Rockies Reach Agreement With Jorge De La Rosa

The free agent market for starting pitching continues to thin out quickly, as lefty Jorge de la Rosa has reached an agreement to re-sign with the Rockies.  De La Rosa agreed to a three-year, $32MM deal.  The pitcher maintained flexibility by securing a player option on the third year, while the Rockies added a fourth year club option at $11MM.  Today is a huge day for the Colorado franchise, as they're also nearing a six-year extension with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  Both players are represented by TWC Sports.

De La Rosa, 30 in April, posted a 4.22 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 52.3% groundball rate in 121 2/3 innings for the Rockies this year.  He missed ten weeks with a torn tendon in his finger, but pitched acceptably upon his return.  De La Rosa was one of the few starters with upside on this year's free agent market – he throws quite hard for a southpaw and is relatively young.  There have been a few Oliver Perez comparisons, but Perez isn't a groundball pitcher.  De La Rosa's player option gives him the freedom to test the open market or renegotiate after the 2012 season in the event he takes it to the next level and racks up a few 200 inning, 200 strikeout type seasons.  He's yet to reach either of those plateaus in his career.

De La Rosa set out seeking a four or five-year deal in free agency, but ultimately stayed where he's most comfortable.  The Nationals and Pirates were among his other suitors.  Since De La Rosa was a Type A free agent who turned down arbitration, the Rockies would have received two draft picks if he'd signed elsewhere.

Now that De La Rosa, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Javier Vazquez, Jon Garland and Jake Westbrook have signed deals, there's not much left on the starting pitching market other than Cliff Lee and Carl Pavano. As I explained yesterday, many teams could be looking to add starters.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the De La Rosa deal was close, and Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post added details.

47 Responses to Rockies Reach Agreement With Jorge De La Rosa Leave a Reply

  1. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Are you telling me that there are no AA/AAA pitchers who could do a comparable job for 10 million dollars cheaper annually?

    In other professional sports leagues 10+ million annually is (usually) reserved for more accomplished stars, in baseball it goes to pitchers who were lucky enough to be born left handed and have a 4.1 bb/9 ratio

    • progmatinee 5 years ago

      “In other professional sports leagues…” Ever hear of the NBA?

      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        Well on average NBA players get more money the MLB players thats true..

        but there is also a lot less players on a team, but I still think my point stands that even in the NBA for a player to get into double digit millions, he would have to be better then (comparably) De La Rosa … Can he even be considered average?

        • progmatinee 5 years ago

          In the scheme of things, DLR is way better than average. Most AA/AAA pitchers can’t sniff the big leagues. Most big leaguers become bullpen guys, and most big leaguers that manage to escape the pen become 3,4,5 starters.

          While DLR is a shaky and inconsistent #2, he is a #2 and therefore he is WAY better than the “average”.

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            How is he a #2? He’s never posted an ERA under 4.20 and has a career 4.55 bb/9 and a 1.523 career WHIP

          • progmatinee 5 years ago

            So you’re saying he is not one of the 64 best starters in baseball? Elias rankings would beg to differ, since they made him a Type A.

          • FriedCalamari 5 years ago

            he might be right there at 64th^^!

          • progmatinee 5 years ago

            For the record, I am in no way in love with DLR. I agree that he is at the very bottom of the threshold of what a “good” pitcher is.

            I would have been fine also with losing DLR and getting 2 draft picks. If it would have taken $12m a year and a 4 year contract, then I would have passed and taken the picks.

            IMO, this was a good compromise. 3 years at $10.5m a year is not over committing the Rockies, so thats why I like the resigning. I think the Rockies would be ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC if DLR gave them 2 years good enough to justify an opt out.

          • FriedCalamari 5 years ago

            I’ve gained some new info from wayne, it seems like a pretty fair gamble if he can lower his walk-rate and produce similar/better numbers to 2009 & 2010 and stay healthy ><

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            ahhh elias rankings to refute my argument? Nice..

            well Elias Rankings are not based on 1 year’s worth of stats…

            So pitchers who were either hurt, in the minors or still young and struggling, would not be ranked higher then JDR..

            Just a few examples of ‘unranked’ by elias yet still much much better then JDR

            Shawn Marcum, Clay Buccholz, Wade Davis, Derrek Holland, Madison Bumgardner, Brian Matusz, Fausto Carmona, Brandon Morrow, Colby Lewis, Brett Cecil, Francisco Liriano, Jeremy Guthrie, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill..

            I’m sure I missed some, but my point stands… so he’s maybe one of the best 90 starting pitchers in the league… woopty freaking do

          • progmatinee 5 years ago

            The list of players that you provided aren’t valid to the conversation, since for the most part they aren’t really available. Would the Rockies love to have Clay Buccholz, Shawn Marcum, etc, for less than $10m a year? WELL OBVIOUSLY. LOL. But how does that happen when they are under another team’s control for 3,4 more years? I don’t agree about half of your list, but regardless, any team would have to give up a lot of prospects or some solid big leaguers to get them. Such is the luxury of team control. The Rox already promoted Chacin. They don’t have another pitcher close to DLR’s level to just call up and take his place like your scenario suggests. If you think just any pitcher can be called up and pitch as well as DLR can, ha.

          • myname_989 5 years ago

            That wasn’t the point at all. He was providing a rebuttle as to why the Elias Rankings (which most experts agree are flawed) is not a good measure to determine JDLR’s worth. The fact of the matter is that he is much more akin to a bottom of the rotation arm, taking his ERA, FIP, and WHIP into consideration. He’s not a top of the rotation arm by any means, and probably shouldn’t have been paid $10 million a year. He was lucky enough to benefit from a very weak starting pitching market.

          • progmatinee 5 years ago

            Fair enough, but my point is that the “market” is what COL and every other team has access to anyway and for better or worse, Elias is an official element that partially sorts the “market”.

            moonrakers’ original comment was “Are you telling me that there are no AA/AAA pitchers who could do a comparable job for 10 million dollars cheaper annually?”

            My point is that, yes, DLR is much much better than the average AA/AAA player and more to the point, better than what the Rockies options are. Bringing up a bunch of players that aren’t even available doesn’t factor into “the market” thus the fact that those players aren’t factored into the Elias rankings doesn’t matter.

          • mattevilspawn 5 years ago

            The fact of the matter is he could wind up being an ace or he could be a bust. Time will tell. The Rockies are obviously banking on more development.

            In light of the pending Tulo deal, I’m a little weary of the three-year commitment. Personally, I would have gone two years with a third year club option. The $ compensation doesn’t bother me as much as the longevity of the contract. Unless a pitcher is a proven, durable ace (e.g., Felix, C.C., Halladay and the like), my max commitment would be three years. Too many things go wrong with pitchers – mainly health.

            And if DeLaRosa didn’t like the deal, I’d gladly accept the two compensation draft picks in the event he signs elsewhere.

          • myname_989 5 years ago

            I agree with some points. The fact of the matter is that he’s not going to end up being an ace on any contending team. He’s a bottom of the rotation arm. He’s been in the major league long enough, with consistent enough numbers, for teams to see what he’s going to be able to offer. Are his numbers worth 10 million a year? No. On the other hand, like you said and I said, he benefited from a very weak starting pitching market. That doesn’t mean that the Rockies HAD to have him though. For example, I think that giving up Ian Stewart and Dexter Fowler for Gavin Floyd is a better investment. This contract may not completely block them from making deals in the future, but I think it was an unnecessary committment to the payroll. If I was a Rockies’ fan, I’d much rather have the two picks.

          • BobbyJohn 5 years ago

            Elias made him a Type A because he was in the top 20% of this year’s available free agent pool. He was actually the last guy to make the cut for Type A (#6 out of 29). His Type A status is a testament to the overall weakness of this year’s crop of free agent starters.

            He’s not a #2 starter. Those guys routinely pitch 200 innings per season with ERAs that are half a run or more below the league average.

          • Guest 5 years ago

            Youre using Elias Rankings? The guy has ace stuff, but in no ways does that mean hes a ace.

      • Blazin80 5 years ago

        I dont consider NBA part of professional sports.

  2. Somewhere, Carl Pavano, Carl Pavano’s agent, and the Rays’ front office are celebrating.

  3. FriedCalamari 5 years ago

    can somebody fill me in on why de la rosa is worth this contract? I don’t know too much about him, his stats don’t really jump out to me that he’s worth this contract. Is it cuz he’s able to achieve a sub 5.00 ERA at Coors or something?

    • myname_989 5 years ago

      Byproduct of an extremely weak free agent market, starting pitching wise. In terms of talent… He’s not.

      • FriedCalamari 5 years ago

        yikes ><, the guy was rumoured to be looking for a 5 year deal with his track record? and still managed to get a really really nice deal. GJ for him and his agent.

        • wayne_gomes 5 years ago

          He’s also a pretty rare free agent pitcher in that he’s left handed, can throw 95 and is under 30 years old. Has a very good changeup and has been a groundball dominant pitcher as well. The results have never been consistently great but again, LH starters with very good stuff are rarely availableLook at the LH starters in the NL, there probably aren’t 5 as talented as De La Rosa. Hamels, Kershaw, Garcia….who else is clearly better?

          • FriedCalamari 5 years ago

            OK thanks, that’s what I wanted to know. Seems like a fair gamble if he can gain some better control of his pitches? his walk rate just seemed a bit high to warrant the contract and also the lack of innings pitched does pop some questions about durability. Hopefully he can stay healthy for the Rockies, they always seem to go on fire down the stretch to make it really tight and exciting for baseball fans =)

          • mattevilspawn 5 years ago

            You’re right FC. If you look purely at his historical stats and couple it the question of durability, the contract is def player/agent-friendly. If you’ve seen him pitch, tho, the contract becomes more reasonable. At times he’s shown flashes of brilliance and complete dominance. At other times – like many developing pitchers – he’s been inconsistent and looked lost. (Check his May 2009 game log – it’s a perfect illustration.) The Rockies are taking a risk, hoping his talent and consistency develop.

            There’s that. And the other part of the equation is that myname_989 nailed it. The DLR signing is also the result of a weak/dry SP market this winter.

  4. wayne_gomes 5 years ago

    I actually thought he might get more (4 guaranteed years, like that Lohse deal). I don’t think it’s a bad move for the Rockies, especially since they seem to be in that borderline playoff area as a team where marginal wins are at their highest value

  5. De La rosa stats the past 3 seasons: btw, pitching in COlorado!!!!

    2008 COL NL 10 8 .556 4.92
    2009 COL NL 16 9 .640 4.38
    2010 COL NL 8 7 .533 4.22

    okay the ERA is pretty “blehh” but to average 12 wins a season is pretty nice.

  6. So no one here has mentioned that possibility of him pitching better if he left Colorado? That’s part of why he was desirable.

    It’s really not a horrible deal for the Rockies, $10 mil a year for three years for a pitcher who’s performed consistently well at Coors seems fair. I also get the feeling that in the back of everyone’s minds, people want to avoid another Oliver Perez situation, which is some pretty irrational and illogical groupthink.

  7. De la Rosa has a career ERA above 5.00, has coughed up more hits than innings pitched and has battled accuracy issues most of his career. When you see a guy with numbers like that, you don’t think of a number 1 or 2 starter–or even a 3 or 4–but a late inning setup guy, and not a good one. His historical numbers look more like Jorge Julio’s than Randy Johnson’s.

    If history has its say, Jorge will regress but he has been decent over the past three years for Colorado after terrible years in MIL and KC. Maybe he’s got something figured out. He’s too much of a gamble for me, but I wish all players–with the excpetion of the a-holes–the best of luck.

  8. Guest 5 years ago

    I’m going to consider that to be a good thing. I breathe a sigh of relief for the Rangers every time I see names like DLR come off the board…definitely not the guys they need in their rotation

  9. progmatinee 5 years ago

    Disagree completely, this was a good compromise from both parties. If DLR did not receive the 2 year out option he could have continued his quest for a longer guaranteed deal. And 3 years was the max the Rockies were looking for.

    If DLR puts up 2 years good enough to increase his value, then I think the Rockies will be in the playoffs, which will be a win-win for the Rockies and at that point they will be receiving 2 draft picks for what would be a 32 year old pitcher.

  10. rickjimbo 5 years ago

    Mr Garza and Shields became a little more valuable, I’m guessing that’s what was ment

  11. moonraker45 5 years ago

    I’m glad you asked, I was wondering the same

  12. moonraker45 5 years ago

    The claim that De La Rosa increasing his value is enough to guarantee the rockies in the playoffs is ridiculous. . I’m not saying they will or won’t, but a 4th starter will only have so much to do with it.

  13. progmatinee 5 years ago

    not sure where you get “4th starter”. DLR is pretty much the Rockies #2, as he was in 2009 when the Rockies made the playoffs. If DLR proves again to be the Rockies #2 starter and wins more than 16 games or pitches better than he has in the past (thereby increasing his value), then I would say yes, the Rockies would make the playoffs.

  14. moonraker45 5 years ago

    So he wins 16 games and the rockies make the playoffs.. ? Do you have any method to this madness or is this just random, ‘I say things so they must be true’ scenario.

    And how is he a #2, he’s not even a # 2 on the rockies and their rotation isn’t exactly sparkling by comparison, their offense is what wins games, he’s a back end 4th or 5th starter on most competitive teams.

  15. BobbyJohn 5 years ago

    DLR has never been the 2nd-best starter on the Rockies. Last year that was Jhoulys Chacin and the year before it was Cook.

    The last three seasons he has always been their #3 guy in terms of actual on-field performance.

  16. progmatinee 5 years ago

    obviously, I’m not saying 1 player will make the difference between playoffs and not. Only a fool would assume I said that. I don’t have time or space to write an essay predicting how the Rockies would make the playoffs. The point is that the Rockies would be more than happy and pleased with the deal if over the span of 2 years Jorge De La Rosa IMPROVED HIMSELF (to the point that he would opt out) because that would mean JDLR did all that he could to help the team make the playoffs which all other things being equal from 2009 and 2010 an improved JDLR would be enough (IMO!) to thrust the team over the hump and back into the playoffs. Obviously every one else would need to do their part, but in a conversation about 1 pitcher, I hardly think it necessary for me to comment on the other 24 players on the roster. Geez.

  17. moonraker45 5 years ago


  18. wayne_gomes 5 years ago

    I forgot about him. The shoulder though has to be scaryNon-DLR NL LHSPKershawHamelsJ GarciaSantanaW RodriguezLillyJ SanchezBumgarnerC RichardT WoodNieseHappI think De La Rosa is definitely somewhere in the top 10 of those guy, maybe top 5-7Of course the deal could still backfire, I just think it’s a worthwhile gambleAlso….wow does the AL kill the NL for top end LHSP

  19. moonraker45 5 years ago

    AL East alone is a beast for good Left hand starters

  20. thegrayrace 5 years ago

    A groundball guy like De La Rosa might succeed quite well in Arlington, I’d think. Understandable that your heart is set on Cliff Lee, but De La Rosa may have been the best alternative for the Rangers…

  21. BobbyJohn 5 years ago

    His record from June of 2009 thru the end of 2010 was 24-9, but his ERA was 4.07 so the record isn’t an actual reflection of what he did on the mound.

    I would have been much happier with Garland since he would produce a similar ERA with a lot more innings.

  22. MaineSox 5 years ago

    ERA is as bad of a stat to use as Wins when you are talking about a pitchers actual performance, both take the entire teams performance into account. Over the past two seasons his WHIP has been 1.38 and 1.32 respectively (1.37 being the NL average) and his FIP has been 3.91 and 4.30 respectively (abt. 4.50 being the average) so while he hasn’t been spectacular he has been at or just above average at worst.

  23. ld303 5 years ago

    Not sure if you’re familiar with Coors Field, but it tends to increase ERAs. Try using a park-independent stat like xFIP or WAR. De la Rosa is no ace but he’s certainly above average. Probably worth exactly what the Rockies will pay him.

  24. Guest 5 years ago

    Not that he’s a bad pitcher, but he’s not a top of the rotation guy in my opinion. And I don’t think he’s much (if any) improvement on Wilson/Lewis/Hunter/Holland going into next year for what he now costs. If they’re going to add a pitcher, I’d rather it be a legit ace like Lee or Grienke. If that fails, then I think the better plan would be to give Feliz a shot in the rotation next year and hope he or Holland can have a breakout year. Both have arms equally as good as DLR, and can be had for a fraction of the cost

    I just feel that guys like DLR are better pickups for a team in need of middle of the rotation depth, like the Rockies in this case. And the Rangers need an ace

  25. BobbyJohn 5 years ago

    I’m somewhat familiar with Coors, being a season ticket holder. :o)

    That also means I’ve seen him in person more than a couple of times as well as numerous times on TV. Yes, he’s above average, but he has only tallied more than 130 IP for a season one time in the four years he has been part of a rotation (one in KC, three in COL).

    For me, $10+ million annual contracts are for guys with track records that indicate roughly 200 innings of slightly better than league-average pitching. He has the latter part covered, but to me he’s nothing near a realistic bet for 200 innings.

    Part of the reason the Rockies fell off the pace down the stretch this past season was the bullpen being massively overworked due to most of the starters not carrying their load. DLR definitely contributed to that in a big way.

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