The Colorado Rockies' starting pitching has been exactly what many experts predicted before the season began—a weakness that the team will either sink or swim with.
There is plenty of promise with Juan Nicasio, Drew Pomeranz, and of course the best pitcher in the rotation, Jamie Moyer. But with a 4.68 team ERA—26th in all of baseball—the Rockies' pitching staff needs to lend more support to the offense.
A huge bright spot in this young season has been the bullpen's ability to come into games early, save the Rockies from embarrassment, keep runs off the scoreboard and give the team a fighting chance to make a comeback.
When looking at disappointments, none stand out more than a player that the Rockies have been hoping would turn into the ace this team has been missing. Jhoulys Chacin.
Sure, Chacin is still a young player, who at age 24 has already made 58 starts with the Rockies. But just how patient should the franchise be with him?
Prior to the major overhaul in the clubhouse this past offseason, many fans were saying the Rockies were being too patient with the homegrown talent on the roster. Poor performance sent players like Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta and Ubaldo Jimenez packing.
This seems to be the new model that Dan O'Dowd is using moving forward. So, would a player that is having the issues like Chacin be on the edge of being pushed out of Colorado?
If the message in the clubhouse is, "if you don't play how you are expected, then you are trade bait," it would seem Chacin is flirting with the possibility of being traded.
If the trade deadline comes around and Chacin is being shopped around the league, then the question would be, was he rushed to soon and should he get more time? One thing that would cause the organization to give Chacin more time would be that he is only costing the Rockies $482,000 this season.
Today, the idea of sending Chacin down to AAA was brought up by Troy Renck. At first glance, this does seem like a good idea. It's still early enough in the season that if Chacin goes down to AAA and still can't get his command under control, then the Rockies can look at the possibility to trade him by the end of July.
Chacin getting sent down to AAA could not only benefit his command, but could allow a spot for Alex White to make another run at the starting rotation.
Rockies fans are witnessing a similar situation that occurred last season with Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez had an unbelievable first half in 2010 that landed him in the All-Star game. But he could never duplicate the success. Jhoulys Chacin also had an amazing first half last season which had many fans arguing that he needed to be in the All-Star game. Chacin, like Jimenez, hasn't been able to channel the starts needed to anchor the rotation.
Will the Rockies end up trading another player that was thought of as a potential ace? Only time will tell, but it is still early enough for Chacin to become the dominant pitcher he was last June.