Sunday Rockpile: Lack of movement by Rockies shows team's uncertainty with their own pitching

Rockies still have a few streams to ford before they get back to Salt River Fields - Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

The Rockies continue to lightly troll the trade and free agent markets for starting pitching, but appear hesitant to make any hard and fast decisions in that regard. This seems to point to continued uncertainty with what's already in the ranks.

In case you hadn't noticed, the Rockies still need starting pitching. Troy Renck seems to advocate lowering the team's demands for Dexter Fowler to get this done, but as I've pointed out, those demands really aren't that outrageous given other deals that were made and are still being made this winter. Possibly as an indirect result of the new CBA, but prospects simply aren't as valuable now, and lowering the asking price will quickly bring the Rockies to a point where it would no longer be in the team's best interest to trade Fowler, which kind of leaves Colorado in a bit of a quandary.

Being blunt, the collective chances for Rockies success in 2013 are very low, and adding one starter or even two starters only moderately changes that outlook. Individually, however, there's a decent chance that some of the Rockies who currently don't project so well going forward can improve their long term outlook in 2013, while others will flop and/or affirm their dismal projections. I think the Rockies are in a place right now where there are a lot of somewhat promising elements but not much of a cohesive picture tying it all together. In short, there needs to be more winnowing, more culling of the herd, particularly in the current rotation, before another competitive team gets put together. The big issue facing the team as I see it, is that it's not at all clear to them who it is that needs to get winnowed. The Rockies aren't making moves is because they're afraid their current pitchers are too good to let go of, while the reason they are still looking for more is that they're afraid they're too bad to keep.

The Renck article above more or less highlights this issue on the current team. The reason the Rockies would need both Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran for Fowler rather than say a pitcher and a position player or prospect is because either or both pitchers could easily be busts at Coors Field. This makes sense, but it also reveals the team's deep insecurity in pitcher evaluation. The reason they're skeptical of young and talented Rick Porcello is given that they:

...aren't sure he's a lot better than some of their current crew of young starters, none of whom is making anywhere near the roughly $5 million the Tigers right-hander will get in arbitration.

With what we know of Porcello's proven MLB value thus far and what we also know of the MLB value of the Rockies young starters, this shouldn't make much sense, but add in what we know of Coors Field and pitching at altitude, and it becomes a little bit more clear. That said, the real problem the Rockies have in deciding whether or not to trade for Porcello or Delgado or Teheran or whoever, is that the Rockies still apparently don't know what they already have on hand in Drew Pomeranz, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Tyler Chatwood and Christian Friedrich. There appears to be too wide a range of potential outcomes with that group of five starters in particular to give the team confidence they'd be making the right decision in replacing any of them on the depth chart.

This puts the Rockies front office in stark contrast with Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks' crew, not that either organization has been anything more than perplexing lately. Towers was so confident in his assessment of the D-backs young pitching that sloughing off Trevor Bauer came easy. Too easy. The Rockies meanwhile seem to be making decisions too difficult, as they can't decide if Rick Porcello is better than Pomeranz, Chacin or Nicasio. The latter two in particular, along with Jorge De La Rosa, represent substantial risks that adding another pitcher like Porcello should generally help mitigate. The only good reason not to would be if you had a better option for this available for a smaller cost. Let's hope that's the case.

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