The Rockies are close to re-signing Jorge De La Rosa, the Denver Post reports, for something like three years and $30 million. De La Rosa was apparently one of the Pirates' top targets this offseason, but he preferred to remain in Colorado. Giving him a three-year deal probably wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world, but it sounds like they would have had to pay more than the Rockies are now paying, and they still don't have the defense to support him.
Another issue is that because they go to older players, multi-year free agent contracts tend to provide the most value in the first year. De La Rosa wouldn't have made the difference between winning and losing for the Pirates in 2011. They're probably eventually going to have to occasionally sign a free agent or two to three-year deals, but I don't mind if they wait to do that until they're a bit closer to contending.
At least the Pirates only lost out on a starting pitcher. The Rockies apparently lost out on their minds. They're also on the verge of signing Troy Tulowitzki to a ridiculous seven-year, $130 million deal that doesn't even start until 2014. Tulowitzki is a great player and all, but most contracts this long turn out to be awful, and this one doesn't even kick in for several more years. The Todd Helton deal was bad enough. The Rockies already controlled Tulowitzki's rights through 2014 anyway; this deal takes him through 2020, at which point he'll be 36. That's insane, and I don't think there was any reason why the Rockies needed to make a commitment like this so soon. He's a very good and very popular player, but every player eventually declines.