Jul 12, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt (63) in the ninth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Rockies won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Reliever Rafael Betancourt will only return if he can pitch for the Colorado Rockies

“If I pitch again, it will be with the Rockies. I can’t see myself anywhere else at this point in my career.”

The quote above comes from 38-year-old relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt who, in the midst of rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, saw his team option for 2014 declined by the Colorado Rockies. Betancourt has entered the past two seasons as the closer for Colorado, but in 2013, he was only able to pitch 28.2 innings (32 appearances) due to elbow trouble, and it was widely speculated that he could land elsewhere.

For me, this type of quote from Betancourt basically means that he would rather retire than pitch elsewhere, but there is also no defined pressure on Colorado to lock him up to a contract. There has been reported interest from many other teams, but Betancourt saying this publicly basically takes away any created “competition” for his services, and places the Rockies firmly in the driver’s seat for negotiations.

At 38 years old, Betancourt is certainly past his prime, and guys who have to go under the knife at that age don’t always return. Still, he has been extremely effective for 4+ years in Colorado, and if he returns to 90% of his form, he’ll be a useful asset out of the bullpen for the still-rebuilding Rockies.

Tags: Colorado Rockies Rafael Betancourt

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