Finally, the Rockies have put us out of our misery by moving Aaron Cook to the bullpen. It’s pretty much guaranteed that Cook is done in Colorado. The Rox have an $11 million team option on Cook and only a team with brainsick management would be willing to pick that one up. Cook had a nice run with the Rockies, but at this point, Colorado is much better off with Drew Pomeranz pitching and Cook sitting. The Rox need a major overhaul this offseason, especially at pitcher. That begins by getting rid of guys with limited ceilings, e.g. Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel. Of course, it won’t matter what they do this offseason if Jorge De La Rosa can’t return to form. Getting Juan Nicasio back would also be a nice bonus.
Cook will leave the Rockies as one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history. Granted, that’s not really saying much, but Cookie still deserves some recognition for what he accomplished here in Denver. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, which mostly has to do with the fact that he’s also the all-time leader in innings pitched. It’ll be a long time before another Rockies’ pitcher throws more innings than Aaron Cook. Right now, he’s at 1306.1 and the next closest Rockies’ pitcher is Jason Hammel with 511.2. That’s no small feat considering many think it’s impossible to rack up innings year after year in Coors Field. All of those innings did eventually take a toll on Cook, but he wouldn’t have been able to do it for that long if he wasn’t doing something right.
What Cook has always done right is get groundballs. He is consistently among the league leaders in groundball percentage. Since he came up to the bigs in 2002, he ranks sixth among starters in ground ball percentage. It’s a trait that has always served him well in Coors Field. Aside from 2008, he hasn’t been great, but he’s been solid and he has shown the Rockies that even in their tough park, a groundball pitcher can put makeup on a bunch of blemishes. The Rox will always have an eye out for groundball pitchers and that is in large part because of the success of Aaron Cook.
Obviously, Aaron began the year on the DL and that slowed his start, but his biggest problem this year has been his inability to throw strikes. In 2008, easily his best season as a Rockie, his BB/9 was a very respectable 2.04, one of the better rates in the league. When he doesn’t give guys free passes, he’s very effective. However, since that year that rate has increased dramatically. Over the last two seasons, he has basically walked 3.5 hitters per every nine innings. That isn’t going to cut it, especially for a guy with such a low strikeout rate.
Hopefully, Cook will find some rejuvenation with a fresh start. One potential landing spot might be the Cardinals. They are always in the market for a starter with a good sinker and maybe Dave Duncan could help Cookie work out his control issues. If he starts throwing strikes, he can still be a very effective pitcher. Unfortunately, the Rockies can no longer wait around on him to figure it out. I wish him all the best, but this team’s future doesn’t include him.