Penny Looking for Work

August 27, 2009 | 10:25 am | 29  

Boston put Brad Penny on waivers. He clears waivers on Monday.

Penny has indicated an interest in signing with the Rockies, and his agent has been in touch with Rockies officials in light of the fact Aaron Cook is on the disabled list.

The Rockies, however, did not seem sold on adding Penny, who has a reputation for disrupting a clubhouse, and a reluctance to pitch deep into games.

San Francisco is reportedly making a strong push for the right-hander.

The Rockies do have a need for a fifth starter. Josh Fogg drew the assignment on Wednesday in place Cook, but failed to make it out of the fourth inning.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy had Penny when Tracy managed the Dodgers.

If a team signed Penny on Monday afternoon, following clearing waivers, he would only cost $85,000 in salary, the pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum.

To claim him on waivers, the Roickies would have to pick up the final month of his $5 million salary, slightly less than $900,000.

With the Rockies scheduled off on Monday, they would not need a fifth starter again until Saturday, Sept. 5.

Given Penny’s reputation, however, the Rockies seem more likely to decide to give Russ Ortiz, who joined Triple-A Colorado Springs last weekend, a start or even look at one of their prospects — such as Jhoulys Chacin, Brandon Hynick, Samuel Deduno or Esmil Rogers — if they opted against giving Fogg a second start.

There is a hope that Cook could return by mid-September. If the Rockies took advantage of off days to skip a fifth starter, they would need one for only three starts between now and Sept. 26.

They could keep the four other starts on a rotation of pitching every fifth day, and would then need a fifth start on Sept. 5 against Arizona and Sept. 10 against Cincinnati, both at Coors Field, and Sept. 15 at San Francisco.

29 Comments »

  • Al | August 27, 2009 | 10:32 am

    Penny seems to be a better answer than Ortiz. Ortiz has been hit hard everywhere he has played. Penny, although his Boston days weren’t all that great, has pitched well in the NL West and he has a common goal with the Rockies… Beating L.A.

  • robba | August 27, 2009 | 11:01 am

    Jim Tracy knows him, so I hope he will be given veto power over this idea. He sounds like clubhouse poison.

  • Karl | August 27, 2009 | 11:06 am

    At this point in the season, I would rather have arms with potential and one’s that are unknown by hitters than someone like Penny’s makeup in the rotation. He is just out for himself for a couple of weeks. Come on he was in a pennant race in Boston and struggled but didn’t want to get cut so he wanted to save face and get out before the deadline.

    I like Robb’s comment to Try Brandon H. in an earlier posting. Also try Ortiz for a spot start and then since it’s sept. can just have pitchers each go three innings.

  • Karl | August 27, 2009 | 11:12 am

    Personally would rather have Jason Jennings back over Penny right now, even with his struggles but he could be an arm in September and also a feel good story for the fans since he has been DFA’d by the Rangers today.

  • Ryan | August 27, 2009 | 11:44 am

    I have to say, I’d totally back a Penny signing. He’d be returning to the NL, to a division he knows. He’s a hell of a pitcher when he’s healthy. Russ Ortiz will make everybody pine for the days of Josh Fogg.

  • Brian H | August 27, 2009 | 12:48 pm

    According to Ken Rosenthal, Rich Harden has been claimed off of waivers. He stated that the Giants, Rockies, and Dodgers all have interest and it was confirmed that an NL team claimed him.

    Giants would have first priority given their record… but could it have been the Rockies that claimed him?

    If this were to be the case, then everything we have discussed about Ortiz and Penny would be completely changed.

    What do you know so far, Tracy?

    Story link:

  • Brian H | August 27, 2009 | 12:48 pm
  • Joseph | August 27, 2009 | 12:57 pm

    To me, the danger to the Rockies with the current situation is not so much Cooks spot, but what would happen if they lost another starter. If I counted right, the Rockies fifth starter will only be needed 4 more times this year. Don’t get me wrong, when one game might decide playoffs or staying home, four games is serious. But the reality is starting Cook, Penny or even a clone of Ubaldo is not guarantee that you would win all four or any of the four. So in that regard, I’m pretty much okay with handling this situation with any of the available options. But what if another starter goes down? It is that question that makes Penny look appealing. If he’ll play here, the Rockies can get him for $85k and Jim Tracy signs off I think the Rox have to go for it. I gotta believe that the Rockies clubhouse would be pretty resilient. Short of bringing in Penny, I suppose I’d vote for Hynick, Fogg, Birkins, Chacin, Ortiz. In that order.

    I am also trying to remember the crack that Penny made about Coors Field when he was with the Marlins…

  • Timo | August 27, 2009 | 1:21 pm

    Man I think this would be a pretty good signing. Penny has killed us in his starts with the Dodgers so it would be nice to see him return the favor.

  • Curt in Florida | August 27, 2009 | 1:58 pm

    Good point on injuries and the four starts, Joseph. I would be very cautious with Jason Jennings, a ‘feel-good’ story for some fans, but in reality he has all the earmarks of a guy with an unhealthy shoulder or arm or something. Record is not impressive at all. He’d only be a slight upgrade from Fogg. Penny might be ok, but now I am reading that Rich Harden has been put on waivers and claimed by someone. It might be. It could be…

  • Tracy Ringolsby | August 27, 2009 | 2:05 pm

    As far as feel good stories, don’t you find any irony in those who lobbied for a year to bring back Fogg because of what he brings to the team, and now, after a bad start against the Dodgers, they want him exorcised?

  • Townie | August 27, 2009 | 3:21 pm

    Very doubtful that Harden leaves Chicago unless they get a nice package of prospects. He has a lot of value to them as a Type FA.

  • krockies | August 27, 2009 | 6:51 pm

    Get off Josh Fogg! He hadn’t started in awhile. That would probably happen to anyone who came in from the pen.

  • Curt in Florida | August 27, 2009 | 7:05 pm

    Tracy, you are correct about Fogg. It’s why there are so many armchair GMs and so few actual GMs doing a good job (like O’Dowd, who himself has certainly felt the fickle fingers of fandom). When a crowd favorite has lost it, he has lost it. In the case of a pitcher, the proof is in the speed gun and the scoreboard.

  • Jim | August 27, 2009 | 7:05 pm

    Tracy, I take exception to your comment about “Manny being booed loudly because of his talent to beat you.” I would be booing just as loudly for a player struggling with Mendoza if he had the same *%$#@$$ character traits as Manny. What a discrace to the game he and others have brought.

  • Karl | August 27, 2009 | 8:13 pm

    I think Fogg should be given the next start and they make a move to let a AAA starter like Hynick come in and relieve him if need be. Gives Fogg another chance to work on things between starts and start against NYM instead of trying to solve the Dodgers lineup.

    As if the last 7 weren’t tough enough, need seperation now over next 13.

    Love that we are talking about that and all other threads of adding a pitcher here or a hitter there and not just hoping and wishing.

  • Dustin | August 27, 2009 | 9:39 pm

    I like Josh fogg. He’s professional and knows how to pitch in coots field. He struggled but that’s ok, everyone has their struggles. I say give him the next start. He’s a winner and he’s been a real pro this year especially considering his playing time. Dragon slayer ftw

  • Dustin | August 27, 2009 | 9:40 pm

    Coors field I mean. I’m posting from an iPhone and have fat fingers so you’ll have that from time to time :)

  • Robert | August 27, 2009 | 10:05 pm

    I hope the Rocks don’t bring Penny on board. Given his bad rep and the fact that he is NOT the same pitcher he was five years ago, I say go with someone like Hynick or Deduno, or give Chacin another shot. Even though it’s too late to complain about it now, and hindsight is 20/20, I wish the Rocks would have gone after John Smoltz. He’s the gem Boston let get away, not Penny.

  • Drew S. | August 27, 2009 | 10:08 pm

    I say no to Penny. I think Hynick deserves a shot and why risk the clubhouse disturbance this late in the season.

  • Agbayani | August 28, 2009 | 12:59 am

    Penny would be a fine acquisition. I don’t get what the Red Sox are doing. Already it looks like they may have jumped the gun on Smoltz. Penny is not the Rockie-killer Penny of old, but he did have a 4.40 FIP for the Sox this year. And (checking fangraphs) his average fastball was still at 94 — better than it’s been for several years. (Granted, he may have shown signs of wearing down in the last few starts; I didn’t see them. But he’ll probably freshen up a bit after a short layoff.) He doesn’t have the endurance to go beyond 80 pitches or so, but it will be September, and I fully expect the Rox to add 2-3 relievers to the roster. Bottom line: it’s not like acquiring Sabathia for the pennant run, but it’s a whole, whole lot better than watching Fogg or (heaven forbid) Russ Ortiz trot out there every 5th day.

    Get it done!

  • Agbayani | August 28, 2009 | 1:00 am

    Oh, and I gather that George Frazier is some kind of personal friend, plus Penny would be playing for a contract. So I’m not at all worried about the “clubhouse poison” thing.

  • Townie | August 28, 2009 | 4:08 am

    Amen, Agbayani. Amen.

    It’s obviously not going to happen, but the Rockies clubhouse should be strong enough to absorb a Brad Penny. He’s not Milton Bradley or Brandon Marshall. He’s a mild personality compared to those guys. And I personally don’t see how he could threaten team chemistry pitching 5-6 innings every 5th day.

    The Rockies will be kicking themselves if he goes to San Francisco and solidifies their 5th rotation spot. I think that’s where he’s headed.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | August 28, 2009 | 9:19 am

    It sounds like the team’s not going for Penny. I don’t think his “chemistry” issues would be a problem, but it seems the team disagrees. Supposedly he was well-liked in the Boston clubhouse. I don’t think his issues are that he’s a jerk, it’s that he’s seen as not being tough and dedicated enough to reach his potential. Not that that’s a good thing, but if you decide he’s good enough to help you short-term as-is, that sort of thing should be ok in the context of what’s already a tight team.

    Fogg isn’t great, but isn’t as bad as Wednesday. Maybe they can squeak by the next couple starts by having an extra pitcher on hand and a quicker hook. Have Fogg and someone else ready in a sort of tandem start, try to get 5-6 innings out of them.

  • Ryan | August 28, 2009 | 1:10 pm

    Completely agree with Agbayani on the Penny issue. The clubhouse poison issue doesn’t worry me very much. Even if it is true (and, honestly, I get really confused when things like that come up among fans. How the hell do we know what goes on in a clubhouse?) it’s only for a month, and I doubt a guy would come to a playoff-contending team and try to earn a contract by alienating his teammates to the point that they start losing games. (Again, if that even happens. I don’t really care how the guy is off the field if he brings it on the field, and I’d think most professional baseball players see it that way too. We all have coworkers we dislike. They don’t make us do a worse job.)

    As for Tracy’s point about Fogg, I really didn’t want the Rockies to bring him back when everyone was clamoring for it but, hey. It’s true that many were. It’s a problem for teams to become too attached to former players (Matt Herges belongs in this discussion too.) With a guy like Fogg or Jennings or Herges, I think you have to say “we appreciate your contribution, but so long.” What’s important is winning games now. This is why Chacin or another young pitcher ought to be given the starts.

    For that matter, why not Franklin Morales?

  • Brian H | August 28, 2009 | 1:44 pm

    Why not Franklin Morales?

    Simple… he does better in the bullpen role, significantly. The same argument can be made of Fogg right now, but… he’s also a power lefty. We have two left handers in the bullpen. I wouldn’t be comfortable with having just one in the pen. What if you need them on consecutive nights?

  • raysfan | August 28, 2009 | 2:29 pm

    Rich Harden was claimed off waivers. Looks like he is going to the Minnesota Twins

  • frank | August 29, 2009 | 4:57 pm

    The way we are hitting in streaks in troublesome So give me another veteran who has been in the trenches. I’ll take Penny, he knows the league and will be able to keep the Roxs in games. Our cupboard is bare in the minors, there is no one down there that can help this year or next. Solidify the last spot in the rotation, instead of trying ot piece meal it together. Now if Penny could hit.

  • Zach | August 30, 2009 | 2:00 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Brad Penny. Even though he has a reputation for his temper, he was one of the most feared pitchers in the NL West a couple of years ago. He beat the Rockies in just about every start he made against them. So I wouldn’t be worried at all if we signed him. If we did, the Rockies would have a fifth starter who could come in and give us a shot at winning.

    I think signing Brad Penny would be a better idea than letting Russ Ortiz go out there. No doubt. I’d rather see even Jhoulys Chacin or one of the younger AAA guys out there than Ortiz. Let Fogg stay in the pen, he’s been much more effective in the long-relief role. By letting him start, it’s expected of him to give six solid innings of work, and he didn’t get that done. Plus, it would be thousands of times better if we signed Penny than if the Giants did.