As the wild card race begins to heat up and the Rockies desperate to acquire bullpen help before the trading deadline, the team made a deal to shore up its pitching staff on Thursday.
First reported by MLB.com, the Rockies have traded for Cleveland right-hander Rafael Betancourt. In exchange, the Rockies sent the Indians Connor Graham, a single-A reliever who was pitching for The Modesto Nuts.
Betancourt, who was targeted by numerous other teams as a possible trade candidate, currently holds a 3.52 ERA on the season in just over 30 innings of work.
At 34 years old, Betancourt had pitched his entire career for the Indians, amassing a strikeout to walk ratio of nearly four.
He had his best season for Cleveland in 2007, when he carried an ERA of 1.47 and struck out 80 batters, walking only nine. He struggled in 2008, but looks to have righted the ship early this season.
Connor Graham is a 6-6 right-hander chosen in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. While he has pitched well so far this season for the Nuts, Graham was not considered one of the Rockies’ elite prospects.
A free agent at season’s end, Betancourt projects to be a class-B free agent with a chance to sneak into the class-A grouping.
It is unlikely at this point that the Rockies would offer him arbitration however, as he is seen more as a rental player for the rest of the playoff push.
With the trade, the Rockies solidify the team’s most troublesome unit and pick up one of the better arms available on the trading block.