With Jorge De La Rosa's availability as a free agent making him look less and less likely to return to Colorado, the Rockies have begun to poke around to see what other starters could be made available.
Jake Westbrook was discussed in Monday's Rockpile as a potential option. Westbrook, when healthy, is a strong groundballing inning-eater, doesn't strike many batters out, but doesn't walk so many that you'd need to seriously worry about it. His career 59.0 GB% will also help erase any baserunners allowed via the strong Rockies Double-Play defense.
Jon Garland profiles similarly to Westbrook, low BB numbers, low K numbers, and high GB%. Garland experienced a sort of career resurgence in San Diego, striking out a career-high 6.12 batters per 9 innings, but also a near-career-high 3.92 BB/9. His 3.47 ERA was in fact a career low, but one might attribute the spacious Petco Park as a cause for such ERA deflation. xFIP suggests that Garland pitched nearer to a 4.35 ERA level, which is far more in line with his career 4.58 xFIP.
While Westbrook and Garland profile very similarly, Kuroda may be the best pitcher of the 3 that the Rockies are interested. Since joining the Dodgers in 2008, Kuroda has yet to walk more than 2.2 batters per 9, post a GB% lower than 49.5%, and his punchout rates have risen every season (5.69, 6.67, 7.29). Along with improvements in his peripherals, his FIP (and xFIP) have dropped every season as well, and 2010 was the best of the 3 seasons in the majors (12-12, 209 IP, 3.39 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 4.2 WAR). A full season of Hiroki Kuroda could be worth upwards of 3.5 WAR to the Rockies.
With money coming off of the books for Colorado, the Rockies may have to say goodbye to Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis and look in other directions for pitching help.