Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jorge De La Rosa is Pirates Top Target

Rob Biertempfel, of the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review posted on his twitter account that the Pirates number one target is LHP Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa, 29, is coming off a solid year that saw him post a 4.22 ERA in 20 games with the Rockies. He has had a very up and down career, and his career stats show it, but since coming over the Rockies in 2008 he is 34-24 with a 4.49 ERA, pitching in the hitter friendly Coors Field. Unlike most of the Pirates rotation he can certainly miss bats. His career SO/9 of 8.0 is better than all of Duke, Maholm, Ohlendorf, Morton, Burres, Karstens, McCutchen, and just barely McDonald.

He has fine stuff. His fastball tops at 96, which is above average for a LHP, and his changeup is just nasty. He isn't a huge fly ball guy, and actually came through with very good GB numbers (52.3%). That can be good or bad, depending on the team behind him. Remember this team routinely killed their ground ball pitchers in the field.

De La Rosa has played under coach Clint Hurdle in Colorado, and the hope is that maybe he could have some clout with De La Rosa to bring him in here.

Fact is De La Rosa, definitely not an ace, probably would become the best pitcher on the roster. He would also allow the Pirates to non-tender Duke if they want to.

All that said, I don't know if it's a great signing. De La Rosa will probably cost the Buccos between $10 - $12 million a season. That's just too much for a guy with a career ERA over 5, who walks a batter once every other inning (4.5 BB/9). Even in his best years he has had a pretty high WHIP.

Lastly, he is a Type A Free Agent, so in addition to a hefty salary the Pirates would also lose their second round draft pick.

I would definitely be open to Jorge De La Rosa, if you can get him for $10 million or less, any higher than that and he becomes a pretty big risk. This would be the biggest FA signing the Pirates have made under the new regime and would be something they would be judged heavily on either way.

So on one hand you have the risk, and on the other hand you have the fact that this team will need to take risks if they ever want to compete.

De La Rosa has the stuff, and talent to be a top flight pitcher. He needs to learn how to be consistent, and maybe control his pitches better.

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