The Rockies announced that they have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with right-hander Dinelson Lamet, avoiding arbitration. The terms have not yet been revealed but MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected him for a salary of $4.8MM.
Lamet, 30, has been on a bit of a roller coaster in the past few years. In the shortened 2020 season, he seemingly broke out with an excellent campaign with the Padres. He made 12 starts and threw 69 innings, posting a 2.09 ERA along with a 34.8% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate and 36.9% ground ball rate.
Unfortunately, the next two years saw him fall from those incredible heights. A forearm issue sent him to the injured list twice in 2021, limiting him to just 47 innings on the year, which included a move to the bullpen. The Padres kept him as a reliever going into 2022, but Lamet didn’t take to the new role. He posted a 9.49 ERA over 12 1/3 innings before getting flipped to the Brewers as part of the Josh Hader trade.
Lamet never pitched for the Brewers, as they designated him for assignment just two days after acquiring him. David Stearns, who was Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations at the time, said that Lamet “was included in the trade to help balance out the deal” but that “as subsequent transactions played out, the roster fit became a little tougher.” It’s possible that the Brewers just took on Lamet to offset some salary for the Padres or that their subsequent acquisitions of Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Bush squeezed him out of their plans. Either way, the Rockies were the beneficiary as they claimed him off waivers.
Lamet had a much stronger second half after joining the Rockies. He got into 19 games for them and threw 20 innings, posting a 4.05 ERA in that time. His strikeout rate jumped to 33.3% after being at 25.8% with San Diego. He also dropped his walk rate from 14.5% to 11.5%.
The Rockies often struggle to attract pitchers to join their club, given the hitter-friendly nature of their home ballpark. By claiming Lamet off waivers, they’ve grabbed a guy who had a dominant 2020 season and, though he seemed lost for a while, finished 2022 on a strong note. If he can recapture his past form, he could be a valuable piece for the club.
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