Blue Jays: After Arenado trade, time to call Rockies for pitching

General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Toronto Blue Jays
Kyle Freeland #42 of the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Kyle Freeland

If you’re interested in upside, Kyle Freeland is your guy. If you’re interested in downside, Kyle Freeland might also be your guy.

In his rookie season in 2017, Colorado threw Freeland into the fire. He started 28 games and compiled an impressive 11-11 record with an ERA in the low fours and 107 strikeouts.

More from Tip of the Tower

In 2018, Freeland looked like the ace that the Rockies have been searching for since their inception in 1993. He went 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA, taking the ball 33 times and striking out 173 en route to a Wild Card berth and a fourth-place finish in Cy Young voting.

Manager Bud Black tabbed Freeland to start the Rockies’ win-or-go-home playoff game, and the Denver native did not disappoint. He pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless ball, striking out six Chicago Cubs and walking one. The Rockies would lose in extra innings. They haven’t been back to the playoffs since.

Part of the reason why they haven’t returned to October is Freeland himself. After 2018, he, like the team, fell off a cliff. His durability persisted, as he started 22 games, but his ERA rose above six. In 2020, he tamped it down to a respectable 4.33 ERA, but saw his SO/9 fall to a career-low of 5.9.

Freeland presents the Blue Jays with a GameStop-esque opportunity. The Rockies likely wouldn’t be looking for a lot in return, so Toronto would have the chance to buy low on a 27-year-old who is just three years removed from the Cy Young ballot.

Or Toronto could just make it easy on themselves and sign James Paxton. Your call Atkins.