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Sunday Rockpile: Seriously, please no Carl Pavano.

Throughout the 2010 season, the Rockies continually seemed to put out the word that they liked a certain Seattle Mariners infielder that was in the midst of a terrible season. Eventually, despite strong reservations at first, I was somehow able to convince myself that Jose Lopez would be an okay acquisition. I'm not going to let myself talk myself into liking a bad decision for the team this time. 

So now, we have two more articles in the Denver Post this morning that indicate the Rockies apparent interest in trading for the Twins Carl Pavano, as a 200 inning cog in the middle of the rotation. I say it's a bad idea. In this Jim Armstrong piece, we get a quote from Dan O'Dowd: 

"We're absolutely trying to find that 200-inning guy. The Diamondbacks are going to have three guys who pitched over 200 innings, and that's huge. We realize we need to have a veteran guy who could give us those 34 or 35 starts."

So, let's take a look at the Diamondbacks three 200 inning pitchers, and how each was acquired.

  • Ian Kennedy, 26 years old, acquired as part of a three team trade where the Diamondbacks gave up Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, and got Kennedy (a 24 year old at the time) and Edwin Jackson.
  • Dan Hudson, 24 years old, acquired with prospect David Holmberg from the White Sox in exchange for Jackson.
  • Joe Saunders, 30 years old, acquired along with prospects Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez. 

None of the three pitchers had a 200 inning season under their belt when the Diamondbacks acquired them (Saunders pitched 198 in 2008.) None had an arm close to as old as the 36 year old wing Pavano would hypothetically be using for the Rockies in 2012. If the Rockies go this direction, it's a sign of desperation, an attempt to save a team from drowning rather than an attempt to swim with big fish in the sea.

Troy Renck brings up the Texas Rangers rotation. Again, a brilliant model for the Rockies to follow, but let's take a look at where they got their pitchers:

  • C.J. Wilson - drafted by the Rangers in 2001, converted from relief to starting in 2010 (hint: Rockies, is there any reliever in the system that could be converted back to starting?) 
  • Colby Lewis - Signed after pitching with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan for two seasons (hint: Rockies, look to pitchers coming back stateside. Now that I bring it up, even position players. Matt Murton for the Smith platoon, anybody?
  • Derek Holland - drafted by Texas in the 25th round in 2006 (hint: Rockies, sign more late round HS draft picks)
  • Matt Harrison - acquired as part of the blockbuster Teixeira deal (The Rockies don't need to take a hint here, with White and Pomeranz)
  • Alexi Ogando - Converted from relief just this season (see C.J. Wilson)

The Rangers have made the most of what they have on hand and of a shrewd bargain find in Lewis to form their starting rotation, while the Rockies are looking for a life preserver from the junk in other teams' yards. It's not going to work. Pavano may provide the innings relief for the Rockies young starters, but not the quality in those innings to change the outlook of the team from a disappointing 2011, particularly at the cost of talent and money that can likely be better utilized.

Other pitchers that Renck mentions I have more favorable opinions of, the Twins Kevin Slowey, the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie or the Rays Wade Davis are all still capable arms, and Davis in particular would also be attractive as a more long term fix. The "doubtful" Mark Buehrle would represent the ideal compromise candidate between my stance on this matter and Renck's, a veteran, innings eating pitcher who I feel is a bit more likely to have reserves left in the tank than Pavano. I think the Rockies have the right intention on a problem to fix, it's just that they're being too myopic when it comes to the solution.