Rockies will have tough time signing Jorge De La Rosa

DENVER - APRIL 09: Starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa #29 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the San Diego Padres during MLB action on Opening Day at Coors Field on April 9, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. De La Rosa earned the win as the Rockies defeated the Padres 7-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa is a free agent and has more value than he has in the past after compiling a 34-24 over three seasons. The Rockies thought they may have an easy time signing him, but the way the market is shaping up, with De La Rosa being one of the top available pitchers, they may have a more difficult time. De La Rosa, 29, only appeared in 20 games this season but posted a 4.22 ERA, the lowest of his career.

The Rockies obviously want to keep him, but industry sources think he could lift himself out of the Rockies price range if the free agent pitching market blows up. Currently, the Rockies are hoping a three-year deal in the range of 7-8 million dollars annually will get it done. At this point, both sides are not too optimistic.

"I think he's in a great place," said Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca. "I told him, 'You know how people feel about you here.' That's how I left it with him. I don't know the future as far as that's concerned, but he's a young 30-year-old. We'd love to have him back. He's just reaching his prime."

The Rockies won't be handing out any "Mike Hampton-like" mega-contracts this offseason, so you can rule out Cliff Lee coming to Mile High. However, if De La Rosa walks, guys like Carl Pavano or Brandon Webb could emerge as possible replacements.

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