The Rockies' search for starting pitching is so desperate it has turned into a $36 million game of blind man's bluff for general manager Dan O'Dowd.

Oh, Wandy.

Can a 32-year-old southpaw named Wandy Rodriguez become the staff ace for Colorado that Ubaldo Jimenez? ultimately failed to be?

Colorado made a huge bet Tuesday to find out, putting in a waiver claim on Rodriguez, whose career record with Houston is 71-73.

"He's a gritty little competitor," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, when asked for a thumbnail scouting report on Rodriguez.

Should Houston call O'Dowd's bluff and let Rodriguez go, the traditionally frugal Rockies would be stuck with $36 million owed on his contract through 2014. At that steep price, Rodriguez had better have more grit than all the sand in the Sahara.

"There's no reason to think he wouldn't be able to pitch well wherever he was. He does know how to pitch, there's no doubt about it. Wandy, he doesn't get ruffled," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Mills, however, quickly added a what-not-to-wear fashion suggestion for Rodriguez: The red of a Houston uniform looks far more flattering on his veteran pitcher than the purple pinstripes of Colorado.

What makes Rodriguez appealing to the Rockies even more than the ability to hit spots with his fastball or fool hitters with his curve is an appetite for devouring 200 innings per season.