In search of starting pitching, the Colorado Rockies have discussed trades for Tampa Bay Rays righty Jeff Niemann, Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano and others, according to The Denver Post's Troy Renck and ESPN's Buster Olney.
Both the 29-year-old Niemann and the 34-year-old Capuano own career ERAs in the low-4.00s. Seeing him as an affordable option, the Rockies contacted the Rays about Niemann, while the Dodgers reached out to Colorado about Capuano, who has been "available" since December, according to Renck.
Niemann, 29, owns a 4.08 career ERA. He went 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA in eight starts. The Rockies have liked him for years, dating to their acquisition of Tampa Bay’s Jason Hammel prior to the 2009 season.
Capuano has been available since the Dodgers signed free agents Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-jin. His salary of $6 million means any deal would involve the Rockies moving salary. The Rockies will listen on catcher Ramon Hernandez, who is due $3.2 million this season. Capuano, for now, is seen as unlikely given the interest he will draw and teams’ reluctance to trade in division.
Talks regarding Niemann and others have yet to advance, according to Olney.
Colorado's current rotation options include lefties Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis and Christian Freidrich, and righties Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin and Drew Pomeranz.
The team's 5.81 ERA was the worst in the major leagues last season, .40 points higher than the next-worst team's. Ex-manager Jim Tracy even experimented with a four-man rotation and 75-pitch limit for his starters mid-way through the season.