With no Major League offers on the table, former Detroit Tigers starting righthander Brad Penny headed to Japan to play for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks earlier this year. He was given a heck of a contract to do so, too. Four million dollars straight up plus several million more in possible performance bonus', the largest contract ever given to an American pitcher in Japan.
To put it lightly, it never worked out for him. Penny only made a single start for the Hawks and it was a stinker. He gave up seven hits and six runs while walking three. For his efforts, the Hawks have now released the 33 year old.
Very quickly and unsurprisingly, the Major League offers have started up for Penny, according to Buster Olney on twitter.
Brad Penny has offers to be a starter and offers to be a reliever from MLB teams. Will choose soon.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 8, 2012
You'll notice that he didn't name any names, which means that the Colorado Rockies might or might not be in contention for Penny. But do the Rockies need his services? The short answer is 'probably'. The long answer is 'very probably'.
It's not news that the Rockies have one of the worst rotations in baseball right now and are in dire need of a reboot. Sure, there has been bad luck involved but there has been plenty of straight up bad pitching by the starters. It's so bad that the Rockies have called to the farm and brought in Alex White and Christian Friedrich in order to change the landscape. Both very young pitchers, and both guys who have had little (White) to no (Friedrich) experience in the major leagues so far.
Jamie Moyer is a nice veteran presence -- lord knows, he's got enough age and experience to be two veterans -- but the impending youth movement could leave the team without much veteran experience in the starting rotation. And more important than the veteran experience, it's leaving the rotation without proven talent, guys who we know can put good games together.
Enter Brad Penny? He'll turn 34 this month and wouldn't need to do an incredible amount for the Rockies, just provide some stability. He's got the stuff to be at least pretty decent with a 119-99 record and 4.23 ERA over his 12 years of baseball. He's had fairly recent success as well, with low ERAs of 3.23 in 2010 for St. Louis and 2.59 in 2009 in his five starts with San Fransisco.
He's had injury problems in the past, but the risk would be worth the reward if Penny was even worth a couple of wins -- heck, a couple of 7-8 inning games to keep the bullpen rested -- for the Rockies over the next few months as they try and right the ship.
Maybe it's telling that right now, the Rockies would welcome someone in who could be 'at least pretty decent' with open arms.