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This under-the-radar hurler should be the focus of the Rockies' Front Office
This one should be obvious.
The Rockies' pitching staff is dead last in every category that matters. You're not going to win many games when your ERA is above five and opponents are hitting nearly .300 off of you.
Now, it would be just like the Rockies to hope that their minor league prospects turn out to be decent, but that has only happened with Ubaldo so it's not something to bank on.
They need to look at obtaining proven pitching in the free agency. And they should go after current Oakland Athletic Brandon McCarthy.
McCarthy currently holds a 6-3 record with a 2.54 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21. He's struck out 52 batters and walked just 19. And though he is currently on the DL, he hasn't lost a game since April 21st (last game pitched was June 19 against the Dodgers).
The A's are currently paying him only $4.25 million this year; he is relatively cheap.
Now, the Rockies won't be the only one to scout him and try to lure him to their team, but their interest in him better be very, very strong.
If O'Dowd is still around and doesn't limit himself in free agency, he should go all out on pitching. And because the likelihood that someone like Cole Hamels coming to Denver is very low, they should go for someone just as lethal and lesser known like McCarthy.
Of course, they're going to have to pay him more than the $4.25 million that he's making now. A number around $10 million a year wouldn't be too bad for snagging him up. And before you think that's a ridiculous number, Jorge De La Rosa has an $11 million player option in his contract he'll very likely exercise.
If the Rockies were to pull off bringing McCarthy to Denver, he would overtake the role of the Rockies' ace. De La Rosa and Drew Pomeranz will most likely follow. It's very possible Jeff Francis might stay in Denver with his recent streak of success. The fifth spot, assuming that no one else is brought in through the free agency, would probably be someone like Christian Friedrich or Juan Nicasio with the edge given to Nicasio (Friedrich's numbers at Coors Field would need to improve).
All these pitchers have proven that they can pitch well on a consistent basis. A five-man rotation would make the Rockies pitching staff very formidable.
If the Rockies don't bring in McCarthy they should look at pitchers such as James Shields of Tampa Bay, Shaun Marcum of Milwaukee, or Edwin Jackson of Washington (who has pitched relatively well outside of a bad start against Colorado). Each of these pitchers will come at a reasonable price and won't break the bank as much as other free agents this offseason.
Regardless of who it is, a respectable arm needs to be picked up through the free agency in order to prove that the Rockies are serious about making pitching a priority at Coors Field.