clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Colorado Rockies might want to take a look at relief pitcher David Carpenter this spring

David Carpenter has a few good seasons of relief work under his belt, with peripherals the Rockies have been coveting recently.

David Carpenter is floating around as a free agent; should the Rockies take a look?
David Carpenter is floating around as a free agent; should the Rockies take a look?
Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

As the Colorado Rockies continue winding their way through spring training, they will quickly find out that some of their bullpen candidates aren't up to the job in the big leagues. That's not a criticism of the talent or the club's player development group that put them together; rather, it's just the inevitabilities of men that will fail trying to play a very difficult sport.

By that same note, other bullpen charges will drop off for different reasons. As we've seen this week with reliever Jairo Diaz, health is not promised, and depth gets tested when the club has nary begun their spring training schedule of not-really-real-but-thank-god-baseball-is-back games. So let's fix that with depth! Enter: David Carpenter.

Yes, that's former Atlanta Braves reliever David Carpenter, who spent 2015 split between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, doing little by way of impressing with his appearances before being shut down with right shouldering inflammation. Yes, that's also the same David Carpenter who got into this little brouhaha with the Rockies a couple seasons ago—even leading to the super-rare Walt Weiss ejection—after he plunked Corey Dickerson with a pitch:

But it's also the same David Carpenter who was the Braves' best reliever not named Craig Kimbrel in both 2013 and 2014; the same one who racked up 10.0 K/9 across those two seasons against just 2.5 BB/9; the same one who has averaged 95 mph on his fastball in his career, even last season when injuries slowed him at times.

He's healthy now, it appears, and he's a free agent, too. After signing a minor league deal with the Braves in November to rebuild some value this spring, the club cut him this week thanks to an abundance of young relief pitching depth during their massive rebuild. Carpenter seems pretty optimistic and upbeat about the move, and now he's back on the free agent market looking for some club to take a flyer and see what they have this month.

Why not the Rockies?

Carpenter does some things the Rockies have proven lately to covet; that is, he throws hard strikes. His fastball velocity has been remarkably consistent around 95 mph throughout his time on the mound, according to FanGraphs. Like Rockies newcomers Jake McGee, Jason Motte, and Chad Qualls, Carpenter is relying on that pitch, too, having thrown it two-thirds of the time across his career, per the same source. And he's not walking people; even adding the lean years of his career, Carpenter has handed out just 74 free passes in 211 career innings (3.2 BB/9) against 216 strikeouts (9.2 K/9).

Sure, he's had a recent injury—a shoulder injury, no less. But we're not talking about a guaranteed big league deal here. Why not hand him a minor league invitation to camp in the same way the club just did with Ryan Raburn? If Jairo Diaz was legitimately in the mix for a big league job before going down with his elbow injury, why not bring in another power pitcher to fill Diaz's spot in the bullpen battle and see what the club has for the next three weeks?

If it doesn't work out, give him the same type of deal Raburn got, with an option to become a free agent at the end of March, or even with an option to opt-out of a Triple-A gig in May, or something. Carpenter is just 30, and if he's really healthy like he told the Albany Herald, he'll get a job somewhere else. What's the worst thing that could happen? (Especially since Corey Dickerson is now playing elsewhere, right?)