Tonight, in a baseball game, nay, a contest of juxtaposition, the 2014 Royals take on a 2006.5-2007 version of itself in the form of Jorge de la Rosa. If some of you remember who he is, nay, was, then I pity you. Your memory is incapable of blocking out bad things. Such is our plight.
Signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an amateur free agent in 1998, de la Rosa bounced between the Mexican league and MLB. Finally, in 2004, after being involved in trades for Curt Schilling and Richie Sexson on different occasions, de la Rosa stood on a major league mound for his debut. He was terrible and soon went to the disabled list.
In 2006, the Royals, surely foreshadowing the double acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt, traded Tony Graffanino for the second season in a row to net de la Rosa*.
*You know, the Royals should really listen to this woman about doing something twice.
Included in descriptions of de la Rosa were things like "quality" and "above-average left-handed arm" as well as having "three above-average and plus pitches with a lot of movement and a lot of electricity." Electricity, indeed. In his Royal debut, de la Rosa threw 6 full innings and nabbed 7 strikeouts. He, however, gave up 2 runs in the form of homers. Home runs continued to be an issue for him throughout his Royal tenure.
De la Rosa would go on to accumulate negative value for the rest of 2006. His ERA was 5.18, but his FIP was 6.37(!). His strikeout rate was middling, but he walked almost as many guys as he struck out. He was awful.
Rolling forward to 2007, de la Rosa was still really bad. His 5.82 ERA was still silly high, and his FIP didn't underscore anything better. De la Rosa's fWAR for the 2007 season placed him squarely between some guys named John Bale and Juan Oviedo, each of whom threw about 40 innings as compared to de la Rosa's 130 innings in 2007. Compared to the league as a whole in 2007*, de la Rosa accrued the same amount of value as Dontrelle Willis.
*Joe Blanton was 5th in pitcher fWAR in 2007. Wow.
His best outing as a Royal was likely on April 22nd, 2007. On that day, the Royals faced the Twins. De la Rosa lasted 8 innings and gave up one unearned run. A young Joe Mauer singled, and then John Buck allowed a passed ball for Mauer to advance to second. Current-teammate-then-opponent Michael Cuddyer doubled to plate Mauer. The Royals won that game on the strength of a GLOAD ASPLODE.
De la Rosa's worst outing as a Royal was, I don't know, throw a dart at an outing on his game log and you won't be far away. There's his final game as a Royal in which he gave up 3 runs and 3 walks in 2/3 of an inning as a reliever. There's his penultimate game as a Royal in which he gave up 4 runs and one homer in a 1 inning start. There's his second game as a Royal in which he gave up 6 runs, 5 earned, and 4 walks in 1.1 innings of a start.
Overall, de la Rosa threw 178.2 innings for the Royals and had a 5.64/5.57/5.07 ERA/FIP/xFIP. Bad. Double plus ungood.
The Royals traded de la Rosa in 2008 to the Rockies as the PTBNL in the trade that got the Royals Ramon Ramirez In a helpless void of trade transactions, the Royals ended up with Ramon Ramirez, and the Rockies ended up with Jorge de la Rosa. Thus ended a noteworthy tenure in Royals history. Included in descriptions of de la Rosa by the Rockies were things such as him being a "versatile lefthander with a good arm."
Since being in Colorado, the Rockies have turned him from a fly ball guy into a ground ball guy, and de la Rosa has had some success doing so; de la Rosa has had 3.5 fWAR and 3.0 fWAR seasons in a Rockies uniform. This season, he's got a 4.32/4.31/4.02 triple slash. The guy has been nails at home so far this year (55% GB% at home), so the Royals' past may come back to haunt them today. The Royals are always fighting against their past.