Dereck Rodriguez always talked about how Coors Field held a special place in his heart, and not just because he made his debut there in 2018.
The former Giants pitcher loved pitching in Denver, so much so that he even complimented the grounds crew there, and on Monday he signed a contract that could have him in the big leagues with the Colorado Rockies next season. According to his agent, Gavin Kahn, Rodriguez signed a deal with the Giants' division rival that includes an invite to spring training next February.
Rodriguez was designated for assignment by the Giants in late August and spent the rest of the shortened season with the Detroit Tigers, although he didn't pitch for them in the big leagues. In the Rockies, he might find a good chance to get back to the big leagues.
Rodriguez, 28, came out of the bullpen at Coors Field on May 29, 2018 for his Giants debut, and he later made two starts at the notorious ballpark. In those three appearances, Rodriguez allowed three earned runs over 14 1/3 innings, with 16 strikeouts to 15 hits. He allowed just one homer at Coors Field as a Giant.
It's an extremely small sample size, but Rodriguez always maintained that he simply felt a sense of comfort when pitching in Denver.
"I like the way the mound feels and for me that's a big thing," he said in July of 2019 after allowing one run over five innings. "If you feel comfortable with the mound, it doesn't matter where you pitch."
The Rockies are constantly searching for starting pitching, and they're hoping for a bounce back season from a player who was a revelation for the Giants in 2018 but was never in the new regime's plans. Rodriguez made just two appearances for the Giants in 2020, allowing six runs in four relief innings.