13:00: The Rockies announced Lamet’s claim, adding that right-hander Ashton Goudeau has been nominated for a task to create a roster space.
12:46 p.m.: The Rockies called for a right-hander Dinelson Lamet of waivers from the Brewers, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports (Twitter link). Lamet, which the brewers acquired together Taylor Rogers and perspectives Esteury Ruiz and Robert Gasser on Monday surprisingly Josh Hader business, was appointed for assignment only 48 hours after being acquired.
At the time of Lamet’s DFA, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns told reporters that Lamet “has a good arm and was included in the trade to help balance the deal” but that “subsequent transactions” made him more difficult in the a list . The Brewers added righties Matt Bush and Trevor Rosenthal in separate trades one day after acquiring Lamet.
However, the quick DFA makes it fair to wonder how prominently Lamet ever really factored into the plans. The 2020 Cy Young candidate has been plagued by injuries since late in that truncated season and has given up 14 runs in just 12 2/3 innings this season. His fastball, which averaged 97 mph in 2020, averaged 95.3 mph this season. Of particular note for the Padres, who are barring a second straight season paying the luxury tax, Lamet earns $4.775MM in 2022. Including him in that trade meant not only jettisoning a player who had seemingly been squeezed out of a roster, but also one who would have a non-zero impact on the team’s luxury ledger. Stearns’ use of the phrase “balancing the deal,” then, could be interpreted as a reference to talent or in more fiscal terms.
Regardless, the Rockies may now benefit from their division rival and the NL Central leaders feeling their rosters lack space for Lamet. As recently as 2020, the 6’3″, 228-pound Lamet looked like a cornerstone piece in San Diego. He made a full slate of 12 starts during that pandemic-shortened campaign, pitching to a sparkling 2.09 ERA with a 34.8% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate and 36.9% ground ball rate. That showing was good enough to land Lamet, then just turned 28 years old, a fourth-place finish in National League Cy Young voting.
However, Lamet’s 2020 season also ended with him going to the injured list with a biceps injury sustained in his final outing of the season. He would go on to miss the 2020 postseason, and his 2021 season was limited to just 47 innings due to a forearm problem that sent him to the injured list twice.
Those injuries, coupled with this year’s poor showing, have resulted in an abysmal 5.46 ERA over the past 59 1/3 major league starts for the now-30-year-old Lamet. In addition to the decreased fastball, he saw his strikeout rate drop from that 34.8% mark to 26.9%, while his walk rate increased from 7.5% to a dismal 11.4%. Lamet may have had some bad luck in 2021, posting a .344 batting average on balls in play despite allowing hard contact at well-below-league-average levels, but that wasn’t the case at all in 2022. Yep, his .412 BABIP. is through the roof, but so is the average exit velocity of his opponents (a blistering 93.1 mph) and his 50% hard hit rate.
For a pitching-needy team like the Rockies, though, there’s little harm in looking at a relatively cheap Lamet. They’ll owe them a pro rata share of his salary — about $1.6MM between now and the end of the season — but can also control him through arbitration this winter if he impresses down the stretch. Viewed through that lens, there would have been a case for any of the clubs higher on the waiver priority (eg Nationals, A’s, Tigers, Royals, Pirates) claiming Lamet, but despite the righty’s obvious talent, not every club is going to be bullish on his chances to bounce back (or on taking that extra bit of cash at this point in the season).
Goudeau, also 30, pitched 20 1/3 innings in this, his second stint with the Rockies, for whom he made his MLB debut back in 2020. He was tagged for a 7.08 ERA with a 17% strikeout rate and a 10.6% walk rate . rate, however, both well worse than the league average. His work in Triple-A Albuquerque was even rougher, evidenced by 43 earned runs allowed in just 37 innings of work (10.46 ERA).