Colorado is hoping to re-sign free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, but if his demands prove out of their price range Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies will look to trade for Rays right-hander James Shields.
Many teams would be smart to target Shields, because he pitched much better than his ERA suggests this season with secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) that show an overall performance closer to a 4.00 ERA than his actual 5.18 mark.
However, the Rockies may be one of the few teams that shouldn’t be in the mix for the 28-year-old starter. Shields’ biggest weakness is that he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher, posting one of the 10 highest fly-ball rates in the league during the past three seasons and leading the league in homers allowed this year. Moving from the AL to the NL might help cut down on the homers, but calling Coors Field home for half his starts would just be a bad idea.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.