The Colorado Rockies were battling the Arizona Diamondbacks in a spring training game at Talking Stick Sunday afternoon. One player not there however, was Jhoulys Chacin. The Rockies announced earlier on in the day that they’ve agreed to unconditionally release the veteran right-hander upon his request. This is shocking and unexpected news considering the native of Maracaibo, Venezuela turned just 27-years-old this past January.
Chacin, 27, has had his fair share of injuries in the past, most recently a lingering shoulder problem that he couldn’t quite turn the corner on. Prior to the season, Jhoulys signed a one-year deal to avoid arbitration worth roughly $5.5 million. His rough spring training and 2014 campaign presumably led to his release.
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In four appearances this spring, Chacin picked up where he left off last season. The righty gave up seven runs in 9.2 innings, surrendering four walks while striking out five. Chacin also allowed 16 hits over that span – a whopping .381 average for his opponents.
Last season was no different. Over 11 starts for the Rockies, Chacin collected just one victory, going 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA before being sidelined for the rest of the season. Jhoulys would then turn to rehab for the remainder of the season, opposed to having surgery for rotator cuff and labrum injuries.
Chacin caught the eyes of Rockies fans and management following the 2010 season. After 21 starts for Colorado, Jhoulys compiled a record of 9-11 with a respectable 3.28 ERA – impressive for someone who pitches a majority of their games at Coors Field. Chacin followed up his 2010 season with an impressive 2011 campaign to boot. He started 31 games for Colorado, notching an 11-14 record with an ERA of 3.62.
With the release of Chacin, the Rockies will save roughly $4.1 million from his current contract. The release also means Colorado will have to slide in another player into a rotation that was one of the worst in the bigs last season.
Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, Christian Bergman, and David Hale are some candidates to keep an eye on as the season inches closer. Butler and Gray are two of Colorado’s top prospects which fans can’t wait to see. Butler made his Major League debut for the Rockies last season but ended up hitting the disabled-list due to rotator cuff inflammation. Gray on the other hand pitched well in the Texas League (Double-A), finishing the 2014 season with a record of 10-5 and an ERA of 3.91.
Colorado will have a tough, yet interesting decision to make regarding their rotation come opening day. Will they go with the young guns (Butler, Gray), or go with the more experienced pitchers such as Bergman or Hale?