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.