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There was a time when the Colorado Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa was among the team’s most maddening pitchers. His raw ability was never in doubt, but when he’d get rattled by a hit or two, he’d break down, blowing the game and making most baseball fans wonder how long it would take for him to get a one-way ticket back to the minor leagues.
Then, last year it all seemed to come together for the 28-year-old, who hails from Monterrey, Mexico. He started off as his normal, erratic self, but something clicked, and he ended up going 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA in 2009. The Denver Post points out that he became the National League’s winningest pitcher after June 1, 2009.
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Now, De La Rosa (pictured) is being rewarded for his fantastic season, reaching a one-year, $5.6 million contract deal for 2010, nearly tripling what he earned in 2009. The Rockies also reached one-year deals with reliever Taylor Buchholz and second baseman Clint Barmes. Buchholz, who missed all of last year with an elbow injury and subsequent surgery, will make $1.055 million, the same salary he earned in 2009. Barmes more than doubled his salary to about $3.325 million, after posting a career-high 23 home runs and 76 RBIs in 2009.
One reliever who may not return is Jose Contreras, a strong pitcher acquired mid-2009 to help out in the bullpen. ESPN Chicago reports that Contreras will likely sign a deal with the Chicago Cubs or the St. Louis Cardinals, although he’s drawing interest from the Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, and Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as the Rockies.