The Colorado Rockies, as per usual, find themselves in a unique situation that the other 29 teams in MLB do not have to consider while dealing with an offseason.

Simply put, they need good pitching but either can’t or shouldn’t pay for good pitching.

Quality starters and relievers with resumes of success cost a pretty penny which can be difficult for any lower or mid-market teams to begin with but of course once you include the Coors Field Factor, nobody risks more by spending money on arms than do the Rockies.

We have seen this play out over the course of their history, most famously with pitchers like Mike Hampton, Denny Neagle, and Jeremy Guthrie or more recently with relievers Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, and Wade Davis.

All of these players came to Colorado with consistent success and earned a fair contract. But none lived up to it. 

On the flip side, last year the Rox picked up Chad Kuhl on the cheap and while he didn’t exactly light the world on fire, he was at least an actual addition to the team and not a disaster who they were too invested in to let go.

Daniel Bard was added to the roster with a minor-league invite a couple years ago and hadn’t pitched in MLB competition in six years but has turned into one of the best relievers in the game and one of the Rockies most important players.

So while it can be tempting for fans, and maybe even the front office, to target pitching that gets everyone excited, history shows that it might be a better plan to continue to search for those diamonds in the rough and reclamation projects.

Arguably the greatest reclamation project in franchise history is all their second-best starting pitcher of all time; Jorge de la Rosa. And they need another one.

Forget about the Carlos Rodons of the world (sorry) and let’s take a look at a few better fits.

Pitchers like Mike Minor and Trevor Williams are interesting in that neither puts up huge numbers but both have been consistent innings eaters and manage to put up pretty decent WAR numbers because of it. 

That never sounds exciting but getting through innings (again especially at 20th and Blake) can be extremely valuable. Anyone who has watched this club for a long time has seen seasons slip away under the weight of a cavalcade of below-replacement level pitchers filing through a constantly disappointing cycle.

Joe Ross doesn’t have the same level of consistency but put up a very solid 4.17 ERA over 108 inning pitched last season. They could also continue with what they’ve started on Chad Kuhl.

Michael Lorenzen is a personal favorite and brings an intriguing athleticism and mindset that could prove beneficial in the unique environment, but he has also spent much of his career as a reliever and hasn’t thrown more than 100 innings in a season since 2015. His biggest issue is that he walks too many people. 

Remember, this is the type of player we are looking for. As counterintuitive as it seems, some guys do find their footing in Colorado, or just at a certain stage of their career, as Bard and de le Rosa did.

The trick is in identifying who is most likely to go through a similar transition.

If you want to pay a little more and feel a little better about the career numbers, you could look at guys like Taijuan Walker or Jameson Taillon but that should probably be about the ceiling of what you consider.

Of course, every year there is a long list of guys who aren’t even on the radar who would truly fit the definition of diamond in the rough. This is where they found Bard and also Greg Holland in 2017 who had a ton of red flags coming in but also managed to pitch to the peak of his incentive-laden contract.

History has shown us and the Rockies that when they make these kinds of creative, under-the-radar deals, they are often rewarded in a big way. And when they don’t work out, they don’t cost the team so much that it takes years to recover from.

As desperately as they need to improve the quality of their pitching, they also need to do so in smart ways that leave them flexible for the future.

Perhaps they cast a wide net and bring in several players not discussed here or maybe they go all in on one of these guys or someone else in their class. 

The only thing worse than signing a potentially disastrous high-end deal, though, would be to do nothing.