Did The Colorado Rockies Do Enough To Bolster Their Bullpen For The 2014 Season?
The Colorado Rockies bullpen is coming off of a dreadful season last year, ranked 28th in Major League Baseball posting an ERA of 4.23. That ERA would rank last among National League teams and third-worst among Major League teams ahead of the Seattle Mariners (29th) and Houston Astros (30th). We all know the Rockies have one of the best lineups in baseball, but they will only go as far as their pitching takes them. Did the Colorado Rockies do enough to bolster their bullpen for the 2014 season?
First off, they would sign veteran relieve LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year, $2.5-million dollar deal to assume the closing role to basically buy time for Rex Brothers who will eventually be the closer. Hawkins is 41-years-old and is set to turn 42 in June, but still has some life left in his fastball. The reliever would go 3-2 for the New York Mets last season, posting an ERA of 2.93 and a WAR of 0.4. Hawkins will be the closer for some games, but don’t expect him to be the every day closer.
On Nov. 16th during the offseason, Colorado had a decision between who to bring in between Sean Marshall and Boone Logan. The Rockies went with the former Yankee Boone Logan who has been a workhorse the past couple of seasons. They would sign the southpaw to an eye-popping 3-year deal worth $16.5-million dollars. Some may say Logan is overpaid for his role with the Rockies but Colorado needed a solid lefty reliever and desperately. Last season with the New York Yankees, Logan posted a record of 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 50 batters in 39.0 innings pitched.
Logan’s arm-slot is deceiving to hitters which could be attributed to his 304 strikeouts in 303.2 career innings pitched. He will likely be used in the late-inning relief role to match-up with lefties in situational at-bats. The signing of Logan shipped lefty-specialist Josh Outman out of Colorado to the Cleveland Indians in return for outfielder Drew Stubbs.
Two days after the signing of Boone Logan, Colorado would make a trade sending utility infielder Jonathan Herrera to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Former Rockie Franklin Morales and right-handed pitcher Chris Martin. Morales was a member of the Rockies 2007 World Series team that eventually got swept by the Red Sox. Morales was a starter in the rotation, posting a record of 3-2 and an ERA of 4.50. Last season with the Red Sox he would start some games and would relieve as he also dealt with injury, appearing in 20 games. He would finish the season with a 2-2 record and an ERA of 4.62 to go along with 21 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched.
The Colorado Rockies are still unsure with what role Morales will take on with the club. He will get some looks as a starting pitcher in Spring Training but personally I’d rather see him in the bullpen. The Rockies could use another lefty in the pen alongside Brothers and Logan; just incase one of the players has the day-off due to pitch count the previous day and especially for lefty-on-lefty match-ups.
The Rockies went after a reliever in Nick Masset that hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds. Masset has dealt with shoulder injuries the past couple of seasons and is poised to make a comeback with the Rockies. He was a solid reliever for the Reds, posting a 3-6 record back in 11′ with an ERA of 3.71. He owns a career record of 16-14 supporting an ERA of 3.78. He was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training, so it is unknown if he will make the club out of Spring Training unless he performs well. He does have an opt-out clause if he does not reach the big-league roster by June 30th. The Rockies also retained reliever Manny Corpas who has been the team for most of his career, he too will likely be an insurance policy in Triple-A.
Colorado does have some solid pieces in the bullpen including Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, Chad Bettis, and Adam Ottavino. Rockies management is hoping Wilton Lopez puts together a solid year after a disappointing 2013 season. All-in-all when you look at this bullpen the Rockies have assembled, it looks good enough on paper for them to contend in September, it just comes down to consistency and having the depth necessary in the minors to produce when injuries happen.