Braden Looper could fit Rockies’ needs

April 7, 2010 | 12:43 pm | 7  

What the Rockies need is a versatile, veteran pitcher.

They would like to find a jack-of-all-roles, who could be the long reliever when everything else is in place, but is capable of starting when needed and could even provide some late-inning help.

Consider that right now the long man in the bullpen is rookie Esmil Rogers, who was promoted last weekend out of necessity, not desire, because lefty Greg Smith was moved into the rotation when Jeff Francis went n the disabled list. Meanwhile, with closer Huston Street sidelined, lefty Franklin Morales is the closer, and there’s no clear-cut backup on days Morales might need rest or the Rockies face a particularly strong right-handed hitting lineup.

Enter Looper, who is still on the open market.

He has been a closer and a starter in the big leagues.

A former first-round pick of St. Louis, Looper appeared in at least 60 games each of his first eight full seasons in the big leagues. He was a starter the last four years, including going 14-7 with Milwaukee last season.

The fact Looper is unsigned in the light of a general pitching shortage in the big leagues underscores the fact that Looper might want to keep pitching, but he also wants to make sure he is comfortable with the situation. In other words, he is looking for the right opportunity, not necessarily the biggest payday.

7 Comments »

  • Dan | April 7, 2010 | 12:48 pm

    Rockies middle relief situation looks weak to me, although it is early yet. When down in Tucson, I wasnt impressed by what I saw, especially from Redding, who is now gone, and others including Rogers. Somebody has to step up and pitch well to keep us in the games. Just dont have a good feeling about the relief corps in general, and middle relief portion especially.

  • Curt in Florida | April 7, 2010 | 2:59 pm

    Looper could be a good pickup.
    On the other hand, Randy Flores does not impress me at all. His job is to nail down lefty hitters and he has done nothing of the sort. Granted the season is just three days old, but his is an important spot in the pen. Joe Biemel, the Rockies turn their lonely eyes to you.

  • Rich M | April 7, 2010 | 7:00 pm

    The Rox pitching staff obviously has three key players on the DL – Street, Francis and Buckholtz. The problem with that is then there are two pitchers that really should not be on the MLB active roster – Flores and Rogers. In addition most of the bullpen is pitching in various roles that they are not best suited for.

    The Brewers bullpen just flat out pitched the Rockies bullpen for the series – and their bullpen is not that great.

    So if the price is somewhat reasonable, then DanO needs to go get Looper. With Beimel and Looper the Rox should able to get by until the three on the DL can get back.

  • Redhawk | April 8, 2010 | 7:14 am

    I’m not sure Rogers needs replacing. Would it be better for him and the Rockies in the long term, to be starting in AAA rather than getting spot work from the Rockies bullpen? Well, maybe, but many pitchers started their careers out of the pen. He’s got good stuff, he just lacks experience…which he can only get at the major league level.

    Now…Flores, well, I’m not a fan, and never have been. Beimel should replace him.

    The big question mark for me right now in the pen is Corpas. That’s an arm that could be up graded. And Corpas has options, and so could go to AAA to figure somethings out.

  • Robb | April 8, 2010 | 10:15 am

    I didn’t think the bullpen was that bad, although was surprised at how Belisle got knocked around. IMO, the key to losing the last two games was that both Smith and Cook couldn’t control the damage, plus the hitters couldn’t hit with RISP. Cook was given a 4-1 lead and should have been able to hold onto it for 6 innings. Smith didn’t show me much, but again, it was his first start. I would not be surprised to see Beimel called up this weekend and Flores sent down.

  • Julian | April 8, 2010 | 4:29 pm

    Robb talks about Flores getting sent down. Is there an option as to Flores?

  • Redhawk | April 8, 2010 | 10:14 pm

    Julian…No Flores is out of options. For him to be sent down, he would have to clear waivers.