The Rockies are “expected” to call left-hander Kyle Freeland back up to the Majors to rejoin their rotation on Saturday, Kyle Newman of the Denver Post reports. Colorado optioned the southpaw to Triple-A last month after a prolonged cold spell.
That Freeland’s difficulties reached the point where an optional assignment was deemed necessary was a fairly stunning development. The 26-year-old finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and placed fourth in last season’s NL Cy Young race in what looked to be a breakout campaign. And while some might’ve anticipated a bit off regression, given Freeland’s average strikeout rate and good fortune on home runs clearing the fence, a downturn to the extent of this year’s 7.13 ERA and 2.43 HR/9 was utterly unforeseeable.
Freeland, though, is hardly the only Rockies starter who has taken a step back in 2019. Jon Gray and German Marquez have been solid, although even Marquez’s results pale in comparison to his 2018 output. Meanwhile each Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis and Peter Lambert have all turned in ERAs of 5.32 or worse in their starts this season. Those catastrophic results make the Rockies a logical candidate to pursue rotation help on the trade market over the course of the next three weeks — if they do indeed decide to buy in a push to land an NL Wild Card spot. Colorado is 14.5 games out of the division lead but a much more manageable two and a half games back in the Wild Card race.