As expected, the Colorado Rockies offered Jorge De La Rosa arbitration, meaning that any team that ends up signing the left hander will have to give up their first round pick (or in the case of the Pirates, their second round pick). This isn’t a big surprise, as the Rockies wanted to bring De La Rosa back, and De La Rosa is sure to get more money on the open market than he would by accepting arbitration. There’s no way De La Rosa accepts arbitration, giving the Rockies compensation for his loss, and if he does accept, the Rockies get him at a value, making it a win-win situation.
The Pirates are far from a guarantee to sign De La Rosa, even though they are reportedly one of the most aggressive teams going after him. Even that isn’t a guarantee. Ken Rosenthal had something interesting today about the Pirates and the free agent market:
Suggestions that the Pirates are pursuing major free agents such as outfielder Jayson Werth appear greatly off-base. The Pirates fully expect that Werth and other such players will exceed their thresholds in both years and dollars, making any attempt to sign them an exercise in futility.
The quote is kind of ironic because it’s the first time I’ve seen the Pirates and Jayson Werth mentioned in the same sentence. It’s the “other such players” that is of interest here. Obviously Adrain Beltre would fall in to that category, but would De La Rosa also fall in the same category? He’s definitely a major free agent, considered the second best starter on the market behind Cliff Lee.
I’ve never really bought that the Pirates will be players for guys like Beltre, and a lot of the names that have been mentioned are of the “we’ll see if they’re still around in late-January” variety. However, all of the talk about De La Rosa being their top target, and the Pirates aggressively bidding on him, plus the comments about them bidding big in the free agent market, kind of make him seem like a realistic option, assuming they could win the bidding. So which is right? All of the rumors we’ve been hearing about the Pirates going after De La Rosa, or Rosenthal’s comments that the Pirates pursuing major free agents is off-base?