After all this talk about the Rockies being committed to upgrading their starting rotation this offseason, they finally did it.
They signed Jon Garland to a major-league contract on Sunday. He was available after the Mariners released him on Saturday.
It’s easy for anyone to ask why Garland is available if he is so good.
He was available after the Mariners had no room for him in the rotation. They want couple of young starters such as Brandon Maurer and Blake Beaven in their back end of the rotation, so they can develop them this season.
Garland did well in spring training by going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts. He held the opposition to three runs on 10 hits with five walks and four strikeouts over 12 innings this spring.
After missing last year with shoulder surgery, he has recovered well based on his strong command this month. That’s good enough for the Rockies.
At this point, Garland and Jeff Francis are guys that the Rockies could depend on to get quality starts. The rest are questions marks when one looks at the fact Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Drew Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio have been inconsistent on the mound this spring training.
Garland will be starting next week for the Rockies after Pomeranz was sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season.
It was a move the Rockies had to make. Pomeranz has not earned the right to be in the rotation based on his spotty performances this season, and the Rockies had to find someone who can get the job done on the mound.
The Rockies will talk about Pomeranz being sent down to work on his changeup, but that’s all spin.
If Pomeranz was not having control problems, he would be in the starting rotation, not pitching at Colorado Springs.
Pomeranz and the Rockies should be disappointed that this has not worked out.
The Rockies wanted him to develop this year, but it’s clear he is not qualified to pitch in the majors when he continues to display control problems.
As for Pomeranz, he has to wonder if he has to go elsewhere to fulfill his potential. It hasn’t happened for him with the Rockies.
Good for the Rockies for wanting better from their starting rotation. This shouldn’t be about developing starters while the team continues to lose games.
Guys have to be on the rotation based on merit, not because they are learning on the job.
The Rockies can’t afford to have another season like last year with guys struggling on the mound. It makes the team unwatchable. It’s refreshing they decided to change course by going with a proven pitcher in Garland.
Here’s why there is so much to like about this signing:
Garland pitched in the NL West in recent years as a member of the Dodgers and Padres.
He averages 12 wins a year.
He gives the Rockies innings by pitching 200 or more innings a year.
He is a sinkerball pitcher with a career 1.31 groundball-to-flyball rate, which will be useful when he pitches at Coors Field.
There are questions if Garland can be the same pitcher after shoulder surgery. Like most pitchers, there will be doubts whether or not he can pitch well at Coors Field.
That’s fair, but if a guy of Garland’s caliber is available, the Rockies would be fools to say no.
They need someone who can help them win games, and that’s the bottom line when it comes to this signing.
Credit Garland for wanting the challenge of pitching at Coors Field. Most guys shy away from it with the idea they can never succeed there. It’s surprising he wanted to pitch there.
It’s been an exhausting search for the Rockies front office to find a competent starter. There hasn’t been any starter that was a fit to their liking.
They were fortunate to find out Garland was available, and they were quick to sign him before other teams did.
Now, they have to hope he does not flame out for them like other starters did as Rockies.
God knows the Rockies need to form a rotation that provides stability. There have been too many changes in the rotation during the course of the season. That has to end sooner or later.
That’s one reason the Rockies signed Garland.
Whether it works or not, the Rockies should be commended for being proactive in fixing their rotation. It beats watching an unproven pitcher trying to figure it out. That gets old after awhile.
Pomeranz’s struggles were something the organization couldn’t handle anymore.
Maybe he figures it out eventually, but the Rockies don’t have time to wait.
They are in the business of winning games, and that’s what Garland’s signing was about.