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Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2017

Starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, MLB Roster Moves confirmed.

Nick Piecoro of reported De La Rosa will make $2.25 million if he makes the major league roster, adding he’ll likely compete for a bullpen spot.

De La Rosa, 35, struggled in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies, going 8-9 with a 5.51 ERA—the highest mark he’s posted in a season where he’s thrown at least 100 innings since 2007—a 1.64 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 134 innings pitched and 24 starts.

He also allowed a career-high 23 home runs. It was a tough close to his career in Colorado, where he was the organization’s all-time leader in strikeouts and wins.

“This guy has been a bit of trailblazer, showing people that you can pitch at Coors Field, and doing it better than anybody else in franchise history,” manager Walt Weiss said in September, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “It says a lot about his competitiveness, his work ethic and his ability to execute a game plan. It’s really a storied career in a Rockies uniform.”

Nonetheless, 2016 was a rough campaign for De La Rosa, and he certainly didn’t hit free agency as one of the premier options on the market. But Arizona ultimately signed the veteran starter, adding depth to the back end of its rotation or perhaps signing him for a bullpen role, likely as a long reliever.

The Diamondbacks finished dead last in the majors in 2016 with a 5.09 team ERA. Zack Greinke was the only starter with a winning record and had the lowest ERA in the rotation at 4.37, but that was still the second-worst of his career. It’s clear they can use pitching help wherever they can find it. 

For De La Rosa, it’s the opportunity to prove last season was an aberration and that he still can contribute as a productive pitcher.

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