Colorado Rockies: Sign Samardzija and/or Latos?


The Colorado Rockies enter the offseason with one thing in mind – improve their pitching staff for the future.

The Colorado Rockies possessed one of the worst starting rotations in the MLB; moreover, their bullpen was atrocious for most of the season. Outside of Jon Gray, the Rockies do not have a pitcher for the future ready to contribute, in 2016, at the Major League level; thus, the need to pursue free agency to fill the void. While free agency is only a mere stop-gap method for the Rockies’ woes, it provides time for the team to work out their farm system and groom pitching prospects for the MLB.

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Both Jeff Samardzija and Mat Latos provide buy-low options for the Colorado Rockies. Samardzija and Latos come off of their most disappointing professional seasons, and they will not get the type of contract they hoped for entering the 2015 season. With that in mind, the duo of pitchers may look for shorter contracts to try and prove their worth for another pay day down the line. Thus, the Rockies might be inclined to pursue these types of pitchers for the future, because they likely come at club-friendly prices. 

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While Mat Latos and Jeff Samardzija are not the only two players the Colorado Rockies should target, they present the highest ceiling out of the cheaper pitching free agents on the market. Sure, Ian Kennedy and J.A. Happ both make sense in Colorado, but they never profiled as aces like Samardzija or Latos. Thus, the latter duo provides more bang for the buck. Also, if the Rockies fall out of contention early, which is more likely than not, they could trade Samardzija or Latos for prospects to further build their farm system.

Both pitchers once headlined their respective pitching staffs: Samardzija with the Chicago Cubs and Latos with the Cincinnati Reds. While a member of the Cubs, Jeff Samardzija posted a 3.97 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 3.80 FIP. While those numbers do not scream ace material, the Cubs did trade Samardzija and Hammel to the Athletics for Addison Russell and Billy McKinney. Samardzija has the ability of being a front-line arm capable of eating innings. In 2014, Samardzija put together the best season of his career, posting a 2.99 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 3.20 FIP. 

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With Samardzija’s stock hitting an all-time low after his disappointing 2015 season, this offseason offers the chance to sign Samardzija for next to nothing with the chance he regains his form in 2016 and beyond. In addition to Samardzija, Mat Latos presents a very similar option. Mat Latos, also, experienced a very poor 2015 season, but he posted solid 2013 and 2014 seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. In 2014, Latos registered a 5-5 record, 3.25 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 3.65 FIP. Moreover, Latos posted even more impressive numbers in 2013; thus, he provides high-ceiling, high-floor potential for the Colorado Rockies.

If the Colorado Rockies decided to pursue one or both of the aforementioned pitchers, they would provide nice compliments to current Rockies pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Jon Gray. The Colorado Rockies desperately need starting pitching to turn into a contender, and with the National League West wide open next season, the Rockies could swoop in and take the division by surprise. Although signing Latos or Samardzija does not fix the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen issues, it provides a giant leap forward for the team, and it makes the task at hand easier to handle.

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The Colorado Rockies are in the midst of a rebuild, so by signing either Latos or Samardzija, this only helps their cause. Because, they could trade their services to continue to develop their farm system down the road. While the Rockies are not keen on actively pursuing free agents like this, they may need to change their game plan, because, so far, their current plan has not worked. If the Rockies are set in their ways, expect another long season ahead in 2016, but just know, Mat Latos and Jeff Samardzija provide an alternate route that the Rockies should not be scared to go down.