Colorado Rockies Roster Moves: Why Should We Care About Gonzalez Germen?


May 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher G. Germen (71) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies claimed a career minor league reliever off waivers from the Chicago Cubs this week, and used him in a big league game. Here’s why that matters. 

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The Colorado Rockies made some roster moves on Thursday and Friday, claiming relief pitcher Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Chicago Cubs, and placing first baseman Justin Morneau on the 60-day disabled list to create a 40-man roster spot for the new reliever.

The Rockies also placed David Hale on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin, and recalled lefty reliever Aaron Laffey from AAA Albuquerque to take Hale’s place.

Both Germen and Laffey pitched in Friday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, though obviously neither one may be in the big leagues for very long. And, we kind of had a hint Morneau might be in bigger injury trouble than what was first thought back in May, as we’ve hypothesized the impact it had on his trade value.

But back to Germen; who cares? A journeyman reliever who washed out of two organizations (Mets, Cubs) comes to Denver and is magically supposed to be the magic bullet the Rockies have needed? Well… no. But that’s expecting too much of him — or anyone — to think one acquisition is going to turn a team around (short of trading for, you know, Clayton Kershaw or Bryce Harper).

Germen is exactly the kind of player the Rockies need to acquire. He comes dirt cheap after the Cubs had to give up on him, with the Rockies only needing to pay a prorated amount of the big league minimum salary, which in Major League Baseball terms, is nothing.

He comes with a very strong arm — FanGraphs cites Germen averaging 93 mph on his fastball over his big league career — and he comes with a plus changeup that he throws 26.1% of the time. In other words, he’s a two-pitch reliever who has a chance to throw a few innings here and there in the big leagues and help out the Rockies where the club really needs it: bullpen depth.

No, he won’t (and shouldn’t) make any more starts like he did Friday (but seriously, how about those three scoreless innings?!), but he can rack up decent innings in a middle relief role in the Rockies’ pen. There is value to that; not everybody throws 97 mph with a putaway slider.

I know Gonzalez Germen is a far less sexy choice than Jonathan Papelbon, or Francisco Rodriguez, or Rafael Soriano, or Craig Kimbrel, or any other big-name reliever who may or may not be available (to contenders) this year.

But he is the kind of guy that’s (a) cheap, (b) available, (c) realistic, and (d) worth a flyer to figure out if the Rockies can catch lightning. It’s only been one game — small sample size warnings in full effect — but the Rox caught that lightning for at least three innings on Friday night.

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