According to Jack Etkin of the Rocky Mountain News, the Rockies signed reliever Oscar Villarreal to a minor league deal today. The Rox will have Villarreal under contract for ’09, mostly paid for by the Astros. I hadn’t realized Villarreal signed with the Mariners after being designated by Houston. He opted out of that contract when the Ms didn’t bring him to the Majors by August 8th.
Villarreal’s strikeout and groundball rates slipped this year, leading to a 5.02 ERA in 37.2 innings. He’s been worked pretty hard at times in his career.