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Day of the Bottom Feeding Starter

Alright, I'm going to try and be a little less knee jerk this morning and look at this move with a little more thoughtfulness. Taken in context with other moves or near moves to shore up teams' rotations around the NL that happened yesterday as reported by various media outlets, I'm hoping that the Lopez deal takes on a more positive sheen:

1. Mets re-up Oliver Perez, court Jorge Sosa
  1. Nationals sign Brandon Claussen, Jerome Williams
  2. Adam Wainwright preps to re-enter Cardinals rotation
  3. Rockies trade two minor league relievers for Rodrigo Lopez

Alright, where does the Lopez move fall in with this bunch? As far as strengthening the team, I would rank it quite a bit behind Wainwright's move to the Cards' starting five, ahead of the Sosa and Claussen moves, and in pretty much the same "risky" category as Perez and Williams, without the upside of either of those two. Actually, it's probably better than the Jerome Williams move, I just keep getting nostalgic for his prospect days which are highly unlikely to return.

The move has a couple of other positive aspects, Taylor Buchholz moves for now to strengthen the bullpen, and I think O'Dowd's comparisons of him to Wainwright in that role could be on target. The second positive aspect is pushing Josh Fogg -either aside or forward- but either way it should work out better for the team. The starting five coming out of the gate in April currently in all likelihood will look like this:

  1. Aaron Cook
  2. Jeff Francis
  3. Rodrigo Lopez
  4. Jason Hirsh
  5. Kim or Fogg or Lawrence
I've seen a couple of places speculate that Hirsh gets dropped to the Springs, but I don't see that as likely unless he's unready in Tucson and we sign Brian Lawrence. He and Lopez might flip places, but it seems more likely that Fogg or Kim get dealt at this point. Now, why I'm more comfortable with this situation this morning, is the temporary feel to this group. With Jimenez and Rivera likely starting in Colorado Springs, we have two young and seemingly capable back-up options for when things go awry. With Buchholz, Denny Bautista and Juan Morillo all moving to the pen this offseason, Miller and Burch were getting crowded out of a future for now, and the Rockies have more talented arms coming up behind them. Basically we got rid of a couple of useful but lesser arms for a mediocre starter capable of eating a lot of innings, and early in the season that's probably something we'll need.

This isn't a tacit endorsement of the deal, I still am uncomfortable with Lopez in that role, but I at least can see the tactical logic in the move. Lawrence could be a bigger prize, and should the Rockies sign him, their stockpile of cheap, bottom-of-the-rotation starters will be good to have in two months when Spring Training injuries start to take their toll on other teams. Therefore, on the scale of cliched dodgy responses, this is how I rate the deal:

It's a win-win
Solid, but unspectacular
Guardedly Optimistic
Hopefully Skeptical
Just Skeptical
>>>>> Sketchy, but Intriguing
There's a Slight Chance it Could Work
Well, we weren't going to win this year anyway
ALIWBTWSD*

So, see? There are still three degrees of justifying cliches I could go to before I have to acknowledge the deal as truly terrible. Excellent, so carry on people, Rodrigo Lopez is not the end of our chances this year.

*-At least it was better than what Sabean did.