The main strength for the Colorado Rockies in 2021 was their starting rotation.
All five of their primary starters made at least 23 starts and all five of them had an ERA+ of 105 or better.
However, will it be as big of a strength for the team in 2022?
The Colorado Rockies may decide to turn to the free agent market or trades for another starter?
Of the primary five starting pitchers for the Colorado Rockies in 2021, one of them is hitting free agency himself in Jon Gray.
Gray has expressed numerous times that he would like to remain with the Rockies but that still remains to be seen.
If he leaves, the fifth spot in the rotation will be fair game as Germán Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland, and Austin Gomber will be in the starting rotation. The Rockies could have a competition for the fifth starter spot between Peter Lambert, Ryan Rolison, and Ryan Feltner.
But one of the Rockies biggest issues in 2021 and one of their biggest issues in recent years, in general, is their lack of depth.
When Kyle Freeland, Austin Gomber, Jon Gray, and Antonio Senzatela were all on the injured list at different points in the season, the Rockies had to turn to Chi Chi González.
Gonzalez made 18 starts with the Rockies plus six appearances in relief and he had an ERA+ of 74. In 2020, he had an ERA+ of 76.
In other words, their rotation didn’t have anyone that could be a long reliever or spot starter that anywhere in between an average MLB pitcher and 25 percent below league average (González).
In Triple-A Albuquerque, they only had one starting pitcher (Frank Duncan) with a sub-6.00 ERA. That’s why the Rockies turned to Ryan Feltner, who was in Double-A Hartford, for a pair of starts in September when both Gomber and González were on the injured list.
Peter Lambert, who returned from Tommy John surgery in September, made a few starts and will likely be the favorite for the fifth spot.
Rolison and Feltner will likely start the season at Triple-A but the Rockies do need to address their starting pitching (and, frankly, bullpen) depth this offseason with some additions to Triple-A and some at the MLB level as well.
Some of them may be at the major league level as well. For example, the Rockies signed Jhoulys Chacín to fill a need for a long reliever but, due to their lack of depth and lack of consistency in the back-end of the bullpen, he ended up filling that role, and rather admirably.
In 46 games (one start), he went 64 innings and had an ERA+ of 110.
For at least the next year or two (until the Rockies can truly look to be in contention again), they will need a few bridge pitchers, like Chacín, to help their depth issues. They won’t be long-term answers but it will help younger pitchers learn from veterans and, perhaps, improve the team slightly in 2022.
So do they need to sign or trade for a starter this offseason? No, but as they say, you can never have too much pitching. But they do need to add some pitchers that could help the Rockies starting rotation if needed … and they need to be more like Jhoulys Chacin and not Chi Chi González.