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News » Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-12-30

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-12-30

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-12-30
The Rockies are looking to add depth to their rotation, where there are three pitchers assured of spots and most likely a fourth, and a host of competitors for the fifth spot with limited experience.

Right-handers Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez and left-hander Jeff Francis are the givens, although the Rockies are likely to go slow with Francis in spring training, as he was sidelined about five weeks last season with left shoulder inflammation and ultimately was shut down Sept. 12. And lefty Jorge De La Rosa pitched his way into the 2009 rotation last season.

Left-hander Greg Smith, acquired from Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal, will vie for the fifth spot with lefty Franklin Morales and right-handers Jason Hirsh and Greg Reynolds. Those four pitchers have limited track records in the majors, at best, which is why the Rockies would like a fifth starter with a more substantial big-league resume.

Right-hander Tim Redding, who was non-tendered by Washington, is appealing, but he has attracted interest from a handful of clubs, which will net him a bigger contract. The Rockies have no interest in signing Redding to a two-year deal, which is presumably less of a stumbling block for other clubs. Instead, Colorado could turn its attention to Cubs right-hander Jason Marquis, a more proven commodity.

Marquis, 30, worked at least 191 2/3 innings between 2004-2007 and threw 167 innings last season when he went 11-9 with a 4.53 ERA. He's guaranteed $9,875,000 next season, but the Cubs, looking to move him to thin their surplus of starters, appear ready to eat roughly half that sum.

Marquis' track record at Coors Field is limited but by no means a cause for concern -- 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in five games.

To be sure, the Rockies are framing their pursuit of a veteran fifth starter against the recent past. Last winter, they signed right-hander Kip Wells to a $3.1 million contract, despite being told about his suspect makeup. Wells missed nearly three months following surgery for recurrence of a blood clot in his right hand but did nothing to distinguish himself when healthy, and the Rockies cut him loose in mid-August.

They also re-signed retread lefty Mark Redman for $1 million after he had pitched for the Rockies late in their magical 2007 season. But they sent him back to Class AAA following the All-Star break after he had appeared in 10 games, nine starts, including a memorable low April 26 when he allowed 10 runs in the first inning at Los Angeles.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: December 30, 2008

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