Wednesday Rockpile: Fitting Roy Oswalt into the team picture

Jonathan Daniel

Roy Oswalt's going to be the starting pitcher in Thursday's game against the Nationals - how should Colorado manage their roster space?

In case you missed it (but if you're reading this site on a regular basis, I don't see how), the Rockies signed Roy Oswalt several weeks ago - and he's been in Tulsa over the last few weeks. His contract had an out clause if the Rockies didn't promote him within 72 hours of Tuesday, so here he is, ready to start Thursday night's game against Washington.

Which could be great - Oswalt is a Hall of Very Good type player (last year was the first in his career in which he was not at least a league average pitcher) who could provide veteran presence combined with excellent results at a bargain price. Then again, he's been somewhat homer prone of late and Colorado might not be the best environment for that. I think that it's worth finding out what Oswalt can give the Rockies. But I digress - what I'm particularly curious is how the Rockies will handle Oswalt's call-up.

You see, the Rockies already have five healthy-ish (depending on Jorge De La Rosa's bruised thumb) starters, meaning that Oswalt's presence will shake up the pitching staff and perhaps the bullpen too. Here's what I see as Colorado's alternatives in this situation:

DFA Jeff Francis

If Jeff Francis weren't Colorado Rockies Former Ace And First Round Pick Jeff Francis, this would be an easier decision. As you're well aware, Francis was really roughed up last night while pitching in his native Canada and has hardly been an effective pitcher this season. He was a great pick up off the scrap heap last year...and who knows, he might be again down the road.

With that said, Francis is starting pitching depth that the Rockies will lose if he is DFA'd, leaving Drew Pomeranz and Chris Volstad (maybe?) as the fallback options should the injury bug bite the team.

Option Juan Nicasio or Tyler Chatwood

Let's dispense with Chatwood first. He's been Colorado's most pleasant pitching surprise this year and has no business going anywhere right now.

Nicasio has been better than Francis to date, though he hasn't been a world-beater either. He's averaging only 5 1/3 innings per start and has really struggled as he faces the order a third time. He's got an option and can work on his secondary pitches in Colorado Springs while not sacrificing Colorado's starting pitching depth.

Move Nicasio or Francis to bullpen, option down long reliever

Colorado has several expendable bullpen arms at this point, with Rob Scahill being the easiest to send down. Of course, in doing this the Rockies would preserve their starting pitching depth...but is it the right move to put either Francis or Nicasio in the bullpen? Neither has experience in that role and I'm in favor of keeping both men stretched out if they're going to be on the roster. Plus, I'm a firm believer in keeping players like Nicasio in the rotation as long as possible, perhaps because of the Franklin Morales fiasco.

Los Links!

Erstwhile 4th outfielder Eric Young Jr. has been traded to the Mets for RHP Collin McHugh - who as you may remember blanked the Rockies over seven innings back in the year that shall not be named. McHugh (who had been DFA'd by the Mets) provides starting pitching depth, perhaps an indication that Francis might be on his way out of town. To EY, I say so long and thanks for all the fish.

Troy Renck writes about how the Rockies need Carlos Gonzalez to keep being a beast with Troy Tulowitzki out.

Irv Moss interviews 2002 Rookie of the Year Jason Jennings.

Baseball Prospectus thinks that Colorado needs to buy a rabbit's foot at the deadline.

In non-Rockies news, the city of San Jose decided to sue MLB to allow Oakland to move. Fangraphs writer and former lawyer Wendy Thurm breaks down the situation. Basically, I think the Giants need to go away.

Jonah Keri looks at the effect of fatigue on baseball players as the season goes on.

Think you know MLB's rules? Take this quiz and see how you fare.

OFF-TOPIC.

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