While the 2014 Rockies will still feature Rex Brothers prominently at or near the end of games (whether or not you buy the whole "flexibility with Brothers" story the team is selling is another Rockpile for another day) and fans will still see plenty of Matt Belisle, Wilton Lopez and Adam Ottavino, the bullpen will have something of a new look. The team has spent $21 million and traded Jonathan Herrera to bring LaTroy Hawkins, Boone Logan and Franklin Morales into the fold for next season.
What sort of impact will the three new additions have on the club? Of the seven relievers that pitched the most innings for the 2013 Rockies, Brothers, Belisle, Lopez and Ottvino are still with the team while Manny Corpas, Edgmer Escalona and Josh Outman have moved on.
In 2013, Corpas, Escalona and Outman combined to pitch 141 2/3 innings for the Rockies, posting a 4.83 ERA and 1.42 WHIP while walking 3.4 batters per nine innings and striking out 7.4 per nine innings.
Meanwhile, Hawkins, Logan and Morales combined to pitch 135 innings for the Mets, Yankees and Red Sox, respectively, compiling a 3.33 ERA and 1.23 WHIP while walking 2.5 and striking out 8.4 per nine innings.
Also, adding Hawkins (and likely Logan) into the mix at the end of games can push guys like Lopez and Belisle, who both had ERAs over 4 last season, into lower-leverage situations. That means a significant improvement to the front end of the bullpen, making the starter lasting just five or six innings, which happens fairly often in Colorado, a much less scary proposition.
The other wrinkle to the bullpen overhaul is the addition of a third lefty into the mix. This will give Walt Weiss much more flexibility with his matchups, especially against big lefty bats in the NL West like Brandon Belt, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Headley (a switch hitter who is better from the left side) and Gerardo Parra. With Brothers, Logan and Morales in the mix, it's possible opponents' big left-handed bats would only see left-on-left matchups after the starter leaves the game.
The bullpen was something of an Achilles' heel for the Rockies in 2013, but with the new signings could be a strength in the upcoming season.