Between big league stops with the Brewers, Royals, and Rockies, lefty Jorge de la Rosa has managed to rack up more than five years of service time. It follows that he'll be eligible for free agency after this season, at age 29.
De La Rosa's overall work for the Rockies last year was solid – 4.38 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 4.0 BB/9. His control needs polish, but an under-30 southpaw averaging 93 mph and a strikeout per inning should be a hot commodity on the free agent market.
Will De La Rosa join a 2011 free agent market that's projected to include Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, and Brandon Webb? Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd had discussions this offseason with De La Rosa's agent Bobby Barrett, but O'Dowd told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post:
"We were just light years apart on where they saw him at this stage of his career and what our risk tolerance was. That's not something we think is out of our reach. It's just that we would be a lot more comfortable seeing it again."
Armstrong says the Rockies' offer was in the three-year, $11MM range. The offer seems pretty light, since the arbitration-eligible De La Rosa commanded half of that amount in 2010 alone. However, De La Rosa feels gratitiude for the opportunity the Rockies provided him, and he wants to return. As O'Dowd notes, a huge 2010 for De La Rosa is a double-edged sword in that it'll help the Rockies now but make retaining him "somewhat problematic."