De La Rosa, 33, has been in the major leagues for 11 years and posted a 4.69 career ERA and 1.463 WHIP. His career walk rate is 4.2 per nine innings. He stands to make $11 million this year — go ahead and stop me if these numbers are getting too enticing.
After a more than shaky return from Tommy John surgery in 2012, De La Rosa burst back onto the scene with a vengeance in 2013 and had his best full season as a professional, going 16-6 with a 3.49 ERA.
However, De La Rosa’s 2013 effort was the only time he compiled an ERA under four in a full season any time in his career. This year, De La Rosa (10-6) has been back in-line with his career numbers, sporting a 4.56 ERA over 19 games.
Nothing has been reported about what the Orioles would potentially give up to acquire De La Rosa, but whatever it is, it’s too much. The Orioles have six starters who have a better track record of success than De La Rosa and/or have performed either comparably or better than him this season. Each of the Orioles’ starters, Chris Tillman (4.11), Ubaldo Jimenez (4.52), Bud Norris (3.96), Wei-Yin Chen (4.15), Miguel Gonzalez (4.04), and Kevin Gausman (3.51) has a better ERA than De La Rosa in 2014.
With De La Rosa in the fold, the Orioles would be forced to bump one of those guys to the bullpen, DL, or the minor leagues in Gausman’s case.
In addition to giving up a prospect in a potential trade and possibly picking up about half of De La Rosa’s $11 million salary, the Orioles could be replacing one of their starters with an inferior talent.
Most pundits agree that adding more pitching should be the Orioles’ goal before the trade deadline, but for me to jump on-board, that addition must be a significant improvement over the team’s current rotation. Adding yet another average starter will not drive this team into the postseason.
In 2014, the first-place Orioles are at a point where adding mediocre performance is no longer an upgrade. There’s no point in making a move for the stretch run if it doesn’t improve the team, and adding De La Rosa doesn’t appear to improve the team.