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Lawrence signing striking fear into the hearts of our opponents...

Take these blog reactions from the other two teams rumored to be after him:

From Derek Zumsteg's U.S.S. Mariner:

If you get the perfectly healthy and rehabilitated Lawrence-in-decline, he's overwhelmingly likely to be a below-average starter in the same general vein that Batista/Ramirez are. Healthy, he'd be an upgrade over the current candidates for the 5th starter slot... but probably not.

Of course, standard caveats apply: I'm not a doctor, I haven't looked in his shoulder, I don't know how he's throwing, and so on and so forth. But the odds that he'll be a significant contributor to any team next year are pretty slim.

Charlie at Bucs Dugout:

Lawrence has pretty serious injury problems, so the Bucs probably aren't missing out here.

A diary at Lookout Landing puts it this way:
(Lawrence) signs with colorado which will save the Mariner fans from suicide from all the crappy starters that Bavasi keeps dealing our way this offseason.  I dont know if I could take a staff of Felix, Washburn, Ramirez, Bautista and Lawrence.  Guess we'll have to deal with Baek or Woods

And the reaction from bloggers in the NL West:


...uhm, okay, so maybe this signing isn't exactly sending shockwaves through the blogosphere, and that's why the contrarian in me (as well as the homer in me) wants to look for reasons to go against the grain.

Reason #1 Brian Lawrence is not Josh Fogg. According to ZiPS, Josh Fogg is projected to have a 5.49 ERA this season. The Mariners' Cha Seung Baek is projected to have a 6.02, and Horacio Ramirez a 5.13. The Pirates' current fifth starter is a familiar name, Shawn Chacon, and he's projected to have a 5.50 ERA in Pittsburgh this season. Brian Lawrence hasn't been projected by ZiPS yet, but when healthy, he's a better pitcher than any of the other four I mentioned.

Reason #2: Depth in the rotation, as recently concluded by Jeff Sackmann at Hardball Times, is a vital key for competitive teams, particularly those lacking a pair of aces leading off. Counting Ubaldo Jimenez, Oscar Rivera and Taylor Buchholz, the Rockies now have nine legitimate potential starters heading to Tucson, with Shane Reynolds and Franklin Morales not far behind. Though not close to the quality and quantity that the Dodgers are bringing to their Spring camp, this nonetheless surpasses the depth of every other team within the division. What's more, the situation with options and contracts gives the Rockies potential staggered entry points for many of these starters, meaning that they'll be able to evaluate and adjust the rotation as the season progresses without having to give up the farm in mid-season desperation trades.

Reason #3: Recovery from labrum tears isn't as uncommon as Zumsteg and others make it sound. Advances in sports medicine are making these surgeries more effective: Chris Carpenter and Antonio Osuna are just a couple of examples of pitchers that have made it through without losing their efficacy on the mound. Rotator cuff surgery is more common and has an even higher recovery rate. Four teams (adding the Padres) thought Lawrence worthy to offer a contract to after watching his workouts, all of them valuing him over Tomo Ohka. This should be taken into consideration before writing him off due to his injured past.

The bottom line to me is that the risk of recurrence or complications in the shoulder is there, but the investment is relatively small and the potential reward (an upgrade on Josh Fogg) pretty large. I wouldn't worry about Jason Hirsh's chances here. If he's ready, the Rockies will have him in their rotation in April. Anyway, I am not seeing much downside to this. It beats trolling the waiver wires like we had to do with Zach Day and Sunny Kim, and it's certainly a better signing than the one we made with Fogg, waiting until February when nobody else proved interested in him last year.