If Jhoulys Chacin's injury is one that will require him to miss significant time, it appears that nobody will be able to place blame on the Rockies for not looking into an adequate replacement.
The Rockies have "checked in" on free-agent starter Ervin Santana, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, after learning that their de facto ace is suffering shoulder troubles early in spring training. Chacin may or may not be okay, depending on the results of an MRI that he underwent on Monday, but Colorado would be smart to see what Santana would cost anyway, given that they wouldn't have to part with a true first-round pick due to theirs being protected. They would be on the hook to forfeit a compensatory round pick to the Royals, but it might be worth the draft pick if Santana can be had at a low price.
UPDATE (2:25 p.m. MT): An unnamed Rockies official denied Heyman's report, according to Rockies.com's Thomas Harding.
For what it's worth, Santana says he will not settle for a discount, and there are several other teams -- the Mariners, Orioles and Rangers, in particular -- who are interested in the 31-year-old right-hander and have shown a greater willingness to spend than the Rockies.
The Rockies were interested in Santana earlier this offseason, according to multiple reports, but the team would rather give current roster options Franklin Morales, Jordan Lyles and Christian Friedrich a chance to step into the rotation, says Troy Renck of the Denver Post. None of the three have proven to be decent starters at the big-league level, and the Rockies might be fooling themselves if they think that Chacin will be the only starter to deal with injury issues this season.
That said, unless Santana finds himself in a debacle in which he has no other offers on the table, it doesn't seem as if there's a very real shot at the Rockies being able to talk him into trying to re-establish his value on the open market by pitching a season or two in Denver.
Santana turned down a qualifying offer from the Royals after a season in which he posted a career-best 3.24 ERA with 6.9 strikeouts and 2.2 walks per nine innings.