Discussion

Rockies, Dodgers add usable pieces at last minute

Updated: September 1, 2009, 4:45 PM ET
By Keith Law
The Rockies had a desperate need for an additional starting pitcher with Aaron Cook out with a sore shoulder, possibly for the season, with internal options like Josh Fogg (not good enough to start for a contender) and Franklin Morales (pitching in one-inning stints for several months now) less than ideal to take Cook's spot. Thus, acquiring Jose Contreras from the White Sox is a better option than anyone currently in the Rockies' organization, although Contreras isn't the savior.

Jose Contreras

Contreras

The best hope for Colorado is that Contreras benefits, as so many pitchers do, from moving from the American League to the Quadruple-A League, particularly the National League West, where three of the Rockies' four competitors have what might charitably be called mediocre offenses. Contreras still sits in the low 90s and might flash a 95, but his best approach is as a crafty righty who changes looks, speeds, and even arm angles to get hitters out; for example, he'll drop down to sweep a slider away from a right-handed hitter but will go back up to three-quarters to throw it at the back foot of a lefty. He also has a solid-average splitter that he should probably use more to keep hitters from sitting on the straight fastball, although there are a lot of NL hitters who can't touch 94 even when it's straight.

It's no guarantee, but with Contreras the Rockies at least get the possibility of a few strong outings down the stretch in a race that might be decided by just a game or two. In exchange for Contreras, the White Sox get fringy right-handed pitcher Brandon Hynick, but also get an open roster and rotation spot if they choose to call up their farm system's most pleasant surprise this year, right-hander Dan Hudson.


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