Wednesday Rockpile: Picking up De La Rosa option a good first step for Rockies

Doug Pensinger

The big news yesterday was that the Rockies were exercising the $11 million team option they had on Jorge De La Rosa, ensuring that one of their best pitchers from 2013 would also be on hand for 2014.

The big news yesterday was that the Rockies were exercising the $11 million team option they had on Jorge De La Rosa. The 32 year-old had one of the more underrated seasons in MLB this year, going 16-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 167 2/3 innings over 30 starts (good for 4.3 rWAR) - this after a 2012 where he threw only 10 2/3 innings after rehabbing an elbow injury that also cost him most of 2011.

Rafael Rojas Cremonesi, formerly of Purple Row and now of MLB.com, got some good quotes from De La Rosa on the move. Here's my favorite:

"I have posted some good numbers at Coors, so that's why it boggles me a bit when they say pitchers can't be successful there," De La Rosa said. "I have thought that's something pitchers feed into their minds, and that hampers them."

I'm actually surprised that the Rockies haven't signed De La Rosa to a multi-year extension already. He's a great pitcher who has excelled at Coors Field - he was 10-1 with a 2.76 ERA there in 2013 and is 35-12 with a 4.21 ERA in his career - proving day in and day out to other pitchers that it can in fact be done. Plus, he's an elite (yes, elite) starter that actually wants to pitch for the Rockies.

I'm leery of De La Rosa's chances of repeating his 2013 success given his age and injury history, but even a reasonable facsimile of 2013's performance comfortably positions De La Rosa as an asset in Colorado's starting rotation. If I were the Rockies I'd offer De La Rosa something like three years, $25-30 million with another team option at the end - something very similar to his last contract with the Rockies.

Sure there's risk involved with giving a pitcher in his thirties (especially one with his injury history) a multi-year deal, but De La Rosa is just the pitcher the Rockies need in their rotation if they are going to be serious about contending, especially in a NL West where they'll be competing against the Dodgers rotation for the near future. I don't believe that De La Rosa will be a four win pitcher going forward (2013 was a career best), but he'll be a very good member of the starting rotation.

Now we'll see if the Rockies follow up this move with anything substantial on the free agent or trade market.

Carlos Gonzalez opts against finger surgery

CarGo has decided to eschew surgery on the middle finger that has ailed him for months, believing that a month of rest will be sufficient to heal the injury. This decision was made upon the recommendation of the hand specialist he went to in Cleveland a few weeks ago. It's a risk for CarGo, but I certainly understand his desire to avoid surgery if he doesn't need to get it. If the finger does flare up later this winter, he should still be able to get the procedure done in time for 2014.

Los Links!

Patrick Saunders's mailbag has the usual questions about trading Tulo and/or CarGo, Todd Helton's Hall of Fame chances, and questions about acquiring pitching. Saunders clearly believes that the Rockies have the resources to support a bigger payroll, though perhaps not the nerve to execute such a plan.

Prospect guru Jim Callis writes that Jonathan Gray is the best prospect from the draft class of 2013 based on what he's seen so far.

Finally, Ben Lindbergh (who has written at Baseball Prospectus among other places) has written a phenomenal article about baseball scouting for Grantland. I highly encourage you to read it, if only to understand that the argument shouldn't be stats vs. scouts, but instead stats and scouts.

OFF-TOPIC.

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