Rox claim Lamet off waivers from Brewers

August 6th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Looking to bolster their pitching depth, the Rockies claimed right-hander -- who finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2020 -- off waivers from the Brewers on Friday morning.

The Padres sent Lamet to the Brewers at the Trade Deadline as part of the deal for closer Josh Hader. But Milwaukee wasn't done dealing, acquiring righty relievers Matt Bush and Trevor Rosenthal, so it judged Lamet expendable and designated him for assignment on Thursday.

Multiple Rockies officials said privately on Friday that the club immediately began checking in on the situation, but declined to speak publicly.

This is the second such move by Colorado this season that added a veteran to its pitching staff. The Rockies signed righty José Ureña in May under similar circumstances as Lamet: The Brewers, set in their rotation, did not have room in their bullpen.

However, unlike Ureña -- who has made six starts since joining Colorado -- Lamet will be heading to the bullpen when he joins the Rockies in Arizona on Saturday.

“He’s healthy now, we have good scouting reports on him, our scouts like him, we did our homework,” manager Bud Black said. “We’re hoping here for the next seven weeks or so he can provide a veteran arm with good stuff. ... He’ll be in our bullpen. What role he fills will be determined by his performance. We’ll probably start him out a little slow and then see where it goes.”

Black didn’t rule out the possibility of Lamet being in the Rockies’ rotation plans in the future. But it seems unlikely he’ll be in the starting mix over the next two months.

“First things first, let’s put our eyes on him, let’s get him in our uniform, let’s talk to him, let’s see where this goes as the season ends,” Black said. “When we talk [Saturday] and we get to know him, about what his aspirations are, whether he sees himself as a starter again. Guys always feel like they’re a starter -- until they’re not. So we’ll see where it goes.”

The Rockies have liked Lamet, 30, since he was a teenage amateur in the Dominican Republic. Lamet was tough on the Rockies, and everyone else, when he posted a 2.09 ERA in 12 starts in the shortened 2020 season with the Padres.

However, soreness in the elbow area limited him to 22 games (nine starts) in 2021, when he went 2-4 with a 4.40 ERA. Although the specter of Tommy John surgery arose as he was going through those issues, rehab was the chosen course.

This season, Lamet made 13 appearances for the Padres, all in relief, and posted a 9.49 ERA. But Lamet recorded a 1.93 ERA in 17 Triple-A appearances this season, and those who watched him closely said his slider -- which has been his best pitch and at times compares with the best in baseball -- showed signs of a rebound before he was sent to the Brewers.

The Rockies also have time to help Lamet back to past effectiveness. He is earning $4.775 million this season, and he's arbitration-eligible for the 2023 season.