league, but 2015 should be a much better situation than 2014.

Conceivably, the Rockies could even put themselves in position to move a reliever or two for younger prospects in return from a contending club.

While we’ve already discussed right-handers out of the ‘pen that could be traded (Rafael Betancourt, John Axford, LaTroy Hawkins), let’s take a look today at Rex Brothers, Boone Logan, and Christian Friedrich: the bullpen lefties.

The contracts.

Brothers went through arbitration this winter and signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Rockies; the earliest he’s eligible for free agency is 2018. He’ll start the year in AAA Albuquerque, but it’s likely he’ll return to Denver at some point this summer, depending on his effectiveness in the Pacific Coast League.

Logan signed a 3-year, $16.5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies before 2014, and was a major disappointment last year, missing much of the season with injuries and pitching poorly when he was on the roster. He’s signed through 2016, so any trade involving him this summer would include a year of team control next season, too.

Friedrich is on the Major League minimum contract and won’t be arbitration eligible until 2016. The Rockies have him under control until 2019 when he would theoretically be granted free agency.

The histories.

Apr 30, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brothers was drafted by the Rockies in the 1st round (34th pick) of the 2009 draft out of Lipscomb University in Nashville and made his Major League debut on June 6, 2011.

He’ll turn 28 years old in December.

Logan, up until 2014, was building for himself a relatively solid career as a left-handed situational reliever, spending time with the White Sox, Braves, and Yankees before coming to Denver.

In 2013 with the Yankees, Logan was ideal, throwing 39 innings in 61 games, giving up only 33 hits and a 1.179 WHIP while striking out 50 (11.5 per nine innings) and allowing only 13 walks (3.0 per nine innings).

Friedrich has been with the Rockies since being drafted in the first round in 2008 out of Eastern Kentucky University. He’ll turn 28 years old on July 8th.

The tenures.

Brothers grew into a dominant closer with the club by the end of 2013, leaving us all to salivate about his future shutting down games in the ninth inning. And then… 2014 happened. His career hangs in the balance this year, and depending on how he reacts to 2014, he’ll either become an elite reliever who endured a hiccup last year, or a mediocre lefty who never quite figures it out.

Logan was a disappointment last year after signing the big free agent deal with the Rockies. He only appeared in 35 games (25 innings) due to consistent injuries, and got rocked, allowing six home runs, a 6.84 ERA, a 1.68 WHIP, and just a 63 ERA+. By all accounts, 2014 was a year for him to forget.

Friedrich was an awful starter for the club, but upon his move to the bullpen last season, he became a bit of a revelation, himself. In 41 plate appearances against as a relief pitcher, Friedrich allowed only four hits and two walks, good for a .111/.175/.167 slash line and a .167 BA on balls in play. He struck out 13 against those two walks, and only allowed one extra base hit, as well.

The angles.

Brothers must get himself to big league-quality before he can be used as a trade piece. If he can figure out his mechanical (or other) issues in Albuquerque, and return to Denver and prove to big league scouts and general managers that he has value occupying a spot on a Major League roster, he could become a decent trade piece. (But remember: if he throws too well this summer and proves 2014 was a thing of the past, he might be too valuable to trade. I know everyone is skeptical of that outcome, but at least right now, it could happen.)

Logan has something to prove in the second year of a big deal with the club. He may be better suited as a trade piece during midseason next year, when he’ll be a free agent after the year ends, but perhaps an extra year of team control could entice a contender to acquire him around the deadline this summer.

Friedrich is somewhat of an unknown; he had great relief numbers last year, but they came in a small sample size. If he can repeat those numbers (as he did this spring, with a solid showing in exhibition games), he’d be too valuable – and on too cheap a contract – to move. But, if he regresses, maybe he’s worth dangling as a young arm to help a club in the long run.

The replacements.

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As with Betancourt, Hawkins, and Axford, the Rockies likely won’t ship out multiple lefties, so the two remaining arms between Brothers, Logan and Friedrich would obviously pick up the slack from the departure of the third.

Otherwise, lefty Ken Roberts begins the year in AAA Albuquerque after spending virtually all of Spring Training with the big league club, after a great November in the Arizona Fall League.

He’ll be in the big leagues fairly soon one way or another, so it’s conceivable we might see him late this year depending on his time with the Isotopes.