Jason Jennings had a nice Rockies career. He won the NL ROY in 2002 and posted a fine 3.78 ERA in 212 innings as their ace in 2006. 2007 was his last year before free agency, but he couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension with Dan O’Dowd. Naturally, the Rockies shopped him in the winter of 2006-07. Interest was extensive, with the Mets, D’Backs, Astros, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, and Twins getting involved. Ultimately the Rockies scored big by getting Willy Taveras, Jason Hirsh, and Taylor Buchholz for one year of Jennings.
The aggressive move didn’t work out for the Astros, as Jennings was never healthy in 2007. He did battle, however (Troy E. Renck called Jennings the toughest player he ever covered). Jennings finally got the surgery he needed, having a torn flexor tendon repaired. He expects to be ready for Spring Training, and will explore his options as a free agent. The ’07 injury was not entirely out of nowhere – he made a 90 inning jump from 2005 to 2006.
The Rockies are looking to add one starter, and they’ve got interest in bringing Jennings back. He says he won’t hold a grudge over the failed extension talks and trade. He will, however, explore the open market. A return to the Astros is a possibility. I’m thinking Mark Mulder’s deal might be the standard for guys like Jennings. Two years, $13MM guaranteed, but another $10MM or so based on games started. That’s just a guess though. Maybe Jennings or Freddy Garcia would prefer a simple one year, $8MM deal to re-establish value. Jennings would’ve been in line for a massive payday to the tune of five years and $65MM if he’d been healthy and effective in ’07.