It’s still speculation at this point, but the Colorado Rockies may be looking to acquire Tampa Bay’s Jeff Niemann in an attempt to bolster an extremely sub-par rotation according to a report from Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Niemann would definitely be a welcome addition to the staff, but he would not arrive without injury concerns — the 6’9″ hurler managed only 38 innings last season after throwing just 135.1 the season before that.
The 29-year-old burst onto the scene in 2009 with a very solid rookie campaign that saw him go 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA in the brutal AL East, and although he’s never topped the 2.9 WAR (per FanGraphs) that he posted that season, his peripherals have continued to get better and better all the while.
A season ago, Niemann posted a career high 8.1 K/9 rate and generated a 51.4 percent ground ball rate, both of which may have more to do with a small sample size rather than improved pitching ability. That said, he’s in the prime of his career at age 29, and if fully healthy he has the potential to settle into a solid two or (more likely) three starter, even for a team with a good rotation. For a team like the Rockies, he’d be that much more valuable.