The winningest and arguably most effective pitcher in Colorado Rockies history has almost certainly pitched his final inning in Denver. If you aren't a hard-core Rockies fan, you probably didn't notice.
There was no grand, Heltonesque sendoff for Jorge De La Rosa. Rather, he was pulled in the middle of an inning during a bad start on a day when Coors Field was full of Cardinals fans. In an odd way, this end was fitting for Jorge, who never got the respect he deserved in Denver.
Through the first two months of the season JDLR was about as bad as he's ever been. His ERA ballooned to 10.08 on June 1, and it seemed like the 35 year old had nothing left in the tank. Then, on June 9, he came on in relief of Chad Bettis in the fourth inning and proceeded to throw four perfect innings. I remember sitting in the stands that day and feeling amazed at what I was seeing, as well as happy that he seemed to have figured it out. Over the rest of the season, De La Rosa put together respectable numbers, going 7-5 with a very Jorge-like 4.29 ERA over his final 18 appearances, 16 of which were starts.
His final 2016 numbers: 8-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 27 appearances and 24 starts. His WHIP of 1.642 was the highest for a full season in Colorado, and his rWAR of exactly -0.1 was also his lowest, outside of the 2012 season when he started just three games. His ERA+ of 89 was also the first time he's registered a below average season according to that metric since he joined the Rockies.
Despite a less-than-stellar final year, Jorge's career numbers with the Rockies are sensational. He leads the franchise all-time with 86 wins. He's third all-time among qualifiers with a 4.35 ERA, and second overall (first among starters) with a .585 winning percentage. Only Aaron Cook started more games or pitched more innings, and Jorge struck out 985 batters in a Rockies uniform; over 200 more than Ubaldo Jimenez's second place total.
When Jorge De La Rosa started he gave the Rockies a better chance to win than any other pitcher over the course of his career, especially at home. That's reflected in his win-loss record.
In 100 career starts at Coors Field, JDLR posted an absurd 53-20 record, along with a 4.29 ERA. No one mastered the most hitter-friendly park in baseball better than Jorge did, and if they measured WAR purely for home starts, I'm sure he would be number one in Rockies history. All told, only Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook were worth more than the 15.2 rWAR Jorge amassed over the course of his Rockies career.
And so No. 29 will ride off into the sunset, having given the Colorado Rockies nine years of consistency and stability. So many other pitchers have come and gone since the start of the 2008 season, and he was there for all of it. He never threw a shutout or a no-hitter, and he never got to pitch in a playoff game, but Jorge De La Rosa should be remembered by every Rockies fan as the most dependable pitcher the franchise has ever had.
Jorge hasn't officially retired, but it's nearly certain that he won't pitch another game in a Rockies uniform.