Tag: Aaron Cook

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies Keep Rolling With 9-2 Win Over Cincinnati Reds

The Rockies just won’t quit.

On Wednesday night they took their third straight from the Cincinnati Reds and their sixth straight overall with a convincing 9-2 win.

Aaron Cook looked good in his return to Coors Field before getting a line drive hit off of his heel. He went five innings and gave up just one run in a shaky first inning. After that inning, however, he looked like the vintage Aaron Cook.

As bad as Cook has been in 2010, the Rockies would be in a great position if he can somehow return to the form that put him in the 2008 All-Star game.

With Cook, the Rockies have Ubaldo Jimenez, who may not win the Cy Young but will get votes, and emerging rookie Jhoulys Chacin, who is showing that he not only has the stuff to be a good major leaguer, but the confidence to put him over the top.

Don’t forget Jorge De La Rosa and Jason Hammel, who both are far from back of the rotation guys.

The key to a run in September is for a team to know that they have a chance to win every single day regardless of who is on the mound. With the Rockies rotation, that is a distinct possibility.

While Colorado’s pitching staff can carry them defensively, the offense is starting to get into a groove.

In August the Rockies decided to give Eric Young Jr. a chance to prove that he can be an everyday player. What has resulted has been a combination of Young and Dexter Fowler at the top of the lineup. Those two speedsters have started to fill up the bases for Triple Crown threat Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.

While Gonzalez is pressing just a little bit with all of the national attention, Tulowitzki needs to step up and make sure that he takes good at-bats and gets hits to ensure that Gonzalez isn’t seeing four balls during every at-bat.

Tulowitzki did his part on Wednesday, clubbing two home runs deep to left field in consecutive at-bats. The first was a three-run shot with a 1-2 count. Tulo kept his hands back long enough on a breaking ball that he was able to lift it deep to left.

The Rockies are still 4.5 games behind the Padres in the National League West. However, the Giants lost on Wednesday and the Rockies only trail them by 2.5 games at this point.

The Giants and Padres start a four-game set at Petco Park on Thursday. That series gives the Rockies a serious opportunity to gain some ground in the race. If the Rockies are able to win three out of the next four games, there is a good chance they will gain a game on both teams in front of them.

The key for the Rockies is simply to continue finding ways to win. They know going into each game throughout the weekend that they will have an opportunity to gain a game on someone who is ahead of them in the standings. However, they will also be assured that a team ahead of them in the standings will also win.

If somehow the Rockies can cut the division lead from 4.5 to 2.5 by the time the Padres roll into Coors Field on Monday for a three-game series, the club will have a serious chance to do some damage and make winning the division a reality.

First and foremost, however, the Rockies must take care of business in their next four games.

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Colorado Rockies Cook Up a Victory

Can the 2010 season for the Colorado Rockies get any more strange?

With a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night, the Rockies moved closer in the standings to the Padres in the West than they are to the Phillies in the Wild Card. All of this coming a work week after being within three-and-a-half games of the Phillies.

Such is life for the Colorado Rockies in 2010.

Aaron Cook, pitching for the first time since a mystery turf toe injury happened to reappear when the team wanted Jhoulys Chacin back in the rotation, looked like the Aaron Cook that pitched himself into the All-Star game in 2008. For the first time all season long, Cook pitched with a sinker that was going exactly where he wanted it to go. He worked ahead in the count and pitched to the spots he was looking to hit.

In all, Cook pitched 6.1 strong innings. He gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out three and walked four, one of which was essentially intentional when he walked Adrian Gonzalez on five pitches when he had a base open and two outs.

The victory saw two phenomenal defensive plays in the sixth inning. Melvin Mora made a barehanded catch and throw on a Miguel Tejada chopper that went 50 feet off of home plate. Later, Jason Giambi made a great diving stop and dove back to first base to record the second out of the inning with the bases loaded. In hindsight, Giambi’s play may have won the game for the Rockies.

With five games left against the Padres, and three against the Giants at Coors Field, the Rockies now shift their focus back to what their original goal was going into the 2010 campaign, winning the National League West.

At six-and-a-half games back, they are most definitely a longshot.

However, with the Padres in a freefall, partially because they were due for a setback and partially because their young pitching may have hit a wall, and with the Giants still within reach, the Rockies potentially could make a run.

What will be required, however, if the Rockies do want to win the West, is a road resurgence.

The Rockies won with four runs on Friday. That was the most runs the Rockies have scored on the road since August 11, when Melvin Mora hit a grand slam to lift the Rockies over the Mets 6-4. A four-run offensive output being haled as a resurgence underscores the issues that Colorado has had away from Coors Field.

If the Rockies want to win, they must beat the teams in front of them when they play head to head. Sweeps in baseball are never to be expected, especially on the road, but this club must find a way to sweep the Padres and get within four-and-a-half games of the division lead if they have any chance of crawling back into the race.

The Rockies are going to need 90 wins to get into the playoffs. That means that they must win 20 more games in 28 more chances. That will not be easy, but if there is a team who cannot be written off in September it is the Colorado Rockies.

One thing is certain: The Rockies will know whether they are in the race or not by the end of the day on Sunday.

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Colorado Rockies Fall Try-Outs Continue with Pitchers

The Rockies have swept the Atlanta Braves and now once again find themselves on the edge of the playoff picture only four games behind in the Wild Card Race.

However, it’s not all good news as reliever Manuel Corpas went down with an injury. Corpas will have an MRI done today, and the Rockies are hoping he won’t have to have Tommy John surgery. Yeah, it’s a bad injury whenever TJ is thrown out there.

When the major league rosters expand at the first of September, the Rockies will be adding several pitching arms. With position players it’s more about a try-out, for many pitchers it’s about getting in bodies and giving a break to an over-worked and injury depleted bullpen.

Previously I looked at the position players the Rox may take a look at, now let’s take a look at the pitchers, those hurlers on the mound that are now the most important position in baseball. Many of these are names we are already familiar with, but the Rockies will be trying to determine where these all fit in the future plans.


Starting Pitching

Ubaldo Jimenez: Jimenez of course will be back in 2011 and the Rockies have him under contractual control for three more years. He may be the only starting pitcher that doesn’t have questions the Rockies will have to evaluate besides how can they afford to pay him.

Jason Hammel: Hammel stepped up this year, and put up some impressive numbers. His stuff is not that great, but he pitched much more aggressively and threw strikes. Hammel has always been looked at as a back of the rotation starter, but for much of the season Hammel was the second best pitcher in the Rockies rotation (which is actually very telling as to why the Rockies are where they are now). How Hammel performs this last month may affect how willing the Rockies are to go after a starting pitcher in Free Agency.

Jeff Francis: Once labeled Jeff “Franchise,” his future is in question. Jeff had a terrible shoulder injury that in 2009 that was pretty severe—about as bad as you can get with out having to have major reconstruction surgery. Still it was an injury many guys don’t come back from at all. Jeff has spent time this year on the Disabled List and is currently on the DL right now. When Francis has pitched this year he’s been surprisingly good. His ERA of 4.56 is below his career ERA of 4.72. Also his Hits/9 HR/9 and WHIP are all below his career averages.

The question around Jeff (the Rockies have an option on his contract for next year at $7 million) is how well can he perform in the future. $7 million for one year isn’t bad for a No. 2-type pitcher, which Francis once was and could be again, but it’s way out of line for an injury damaged pitcher which Francis has been in 2010.

I don’t expect Francis to pitch again this year, unless the Rockies find themselves in a tight playoff race. I do expect the Rockies to re-sign Francis this off-season and even give him an extension, but that extension should be closer to $5 million per year for two years with a third year as an option.

Aaron Cook: Cook is the biggest problem in the Rockies organization right now for pitchers. He’s got one more year on his contract where he’ll make $10.6 million dollars in 2011 including the buy-out for 2012. That will make him the highest paid Rockie next year, tied with Todd Helton. He’s been terrible this year in the majors. I expect the Rockies to recall Cook from his injury rehab assignment, and give him some starts. They need him to perform well, to raise his trade value from near nothing to something, so when they trade Cook this off season, they don’t end up eating too much of his contract.

Jhoulys Chacin: He’s a top prospect for the Rockies. He has four-plus pitches. He’s not an over powering fastball guy, so he has to locate, but his performance for the Rockies in 2010 screams that he’ll be in the Rockies rotation for 2011 and beyond. More outings like Sunday against the Diamondbacks where he went seven and 2/3 giving up only three hits and shutting out Arizona, and he’ll be a great No. 2 pitcher behind Jimenez. Chacin isn’t on any try-out, he’s here to stay.

Esmil Rogers: Rogers has one of the top fastballs in the National League; however, that does not make a pitcher. So far Rogers has been more of a thrower than a pitcher. At times his stuff looks more like he should be a reliever or even a closer, but the Rockies have liked him as a starter. Rogers should get plenty of starts as the Rockies look to see if he will be in their rotation for 2011 or if he’ll be a major trade chip this off-season. Next year Rogers is out of options so the Rockies have this month to decide his future role with the organization.


Relief Pitchers

Samuel Deduno: Deduno is one of those pitchers who has had several starts and stops as he’s progressed through the system. He’s 27 now, and has been a starter in Colorado Springs, but he might be a long guy out of the ‘pen. He’s running out of time, but his numbers have been very solid for the the humidor-less Sky Sox with a 2.93 ERA in six starts with 29 K’s to only 18 walks. He’s on the 40 man. Expect to see him for a cup of coffee as he is on the 40 man roster. Deduno might log several innings as the Rockies give him a good look. Scouting reports project Deduno to be better suited as a reliever in the majors.

Franklin Morales: Yeah, that’s a familiar name. First called up in 2007, Morales helped the Rockies make the playoffs. This year he’s been working mostly in the AAA after starting the season with the Rockies. The Rockies hope he can be a closer, or at least a power set up guy. His numbers have been good in the Springs with a .286 ERA, and he’s walked only 18 in 28 innings which isn’t great, but it’s an improvement. His WHIP is 1.34. Look for Morales to get some work in late in games and even in pressure situations due to his experience.

Since teams always need left-handed pitchers that can throw it 95 mph, Morales has value. Now, we’ll find out if that value can be with the Rox or if it’s going to be with another team.

Edgmer Escalona: Escalona has been a work horse for the Sky Sox this year, logging in 63.0 innings in 51 games. Double E was a candidate to make the Rockies bullpen after a terrific year in AA, but Escalona’s numbers haven’t been great in AAA this year. The question will be whether he can improve his numbers from AAA once he has a humidor helping him out. He won’t be used in any tight situations though. I wonder if he can help the ‘pen out in 2011 or if he just hit his ceiling in AAA. I’m sure the Rockies would like an answer to that question as well.

Chaz Roe: Once a top pitching prospect for the Rockies, he’s logged the most innings pitched this year for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He’s been hittable in AAA with a WHIP of 1.62 and an ERA of 5.81. It will be interesting to see if Roe or Deduno gets a start during their call up. Like Deduno, I expect Roe to be added to the roster as he’s on the 40 man, and also like Deduno I expect Roe to be mainly used in September as a long man out of the bullpen. Roe is not the prospect that he once was and Roe is now looking to be future organizational depth at the starting pitcher or a B level prospect trade throw-in.

We should also expect to see Taylor Buchholtz (who is on an extended rehab assignment currently in AAA) back with the Rockies. With some roster juggling to get guys on the 40 man roster, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rockies, who really need bullpen help, to add a few guys like Al Alburquerque, or even 2009 draft pick Rex Brothers, both currently in AA Tulsa.


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MLB Trade Rumors: The Colorado Rockies Red Tag Sale Addition

The Rockies are reeling.

Eight straight losses in July will do that to a team. While the Rockies aren’t officially out of anything right now, they will have to have another miracle turn around and play-off run like they had in 2007 to make the playoffs.

But this team isn’t 2007. The 2007 Rockies had better starting pitching and one of the best defenses in the history of major league baseball. Where this team features base-running errors, fielding errors and a high strike out rate for its hitters.

So the Rockies find themselves in a very different spot now before the trade deadline than they were a week ago. Now, the Rockies look to be sellers, hoping to unload some pieces and maybe bring back a few younger players that could help the Rockies in 2011.

The list of reports saying the Rockies suddenly became sellers is pretty lengthy. Steve Foster of Inside the Rockies follows up on Ken Rosenthal report of the Fox Sports on the Rockies as sellers. Armstrong and Renck of the Denver Post , take a more middle ground .

I think the Rockies are done for the season. I also think the Rockies SHOULD be sellers now at the trade deadline as well as this off season. I’m not saying this team needs to be blown up, but like a backyard pool in the spring time, a layer of debris needs to be removed to get to a more promising team mix.

A look at those now holding up “For Sale” signs on the Colorado Rockies:


Aaron Cook

Cook as been terrible this season, and just Wednesday night failing to get out of the third inning giving up five runs on six hits. The Rockies would love to move Cook. However, Cook has another year on his contract at $9 million and if traded would get an additional $1 million. Cook’s performance and contract is so bad, that the Rockies would have to include a prospect along with Cook, just for another team to consider taking Cook off the Rox hands. Cook would clear waivers and would be available post deadline trade.


Jeff Francis

Jeff is coming off a terrible shoulder injury. He has one more year on his contract that would pay him $7 million dollars next year unless the Rockies buy out his contract. $7 million isn’t bad for a starting pitcher, but a starting pitcher that has performed like Francis has over the last three years is a bit much. Francis would be a type B free agent. He might actually have some value on the trade market.


Jorge De La Rosa

Jorge has been hurt much of the year. Last year JDLR had his break out season, and was more than a small reason the Rockies made the playoffs. The Rockies would like to re-sign him and actually think that his injury might keep his salary down to levels the Rockies could afford. However, of all three of the Rockies starting pitchers available, JDLR has the best stuff, and is last two outings have both been improvements, so it looks like he’s coming back to form after his long injury layoff which means he would have the most value and get the biggest return on a trade.

The Rockies can’t trade all three of these starting pitchers as they will have to have someone start games the next two months, but they could move two of the three. Moving either Francis or Cook, and replacing either one with Jhoulys Chacin actually improves this team right now.


Joe  Beimel

A veteran lefty out of the ‘pen and a solid consistent pitcher all around that is on a one year contract. A lot of teams could use him. The Rockies could replace him for the rest of the season with Franklin Morales. Expect Beimel to be traded. He also comes with cool bath robes and the best walk-in music of all time.


Rafael Betancourt

Has another year left on his contract. His ERA is now at 4.50, he has improved over the last couple of months. He was hurt and very sick battling the flu earlier in the season. The fact that he’s a veteran arm in the pen and with another year on his contract makes him very desirable to teams that are contending.


Manuel Corpas

He has one more year to go on his contract which has two additional option years. Corpas has been erratic his last two years. He spent a brief moment as the Rockies “closer” this year with Street hurt. I’m not sure he has value, but he’s got a Red Tag Sticker.


Todd Helton

Yeah, there is no way with his physical situation and his contract anyone touches him with a 10-foot pole, but if some one was crazy enough, the Rockies would move the Todd-Father.


Clint Barmes

Barmes is due to make about $5 million in his final year of arbitration. That’s pretty high for a guy that is looking to be a utility player for the Rockies next season. There are replacements at second in the organization right now, ready to play at a major league level, including Jonathon Herrera who has batted over .300 this past two months, Chris Nelson who tearing up Triple-A and is former first round draft pick and Eric Young Jr. who is finishing up his rehab assignment.

It’s doubtful the Rockies would go another year with Barmes to arbitration which makes him very trade-able right now. However, back up utility infielders that fade in the second half of the season aren’t in high demand, but he would help several contenders out there.


Brad Hawpe

One of the main reasons this team has failed to live up to pre-season expectations is the disappearance of Brad Hawpe. He’s only had six homers on the season this year with a slash line of .259/.337/.439/.776. He has an option on his contract next year that the Rockies won’t pick up. If Hawpe is traded that option becomes mutual. However, it looks like he will be a Type-A free agent which would bring back to draft picks, which might be reason enough for the Rockies to hang to him till the end of the year as that might be more value than another team would give.

Hawpe’s name has come up with the Chicago White Sox, and the Detroit Tigers, as well as the San Diego Padres. The level of interest to me is a little surprising, but the more I hear, the more I expect Hawpe to be gone.


Ryan Spilborghs: Spilly’s name is out there. I’m not sure why. Spilly is a nice fourth outfielder type and a great locker room guy. He loves Denver, and whenever he’s on FSN’s Rockies All-Access he talks about Denver, like it’s his home. He has one more year on his contract that will pay him about $1 million dollars which is a bargain.

With Matt Miller in Triple-A leading all of the Rockies organization in hitting, Spilly might be forced out for Miller. Spilly could be of interest for teams needing outfield depth and a right handed bat.


Eric Young Jr

I’ve not seen or heard his name listed as a trade candidate, but it’s looking more and more like EY2 doesn’t have a future with the Rockies. Squeezed and passed in the organization at second by Herrera and Nelson, EY2 is very expendable. He’s got a good bat, and amazing speed which gives him value, but he’s average to below average glove at second, and terrible defensively in the outfield which means the Rox have no idea where to play him.


Melvin Mora

The Rockies signed Mora this year to a one year deal. He’s not really a utility guy, and he’s struggled moving around to the various positions. He’s one the Rockies would give away. He’s not helping the Rockies right now, and won’t be here next year, even if Tracy is playing him nearly every day.


Not So Bold Prediction

The Rockies want to clear out the chaff and some payroll off next years team. But really, do contending teams want chaff for their playoff runs? Look for the Rockies to move one of their starting pitchers I’m predicting Jeff Francis, and one or two of their bullpen guys, particularly Joe Beimel. The Rockies would like to move more, but that might have to wait until the off-season for the tree pruning to happen.

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Colorado Rockies at the MLB Trade Deadline: Part Three, Position Players

This is the third of three articles looking at the Rockies at the trade deadline. The first one was on the bullpen, the second one was starting pitching.   This article will look at position players and offense. 

With the trade deadline coming up, teams look to improve and fill in holes in their lineups to make a playoff run.  Where are the Rockies at right now, and what do they need?  

After that terrible road trip last week, it was pretty obvious to many the Rockies are certainly lacking on offense.  They particularly are lacking with timely hitting with runners in scoring position.  The Rockies really need a right-handed bat, and one that could bat in the middle of the line up would be nice.

However, a closer look at the numbers will show the Rockies are in the top four of the National League in home runs (105), top three in runs batted in (447), and third in the league in wOBA (.332).  However, they are 13th out of 16 in the league in doubles, and third in the league with strikeouts. Offensively, it’s been a mixed bag for the Rockies this season, which makes it hard to figure out exactly what their needs are.

According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post , owner Charlie Monfort said or implied that the Rockies could add payroll for the right situation.

First base: The Rockies have a major hole here.  First base is traditionally an offensive position, and the Rockies have not had much production here.  Todd Helton has been non-existent this season, and is now on the DL. 

Filling in for Helton has been even older Jason Giambi—who was supposed to be back-up and pinch-hitter—and now under-performing Brad Hawpe.  Also playing first this year for the Rockies is anyone that walks by manager Jim Tracy’s door when he happens to be filling out his lineup card that day.  

The Rockies certainly need an everyday first baseman.  The question is, if Helton doesn’t retire, will he be a starter next year? Or would he take a back-up, bench role?  Do the Rockies bring in a starter type, or a back-up type?

Of the names out there, I’ve heard the Rockies have had interest in free-agent-to-be Adam Dunn, as has every other team in the majors.  The asking price so far has scared everyone away from the potential free agent.

Second Base:
Jonathon Herrera has been a surprise, and with Tulowitzki coming back to play shortstop freeing up Clint Barmes, the Rockies have plenty of depth at second, including Eric Young Jr, and Chris Nelson in AAA.  For some reason, though, many Rockies fans see second as a position of need.

Third base:
This isn’t a screaming need or a hole, with Ian Stewart playing at third.  However, the Rockies are starting to get to the end of their patience with Stewart.  He hasn’t developed much this year, and his production isn’t where they want him to be.  He has several mechanical flaws in his swing, and has laughable pitch recognition.

Stewart’s performance level is the type that doesn’t help the team much, but it doesn’t kill the team if the other positions were performing better. Stewart has 14 home runs and a line of .258/.343/.451/.794, but he does have 84 Ks on the year.  The Rockies would like to have a right-handed bat that could play third and platoon with Stewart, a left-hander.

The Rockies seem to really be interested in guys who can play various positions at a near starter type level.  Jim Tracy loves to mix and match, and play his entire bench (in every position conceivable).  The more positions a player can play, the more computations of lineups Tracy gets to pull out of his hat.  With questions at first and third for the Rockies, getting a guy that can play both would be nice.

Along those lines we have the two names the Rockies have been connected to the most, in Ty Wigginton of the Baltimore Orioles and Jorge Cantu of the Florida Marlins.  

Wigginton can play first, second, third, and some outfield.  The right-handed hitting Wigginton will be 33 this fall, and has one more year on his current contract, paying him only $3.5 million.  He’s had 16 home runs so far this year, and a slash line of .249/.326/.443/.768.

Jorge Cantu is also a right-handed hitter who is “listed” as being able to play first, third, and second.  However, he’s a terrible fielder with a UZR of -4.8, though RZR/OOZ has him slightly better at .672/24.

Cantu is a glorified DH, carrying a glove. He has 10 home runs so far this season, to go with slash line of .260/.308/.410/.718. Cantu’s contract will be up at the end of the season and he’ll be a free agent, so he’d would be no more than a rental.

The Rockies seem to be in love with Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla.  Uggla is 31 years old, and has 19 home runs this year with a .277 batting average.  He’s also a right-handed batter, which is something the Rockies need in their lineup. 

However, Uggla doesn’t want to move to either first or third, something the Rockies envision as he ages.  Uggla has one more year of arbitration and will be eligible for free agency in 2012.  The Marlins are also in love with Uggla and have no real desire to move him.

A new name that has popped up this week is Ryan Theriot of the Chicago Cubs.  He’s a middle infielder with some speed, having stolen 85 bases over the last four years.  He still has a year of arbitration left where he should make about $4 million, which is less than Barmes, who should make $5 million in arbitration next year.  

Why the interest in another middle infielders? Beats me, Chris Nelson is tearing it up in AAA and was a first round draft pick.  

Not So Bold Prediction:
This last two weeks left the Rockies as possible sellers or worse, in the vague middle ground, where they don’t know if they are buyers OR sellers.  Watch the news on Todd Helton.  If his back keeps him from joining the team this week, or at least going on a rehab assignment, the Rockies maybe forced to get a player that can play firstbase on a regular basis just to finish the season.  

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Colorado Rockies at the MLB Trade Deadline: Part Two, Starting Pitching

This is the second of three articles looking at the Rockies at the trade deadline. The first one was on the bullpen, and the next will be position players/offense. This article will look at starting pitching.

The Rockies have been rumored to be looking at starting pitching at the trade deadline. Just to hear the Rockies as potential buyers is somewhat surprising.

Let’s look at the Rockies current rotation listed in order of ERA/2010 performance:

Ubaldo Jimenez : Has anyone not heard of Ubaldo’s amazing season? Ubaldo is the Rockies ace. He’s not going anywhere. However, he’s only had one quality start in his last six starts. I’ve heard some inside rumblings that Ubaldo is suffering from “tired arm” from his workload this season. Don’t be shocked if he needs to go on the DL for 15 days to rest.

Jason Hammel: Did you think at the beginning of the season Hammel would be a No. 2? Hammel has been the biggest surprise in the Rockies rotation. He has put up numbers of 7-6, 4.34 ERA, with a .277 Batting Average Against in 17 games started.

Hammel has had eight quality starts over his last 10 games, putting up a record of 5-3 with 4.34 ERA. His stuff is not that of a No. 2 pitcher, but he’s young and still on the upside, and could be a solid middle of the rotation player

Jeff Francis: Jeff is coming off a terrible shoulder injury that kept him out all of 2009. He’s been up and down this season—mostly down—but as of late, he’s been a little better, with two quality starts in this last road trip.

It was a terrible road trip, but you can’t blame the guy once known as “Jeff Franchise.” Jeff will be a free agent after this season. The Rockies do have an option year for next year for $7 million, but it’s doubtful they’ll pick that up.

Aaron Cook: Cook has been consistently inconsistent this season. A 4.78 ERA and a .282 BAA belies the fact that Cook has had only three quality starts in his last seven times to take the bump. Last week was a snapshot of Cooks year.

Against Cincinnati, he went seven innings, scattering six hits and giving up no runs. His next start on Friday and Cook couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, getting chased giving up five runs on nine hits and three walks.

Cook’s season would be acceptable if he were the No. 5 starter. But, Cook is one of the highest paid Rockies on the team, making $9 million this year, and has one more year on his contract when he will make $9.2 million in 2011 plus a $.5 million buyout. If traded, Cook’s salary goes up $1 million a year.

Jorge De La Rosa: If Hammel has been the biggest surprise, George of the Rose has been the biggest disappointment.

De La Rosa has only made seven starts this year while spending time on the DL with a torn tendon in his index finger of his pitching hand. Since coming back from injury JDLR has had three starts, and the first two were particularly offal, giving up seven runs in 4.1 innings in his first game off the DL, then following that up with 3.1 innings and another seven runs.

However, there was a glimmer of hope. In his latest outing, he had a quality start, going six innings and only giving up two runs and striking out eight against the Marlins. Jorge De La Rosa will also be a free agent after this season. I think the Rockies would like to re-sign him, but the injury throws his value on the open market into question.

Jhoulys Chacin: Chacin was called up to fill in for Jorge De La Rosa. As a starter he was solid, with the second best ERA as a starter for the team with 3.38. He was moved to the bullpen to make room for JDLR’s return, and Chacin was terrible in that role with a 6.32 ERA in the month of July.

That got him sent back to AAA, where he’ll go back to the rotation and prepare to be a rotation replacement in case of injuries. Chacin is a top pitching prospect, and should be a regular in the rotation in 2011, but he’s a rookie and rookie pitchers are inconsistent.

The rumors concerning the Rockies starting pitching are they want a quality starting pitcher. What I’ve heard from my sources at the Rockies and also out in the Internet rumor mill world, is the Rockies want a No. 2 type pitcher or better. Along those lines, the Rockies have been linked to a few of the biggest names for starting pitchers available in Dan Haren and Ted Lilly.

Dan Haren is strikeout pitcher, with at times overpowering stuff. He has 141 Ks on the year so far. But he has a 4.60 ERA and a .285 BAA. That’s not much of an improvement over Francis or Cook, and worse than Chacin. It’s nice to have had the Rockies associated with Haren though, before he was traded to the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles

Another name out there associated with the Rockies is Ted Lilly. Lilly is sinker-ball pitcher with the Cubs and for the most part sinker-ballers have good success in Coors Field. His record is only 3-8 this year, but that’s not a good stat anyways. His ERA is .388 with WHIP of 1.12. Lilly would be rental as he’s a free agent after the season.

Now, I had a source that told me the Rox were looking at Ben Sheets before his injury. Sheets had been getting better as the season has gone along, with seven quality starts in his last 10 starts going back to the end of May.

Sheets will be free agent after the season. However, he is now on the DL with an elbow injury, and is expected to miss a good chunk of time. Sheets has been a walking injury report over his career, and his latest setback doesn’t help his injury-prone reputation.

Are there pitchers out there who might be better than Cook or Francis? Yes. Would the Rockies be able to give up enough in prospects to get them. Again, yes. The Rockies have depth in a lot of positions to trade from in their minor league system.

Any move to upgrade over Cook or Francis will also, I assume, include Cook or Francis going back to the other team to free up a rotation spot. Cook’s salary and another year on his contract coupled with his performance leaves him un-tradeable. So we are really talking about upgrading Francis. And it’s Francis who just had the best week of pitching of all the starters.

Not So Bold Prediction : The Rockies won’t add a starter at the trade deadline. There are not many starting pitchers on the level the Rockies are wanting, and because of that their price in trade and contract will be so steep. I doubt if the Rockies will be able or willing to pay. The Rockies do have a major league level pitcher in Chacin in AAA in case of injury, so they do have depth.

However, expect the Rockies to be players in the offseason for a quality starting pitcher. If Helton retires and thus frees up salary, the Rockies could in for some top pitchers.

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Colorado Rockies 2010 Player Power Rankings

The Rockies have been disappointing this season. There. I said it.

Colorado has been average, mediocre, maybe even boring.

Some guys have been on fire from the start while others can’t seem to figure it out, ruining the party for everybody.

Read on to find out who’s been carrying his weight and who’s looked awful so far in 2010.


30. Jason Hammel (SP) – That 7.52 ERA isn’t going to cut it. Even for a fifth starter, Hammel has been nothing short of abysmal this season.

29. Clint Barmes (2B) – When your manager has to defend you in the media to justify keeping you in the every-day lineup, things aren’t going well. Barmes has been a black hole at the plate this season.

28. Esmil Rogers (SP)

27. Rafael Betancourt (RP) – After pitching lights-out at the end of last season, Betancourt has looked terrible in 2010. Add his signing to the long list of reasons why putting money into relief pitching is a bad idea.

26. Greg Smith (SP)

25. Dexter Fowler (CF) – Honestly, Fowler hasn’t done anything well this season. Do I need to be the first one to suggest that some time in Colorado Springs might do him some good?

24. Chris Iannetta (C) – I’m with everyone else on Iannetta. He looked bad in limited time this season, but he really didn’t get a long enough look to justify sending him to Triple-A. Either bring him back up or send him elsewhere for a couple of prospects. He’s too good a player to be sitting in Colorado Springs.

23. Melvin Mora (U)

22. Franklin Morales (CP) – I still have high hopes for Morales, but every time he seems to take a step forward, he ends up back where he was. Maybe this is as good as it gets for him. Maybe he’s going to be a mediocre middle reliever forever. Bummer.

21. Paul Phillips (C)

20. Eric Young Jr. (U) – Always an adventure in the outfield, EY Jr. looks like he needs some seasoning in the minors before he can become a productive major leaguer. Knowing where he’s come from, there’s no doubt he’ll keep fighting.

19. Ryan Spilborghs (OF)

18. Aaron Cook (SP)

17. Jason Giambi (1B) – Giambi has walked in a fourth of his plate appearances this year. It’s not the production fans expected, but it’s something.

16. Randy Flores (RP)

15. Matt Daley (RP)

14. Seth Smith (OF)

13. Jeff Francis (SP) – Two strong starts coming back from injury and fans are already talking about the good old days. I want so badly to believe he’ll be back to his old ways, I’m just not sure it’s going to happen.

12. Jorge De La Rosa (SP) – They hype for De La Rosa was as big as it was for anyone coming into the season, but the injury has derailed his hopes of padding the resume before hitting the open market in the offseason.

11. Matt Belisle

10. Todd Helton (1B) – At times this season, Helton has been hard to watch. At some point, we’re all going to have to admit that he’s nearing the end of the line. At least his on base percentage remains stellar.

9. Jhoulys Chacin (SP) – It’s been a really nice start for Chacin in the majors, probably better than expected. He has the talent to be a No. 2 starter in the majors and this may be the year he starts to show it.

8. Carlos Gonzalez (OF) – CarGo has been a productive middle of the order bat, but his .317 OBP ranks ahead of only Clint Barmes among regular starters. To become a real offensive force, he has to get on base more often.

7. Manuel Corpas (CP) – Corpas has filled in nicely as the team’s closer filling in for Franklin Morales, but fans should remember his struggles in 2008 and 2009. When Huston Street returns, this team will be much better.

6. Ian Stewart (3B) – Stewart is quietly having a very solid season for the Rockies. The strikeouts are a concern, but he seems to be filling out as a player. It’s nice to see.

5. Joe Beimel (RP) – Signed at the tail end of spring training, Beimel has been unbelievable this season. You can’t ask much more from a guy who holds a WHIP and an ERA under 1.00.

4. Brad Hawpe (OF) – Having Hawpe in the lineup changes the entire dynamic of the team. Coming into the season, I saw him as potential trade bait, but at this point I think he may be the key to making the playoffs for a second straight year.

3. Miguel Olivo (C) – As impressive as Olivo has been filling in for Iannetta, there is little evidence that he can keep it up for the entire year. Don’t be surprised if Olivo takes another face plant before the season is out. I don’t trust him yet.

2. Troy Tulowitzki (SS) – I hesitate putting Tulo this high because he really needs to hit for more power and his usually stellar defense has been sloppy at times this season. As usual, the team performs as Tulo does, and the team has been wallowing in mediocrity this year. He needs to produce more runs if the Rockies are headed for the playoffs.

1. Ubaldo Jimenez (SP) – Surprised to see him at the top of the list? Probably not… There’s really nothing you can say except Jimenez has done nothing but exceed fans’ lofty expectations coming into the season. He is one of the single most valuable commodities in baseball, and he looks to become Colorado’s most dominant starting pitcher ever.

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Colorado Rockies Looking Shaky Despite Ubaldo Jimenez’ Heroic Efforts

One thing is certain for this year’s Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez is the star of the team.


Jimenez was credited for one run on two hits in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers and it was one of his worst starts of the season. His ERA went up and he took the loss.


That’s right: Two hits, one earned run, one loss and an ERA still under 1.00.


If the playoffs started today, Jimenez would win the National League Cy Young Award.


The rest of the team? Not as impressive…


Entering the season, the Rockies were seen as a team that could compete for a pennant in the National League. While the Phillies added Roy Halladay and the Cardinals brought back Matt Holliday for a full season, the Rockies’ young nucleus was supposed to take another leap forward in 2010.


It hasn’t happened.


Troy Tulowitzki’s power has all but disappeared. Chris Iannetta played his way onto the Triple-A squad. Clint Barmes is struggling to get his on base percentage over .300. Todd Helton looks like a shadow of his former self. The list goes on.


The Rockies pitching staff, thought to be one of the deepest in the league, has been riddled with injuries. The only two starters that remain from spring training are Jimenez and veteran Aaron Cook, who has been one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball this year.


Here is a team that people thought would have legitimate contact and power hitters at every position on the diamond. Instead, the Rockies lineup has toiled in mediocrity.


Here is a team that didn’t seem to have a single hole on its pitching staff.


Instead, Colorado tosses out Esmil Rogers and Greg Smith two out of every five games and can’t find a reliable power arm to close out games.


You wonder how the team has stayed near the .500 mark this far into the season. And then you remember Ubaldo Jimenez.


No one player has meant more to his team this year that Jimenez, who owns six of the Rockies fifteen wins.


Just think, if this guy started every game for the Rockies, the team would be sitting at a crisp 27-4. We can only dream.


Chances are, Jimenez won’t stay on this pace all season. If he doesn’t, the rest of the team needs to step up. If they can’t, there are going to be some big changes in Denver come July 31 and Rockies fans can prepare for an October filled with San Francisco Giants baseball.

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Colorado Rockies’ Aaron Cook Tries To Get Cute, Loses To San Francisco Giants

Aaron Cook is a good pitcher.

Good is the only word to describe him. He will never be mistaken for great, but there are things that he does very well.

The thing that he does best is pound the strike zone with his sinking fastball. When he is winning, he throws that pitch close to 80 percent of the time. However, for whatever reason, Cook sometimes tries to be someone that he is not.

On Friday night, with the Rockies desperate for a win due to the fact that two rookies will be making their second Major League starts on Saturday and Sunday respectively, Cook tried to get cute and got beat by the Giants 5-2.

At the beginning of 2009, Cook talked about working on a curveball in the offseason and how he was eager to start throwing it in games. Most Rockies’ fans recall what Cook’s April looked like in ’09. In five starts he lasted barely more than five innings per outing and posted a 7.11 ERA. He gave up seven home runs and posted a horrendous 1.82 WHIP.

After April, the curveball found its way to the trash can, only to be recycled for the beginning of 2010.

Cook, it seems, is desperate to be a dominant pitcher. He wants to be a guy who throws four or five different pitches and can strike a guy out when he needs to.

The problem is, he does not have that kind of makeup.

He is a finesse pitcher who induces ground balls. Much like a batter knows that a knuckleball pitcher is going to throw a knuckleball, the same is true for Cook. Batters should know that they are about to see a sinker.

The problem is that when Cook starts throwing the curve ball, he tends to get behind in the count. When he is behind in the count, he does not have the same leverage that he normally does to hit the corners of the plate. That means that when he gets behind 2-0, he has no choice but to groove a fastball.

Any hitter in the Major Leagues is able to barrel up an 87 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate.

If the redhead does not groove a fastball, he ends up walking the hitter, something he did all too frequently on Friday night. In six innings, Cook walked five batters, three of which came around to score.

In the crucial fifth inning, in which the Giants put up three runs, Cook walked the leadoff batter on four pitches. What was the first pitch he threw in the inning? A curveball that missed the zone, forcing Cook to work from behind in the count.

For Cook, the answer is simple. Ditch the curve ball.

The righty, who holds the Rockies’ record for most total wins and most wins at Coors Field, needs to realize what got him those two spots in the record books. It had nothing to do with being a dominant, overpowering pitcher. What it did have to do with was him being a finesse pitcher who broke hitters’ bats as they tried to hit a sinking fastball that moved across the plate for six innings.

Aaron Cook needs to be Aaron Cook. The Rockies already have a dominating, overpowering pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez. He needs to quit trying to be something that he is not and simply pitch his game. That will allow him to pound the lower half of the strike zone and let his defense do their thing behind him.

Until Cook realizes that his curveball needs to go back into the trash can, he will continue to struggle, and therefore the Rockies will lose games that they need to be winning.

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