A late lead blown by the bullpen. A familiar refrain to all Colorado Rockies fans this year. The bullpen has been overworked this season, but their performance has been dreadful regardless of innings pitched. With the bullpen seemingly set in stone this season, the Rockies will have to wait for the offseason to make any changes.
Before any potential changes, though, a look at just how bad the Rockies bullpen has been. They're easily in last place in MLB terms of relief ERA with a number well over five. They have the NL worst save percentage, inherited runners scored percentage, the lowest wins above average and most losses by the 'pen. In short, they've been really, really bad this year.
Now it seems that Bill Geivett or whatever combination of front office members decide on promotions and demotions have some favorites. It's the only thing to explain how Rex Brothers isn't in AAA Colorado Springs to hopefully find some of the control he demonstrated last year. High hopes for Brothers this year has turned into downright disappointment.
That being said, however, there are no suitable call-ups for the Sky Sox, a team with a worse record than the Rox. There are a couple of guys in AA Tulsa that could have made the jump like Kenny Roberts or Scott Oberg. They have ERAs of 2.50 and 2.63 respectively and K/BB ratios of 2.58 and 3.50 respectively. And both are in their mid-20's, so skipping a level wouldn't be that big a deal for the pair.
If the Rockies choose to look outside the organization to fix their 'pen this winter, they'll find the pickings to be quite slim. The only free agent relief pitcher of note that would consider Colorado a destination right off the bat would be Colorado native Jesse Crain. He'd be a good fit in the bullpen if he's healthy, but might be the only reliever to be gotten through the open market.
There is the option of adding a bullpen arm through a trade. It's looking more and more unlikely that a Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez trade will happen at the end of this year, so it may be a trade for Drew Stubbs or Brandon Barnes that will net the Rockies their reliever.
If the Rockies hope to even sniff at contention for a playoff spot next year, they'll need to fix the bullpen. It just isn't clear on how they can do it.
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