If there’s one thing I’m convinced will happen this offseason it’s that Jorge De La Rosa will be significantly overpaid.
There have already been reports of the Yankees and Nationals viewing him as their “Plan B” for Cliff Lee and now Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that De La Rosa–who pitched for new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle when they were together on the Rockies in 2008 and 2009– is Pittsburgh’s “top free agent target.”
I just don’t get it.
De La Rosa is certainly a solid enough pitcher, but it seems like teams are suddenly viewing him as a viable top-of-the-rotation starter and there’s been speculation that he could end up with a four- or even five-year deal. Which would be crazy for a 30-year-old pitcher with a 5.02 career ERA who has never posted an ERA below 4.20 or thrown 190 innings in a season.
De La Rosa turned his career around after being traded to the Rockies in 2008 and his three-year run in Colorado with a 4.49 ERA was impressive while calling Coors Field home, but then again he had a 4.19 ERA on the road during that time. He has good stuff and racks up lots of strikeouts, but also walked 4.1 batters per nine innings for the Rockies, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and looks a whole lot more like a mid-rotation starter who’s likely to disappoint.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.