The Rockies have agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander José Ureña, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com (Twitter link). He’ll head to the team’s Arizona complex before embarking on an affiliated assignment.
Ureña elected free agency earlier this week after being outrighted by the Brewers. The 30-year-old broke camp with Milwaukee and spent a month on the active roster, appearing in four games out of the bullpen. Ureña tossed 7 2/3 innings of five-run ball, striking out three batters and issuing five walks. The Brew Crew then designated him for assignment on the deadline to trim active rosters from 28 to 26 players; Ureña has enough service time that he couldn’t be optioned to the minors without his consent.
That brief run in Milwaukee marked the eighth consecutive season in which the Dominican Republic native has appeared in the majors. He spent the first six years of his MLB career in Miami, primarily working as a starting pitcher. Ureña’s tenure with the Marlins was up-and-down, but he posted consecutive seasons with an ERA below 4.00 while soaking up a rotation workload from 2017-18. He’s consistently run below-average strikeout and swinging strike numbers, but he typically posts capable ground-ball marks.
Ureña caught on with the Tigers last season but put up a 5.81 ERA in 100 2/3 innings. He managed a personal-best 52% grounder rate last year, though, which is no doubt of interest to the Colorado front office. While his early results with the Brewers weren’t good, he also averaged north of 96 MPH on his fastball in abbreviated stints.
The Rockies have started the year 16-15, although that respectable showing still places them at the bottom of a loaded NL West. Colorado starters have the league’s third-lowest strikeout rate (17.8%), but they’ve been among the five best in terms of generating grounders (47.7%). Ureña fits a similar profile and could be a rotation or long relief depth option.