Colorado Rockies Rumors


Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
  • The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
  • As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
  • The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster. 
  • John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
  • The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
  • Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
  • Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.



NL Notes: Corbin, Guerrero, Young, Francisco, Matsuzaka, Fowler

MLBTR's own Charlie Wilmoth has just released a new book. Titled "Dry Land," the volume traces the Pirates and their fans through the club's historic losing streak and recent renaissance. Be sure to check out this post for more details and how you can order a copy. On to the links:

  • In two expected moves out of the NL West, Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks underwent Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets, while the Dodgers optioned Alex Guerrero to Triple-A, as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets.
  • The Nationals have received trade interest from three or four clubs in starter Chris Young, who has an opt-out in his contract this coming Thursday, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The 33-year-old has had an impressive spring, but seems unlikely to crack the Nats' rotation. 
  • The Pirates have no interest in signing Juan Francisco if he clears waivers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. We learned earlier today that the team had chosen to go with Travis Ishikawa over Andrew Lambo as its left-handed bat at first.
  • For the Mets, giving Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K bonus is in large part a strategic effort to protect the club in the event that Jon Niese is unable to make his first start, explains ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. This way, the team can rely on both Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia if the need arises, or can simply pick between them for the fifth starter slot.
  • The Rockies are better off without center fielder Dexter Fowler because he "isn't tough enough," opines Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. (Fowler, of course was dealt to the Astros. As presented in my offseason review for the club, I have a different take on the subject of Fowler's departure from Colorado.) Though Kiszla initially credited Fowler with having "the determination to grind through pain" in mid-August of last year, he apparently adjusted his analysis after the 28-year-old missed twenty games late in the season with ongoing hand and wrist injuries. Manager Walt Weiss effectively pushed Fowler out of town, says Kiszla, because the latter "was not the kind of player Weiss needs on a team that must grind out victories in the National League West." Apparently referring obliquely to Fowler, Weiss emphasized the need for players "to compete and grind and play with grit," while assistant GM Bill Geivett explained that the manager "has got to feel comfortable in the weapons he has to attack the other team." 



West Notes: Rockies, Astros, Padres

The Rockies don't look like a top team this year, but their best-case scenario could get them to the playoffs, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. That might mean staying near .500 until the summer, adding a bit of talent at the trade deadline, and clearing the way for young pitchers Eddie Butler and Jon Gray to help propel the team into the postseason. That might not be likely for the Rockies, Renck suggests. But it's possible. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • The Astros' recent approach to pre-free-agency extensions (they've discussed them with Matt Dominguez and Robbie Grossman, who lack star upside, as well as Jason Castro and George Springer) is different than most teams', CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. "In the past these deals were limited to the best players in the game," GM Jeff Luhnow says. But that's not the Astros' philosophy. Their approach to extensions is typical of the Astros' outside-the-box view of how to build a team, Heyman suggests.
  • The Padres won't pursue starting pitching help from outside, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. They feel they have enough depth with the young starting pitching already in the organization. San Diego, one of many teams dealing with pitching injuries, recently lost Josh Johnson for the first several weeks of the season, and Joe Wieland is now out until the All-Star Break as well.



West Notes: Beane, Fowler, Blanton

Baseball personnel believe Billy Beane of the Athletics is the best GM in the game, the New York Post's Joel Sherman writes in a survey of scouts and executives.  "He continues to find ways to be ahead of trends," says one scout. Joe Maddon of the Rays and Mike Matheny of the Cardinals got the most votes for best manager, and the Angels' Mike Trout got the most votes for best player. Here are more notes from around the West divisions.

  • New Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler doesn't understand Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd offseason comments questioning his passion for the game, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. "I'm still trying to figure out where they're coming from," Fowler says. "‚ÄČ'Passion for the game' - I mean, you see me each and every day. This will never change. So I don't know where that was coming from." Fowler also tells Drellich he didn't know whether O'Dowd was even the Rockies' GM, or whether it was assistant GM Bill Geivett. (O'Dowd runs baseball operations, while Geivett runs big-league operations.) The Rockies traded Fowler to Houston in December.
  • Joe Blanton is bracing for an uncertain future with the Angels, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes. "Whatever happens, happens," says Blanton. "All I can do is just go pitch and try to make the adjustments in-game and keep working hard." Blanton has $7.5MM plus a $1MM buyout remaining on his contract, and does not have a spot in the Angels' rotation after a miserable 2013 season. The Angels could release him, or move him to the bullpen while they wait for their relief corps to get healthy.



Offseason In Review: Colorado Rockies

The Rockies made a series of moves this offseason, but seemingly lacked a cohesive strategy and may not be that much better this year than last.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings 
Extensions
  • None
Trades and Claims 
Notable Losses 
Needs Addressed
 
Coming off of two consecutive last-place finishes, the Rockies had the luxury of looking for upgrades at several areas, choosing those that offered the best fit and value. Both the rotation and pen looked like they could use some quality innings, but of course many viable strategies exist to add arms. And while Helton's retirement left an opening at first, internal options (such as shifting Michael Cuddyer or Wilin Rosario to first base duties) left ample flexibility. Though owner Dick Monfort downplayed the possibility of big spending, he did indicate that the team could bump payroll to the $95MM range to add the right pieces. 

To some extent, the Rockies did fill in some areas of need. Indeed, things got started in a sensible enough manner, as the club picked up the options of De La Rosa and Belisle (the latter representing a rarely exercised mutual option) while adding Hawkins on a modest contract to serve as closer. These moves shored up the back of the pen and seemingly set the team up to open the year with two southpaw options in the excellent Rex Brothers and solid Josh Outman (whose 4.33 ERA last year was not as impressive as his 3.25 FIP, 3.62 xFIP, 3.35 SIERA, and shutdown performance against same-handed batters).
 
Colorado seemingly turned its attention to the catching market at that market, reportedly making runs at both Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz. It was not terribly surprising that the team missed, with McCann signing for $85MM with the Yankees and Ruiz scoring $26MM from the Phillies, but the Rockies seemingly halted the bid to land a catcher after those two early signings.
 
The next step was somewhat difficult to explain. The Rockies sent out a young, relatively affordable, above-average center fielder in Fowler in exchange for nothing more than the former pitching prospect Lyles and reserve outfielder Barnes. Though Fowler has yet to sustain a break out over a full season, he has shown speed and some pop while getting on base at a solid clip, and has been worth somewhere around a two-and-a-half wins a year over his last three campaigns. While the team avoided Fowler's salary -- $7.35MM in 2014 plus a raise through arbitation in 2015 -- the return was underwhelming.
 
On the other hand, it could be that Fowler is a less attractive asset than one might expect, particularly given his fairly underwhelming defensive marks and backloaded contract. On the other side, Lyles has reportedly looked good this spring, though he is something of a lottery ticket and already has over two years of MLB service. Does he explain the deal? It certainly is possible that the Rockies targeted him as a good buy-low candidate. He does have a solid prospect pedigree, is still just 23, and may well have been rushed to the bigs in Houston. Moreover, advanced metrics like him better than his results (he has a career 4.25 SIERA and 4.23 xFIP, both more encouraging than the 5.35 ERA he has compiled in 377 MLB innings). And, importantly for Colorado, he has posted above-average groundball rates. With four years of control remaining, and reasonable arb earnings probably on the horizon, there is still time for the deal to work out. Even with that caveat, however, it is difficult to imagine that the club intended the rest of the offseason to be driven by a decision to open a hole in center to take a shot on Lyles.
 
Things got more confusing from there, as the Rockies immediately turned around and promised an aging Justin Morneau two years and $12.5MM to play first base. While someone had to play the position, the signing took up nearly all of the savings achieved by dealing Fowler without adding any likely production. Indeed, if anything, Morneau appears to be a downgrade: Fowler does a passable job at a premium defensive position, while Morneau is not only bound to first but has graded out poorly there in the last two seasons. Fowler is not only much younger and a better baserunner, but is actually a better hitter as well at this point in his career. Consider their respective stat lines over 2011-13: .276/.374/.439 (111 wRC+) with 40 home runs and 43 stolen bases for Fowler; .256/.319/.406 (98 wRC+) with 40 home runs and 1 stolen base for Morneau. To be fair, the team previously made a strong run at acquiring Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, bidding just $5MM less than the ultimate $68MM price tag, but the back-up plan seems to have lacked in creativity.
 
The ensuing trade for Anderson (pictured below) has obvious appeal, as the grounder-inducing lefty looks like a nice fit for Coors Field and was still relatively inexpensive at the tail end of an early-career extension. Of course, given his injury history, taking on the contract ($8MM this year and a $12MM option for next with a $1.5MM buyout, less the $2MM chipped in by the A's) carries some downside. And Colorado had to give up once and for all on its own once-prized prospect in Pomeranz. 
 
Surely, by this point, the Rockies had covered the Fowler savings. Nevertheless, Colorado decided to enter into one of the most eye-popping deals of the offseason, guaranteeing situational lefty Boone Logan a whopping $16.5MM over three years. That fell just shy of the top overall guarantees made to Joe Nathan and Brian Wilson, and easily was the most cash promised to a lefty specialist. Indeed, Logan has consistently been hit by right-handed batters. While he is better against lefties, Outman has been better.
 
Taking things somewhat full circle, the Rockies cleared the sudden left-handed logjam in their pen by shipping Outman to the Indians for center fielding option Drew Stubbs. Of course, Stubbs, who like Fowler comes with two seasons of control before reaching free agency, was significantly more expensive than Outman ($4.1MM versus $1.25MM). While he is probably a better defender than Fowler, Stubbs has struggled to get on base, been over three times more likely to strike out than to draw a walk, and shown an inability to hit righties. Barring a step forward, he could be headed for a non-tender next year; if not, his total cost will be within shouting distance of Fowler's.
 
Questions Remaining
 
Things did not really come full circle, perhaps, until more recently, when a report emerged that the Rockies "remain concerned with their leadoff spot and center field." The team is apparently unsatisfied with the three remaining up-the-middle options: Stubbs, Barnes, and Charlie Blackmon. (Of course, Colorado had already gone through the strange act of naming star Carlos Gonzalez as the new center fielder and then removing him from that post on the eve of Spring Training.) It is somewhat difficult to imagine a problem more clearly of a team's own making than this one. The club now faces a big question mark in center, and will save relatively little cash at the position for its troubles.
 
Worse, while it is true that Fowler did not grade out as a strong defender over his time in Colorado, the team lost an opportunity to pursue an alternative acquisition strategy and move a terrible defender to first base. Despite a stellar year at the plate, Cuddyer rated as the very worst position player in all of baseball last year. Likewise, while his bat delivers good averge and pop, Rosario is an abysmal pitch framer and scored the lowest defensive ratings of all qualified backstops last year. The entire shake out of the Fowler trade and Morneau signing could hover over the team's season.
 
Elsewhere, the Rockies should be able to let the second base battle between DJ LeMahieu and Josh Rutledge work itself out over the course of the year, though neither looks like a sure bet to be an average regular. The rest of the lineup appears set, and the amount of production will simply come down to questions of health (Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki), aging (Cuddyer, Morneau), and development (Rosario, Nolan Arenado). 
 
The club still faces some pitching questions too, of course, though generally they are of the wait-and-watch variety as well. Several injury or injury recovery scenarios bear watching, including those of Anderson and Jhouylis Chacin among starters. The watch is on for the arrival of top starting prospects Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler. And there seems to be almost an implicit expectation that Hawkins will ultimately be usurped as the closer by Brothers.
 
Deal of Note
 
The move to add Anderson could be a worthwhile risk for this ballclub. While Anderson's high established ceiling was intriguing to many clubs, his skill mix seems especially useful for the Rockies, who have clearly prioritized groundball-inducing pitching of late. Anderson has steadily driven his groundball rate up into the high-fifty-percent range, which is about where the top sinkerball starters max out over the course of a season. 
Anderson
 
Though the 26-year-old may never be the kind of guy you simply assume will give you 200 quality innings, due to his injury history, this looks to be a good time to add him. With two years of control, Colorado gets to capture some upside if he succeeds. If he falters, or his body fails him, the 2015 option is also an out for the team to avoid wasting cash. And if Anderson resumes his former trajectory, Colorado will have exclusive negotiating rights and a reasonably valuable trade chip.
 
On the other hand, perhaps too little attention has been paid to the non-monetary return that went to the A's. Though Anderson has drawn strong reviews for his work over the spring, so too has the once-hyped Pomeranz. The key piece in the deal that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians, Pomeranz has actually logged less than 400 professional innings (more than a third of which have come at the MLB level) since becoming the fifth overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He struck out ten batters per nine in 91 minor league innings last year. 
 
As Oakland GM Billy Beane put it: "He's only 25, and a lot of people still think very highly of his abilities, and we felt it was a good time to acquire him." Indeed, Pomeranz shows just one year and 50 days of MLB service on his odometer, meaning he'll play at league minimum until 2016 and remain under team control until 2019. At worst, Pomeranz's power from the left side has been much more effective against same-handed hitters, and he could add plenty of value from the pen. 
 
Conclusion
 
So, did the series of whack-a-mole moves result in a net benefit to the Rockies, by cost savings, production, or both? We'll have to watch to find out, but I suspect not. Even if Fowler warrants a big raise next year (which would mean a strong season), it is hard to imagine he'll cost much more than $17MM over two years, and we know Outman took down a $1.25MM salary for 2014. Compare that with the $33.1MM that Colorado has now guaranteed to Stubbs, Morneau, and Logan, along with the roll of the dice on Lyles. (I'm assuming the team adds Anderson under either scenario.)
 
It is eminently arguable that the Rockies would have fielded a better team and saved some cash had they simply gone after a player like Nate McLouth, David Murphy, or Chris Young -- or, for that matter, used an internal option like Corey Dickerson -- and shifted Cuddyer to first. Alternatively, the club could have made a somewhat more substantial move at catcher, moving Rosario. Admittedly that market had pretty significant demand, but the 28-year-old, flyball-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed for just $4.5MM more than the Rockies promised Logan over the same term. Even if the team felt determined to move on from Fowler and add a first baseman, it might have received a better return on investment from someone other than Morneau. Michael Morse and Corey Hart both landed one-year deals at similar annual rates, and .
 
If the division-rival Diamondbacks' multiple swaps left some observers questioning that front office's imperatives of finding power bats and arms, some of the Rockies' moves left a trail of confusion. It is one thing to fault a team for its strategy or value assessment, and quite another not to be able to tell just what the team is hoping to accomplish. 
 
We know that the club was willing to commit some serious cash to land McCann or Abreu, and those misses may have forced a mid-stream adaptation. But the results are hard to explain. If we credit the Rockies for taking a chance on spinning a solid player in Fowler for a post-hype, low-service-time arm in Lyles, then what do we make of the opposing move to deal Pomeranz to take on the short-term upside of Anderson? Perhaps those decisions were driven primarily by the team's scouting assessments, rather than broad roster structuring purposes; in that case, the front office will be judged by the outcome.
 
Of course, the Rockies still probably have enough talent to become a contender this year or next, if things break right. But it is arguable that the club could have had even more talent and even fewer salary commitments on its MLB roster. Owner Dick Monfort says that, with its business model, the team can reasonably aim to qualify for the post-season about "twice every five years." (One of every three clubs make it to the post-season, of course, in any given year.) But it has been four full seasons since that has happened, and the Rockies still seem like one of the least-likely post-season contenders in baseball.
 
If measured spending growth is to be the guiding principle, a more thoughtful allocation of limited resources may be needed to deliver on-field success. Given his statements and the team's actions, Monfort appears to have in mind to create a sort of competition/reload cycle, rather than being a boom-or-bust franchise. But the Rockies are in the fairly rare situation of having two in-prime stars under control at a reasonable price for the foreseeable future. Without decisive action in either direction (present or future production), the organization risks being trapped in a bubble of mediocrity.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Thursday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Earlier in the week, for example, Chone Figgins and Justin Turner were added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster and headed to Australia with the club having won bench roles. We'll be keeping track of minor league signees making their clubs with posts just like this one as the season draws near...

  • The Rockies have added catcher Michael McKenry to the 40-man roster, signaling that he will serve as the team's backup catcher this season, the team announced on Twitter. McKenry is 5-for-20 with a homer and three doubles thus far in Spring Training. The 29-year-old's 2013 season was cut short in Pittsburgh when he damaged his meniscus while sliding on the basepaths (he underwent surgery in late July). Originally drafted by Colorado, McKenry broke into the bigs with the Pirates and had his best season in 2012, when he batted .233/.320/.442 with a dozen homers in 275 plate appearances.



Athletics Claim Kent Matthes From Rockies

The Athletics announced that they've claimed outfielder Kent Matthes off waivers from the Rockies and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. Jarrod Parker, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster (Twitter links).

Matthes, 27, ranked among the Rockies' Top 30 prospects (per Baseball America) as recently as last winter, when he was 16th on the list. A former fourth-round pick out of Alabama, Matthes has a solid .275/.332/.505 batting line in his minor league career, although he did not reach the Triple-A level until last year -- his age-26 season. As BA notes, a torn patellar tendon, a broken hand and an oblique strain have severely shortened three of his minor league campaigns. However, he was still good enough in 2011 to take home California League MVP honors for batting .334/.378/.642 with 23 homers in 93 games before his hand was broken when it was hit by a pitch.

BA noted in the 2013 edition of its annual Prospect Handbook (highly recommended) that Matthes is an average runner with one of the strongest arms in the Rockies' system and profiled as a solid defender in right field.



NL West Notes: Wieland, Dodgers, Lyles

The Padres have already taken a hit to their starting pitching depth after losing Cory Luebke to a second Tommy John surgery, and now right-hander Joe Wieland could suffer the same fate. Wieland is scheduled to have an MRI on his sore right elbow today, and Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweeted late last night that there's "significant concern" throughout the organization, with a re-torn UCL being the worst-case scenario. Wieland, like Luebke, spent the 2013 season recovering from 2012 Tommy John surgery. A second Tommy John surgery has become a familiar refrain around MLB of late; Daniel Hudson underwent his second Tommy John last summer, and there's a strong likelihood that Braves hurlers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy will do so as well. D'Backs lefty Patrick Corbin could be headed for his first Tommy John surgery as well.

Here are a couple of other NL-West-related items...

  • The Dodgers are currently on the lookout for bench help, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who questions how the club could spent $225MM on payroll but enter the season with such a weak group of reserve players. Rival evaluators in Spring Training consider the Dodgers' bench to be the weakest in the division, says Rosenthal.
  • Within that piece, Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers indicated to Mark Ellis early in the offseason that another two-year deal was a possibility. However, Ellis eventually grew weary of the Dodgers' indecisiveness, as they offered a one-year deal after signing Alexander Guerrero. Rosenthal adds that one potential scenario last summer was for the Dodgers to flip Zach Lee to the Angels for Howie Kendrick, then move Ellis to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar, but ownership nixed the Kendrick-for-Lee swap.
  • Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that while the Rockies initially thought right-hander Jordan Lyles would need some time in the minors when they acquired him in the Dexter Fowler trade, Lyles is forcing his way into immediate rotation consideration. He's competing with Franklin Morales for the fifth starter's role, and Lyles could benefit from the fact that Morales has bullpen experience. Manager Walt Weiss told Renck that Lyles is viewed strictly as a starter, so Morales could end up in relief with Lyles in the starting five.



NL Notes: Niese, D'backs, Pirates, Marlins, Dodgers

Mets left-hander Jon Niese was removed from his start today after only two innings and 35 pitches with what the club calls left elbow discomfort. Niese had been wearing a neoprene sleve on his left arm the past few days, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "It's the Spring Training from hell," Niese told reporters (as quoted by ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin). Niese also said he hyperextended the elbow, which first flared up during an intrasquad game 10 days ago, and has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing rehab since. Niese added the discomfort is in the back of the elbow, not in the ligament area (the focus of Tommy John surgery). The Mets are flying the 27-year-old to New York tonight with a MRI, his second in less than three weeks, scheduled for tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday

Elsewhere in the National League:



NL West Notes: Corbin, Owings, Gregorius, Rockies

Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks has suffered "damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow," the club announced today. Tommy John surgery is the initial recommended course of action for Corbin, a source tells the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro (Twitter). The 24-year-old, however, will seek a second opinion and will not be with the team to start the year. Needless to say, the injury could have wide-ranging implications for the club, which has spent big to win and has top prospect Archie Bradley waiting in the wings. Corbin is the most recent in a sudden run of young pitchers facing arm issues, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote earlier this morning, discussing the state of pitching injuries in the game. Here are some more notes from the division, as it gets ready to kick-start the season in Australia:

  • The Diamondbacks plan to give Chris Owings the starting shortstop job, reports ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider link). Preferring his bat to the glove of fellow youngster Didi Gregorius, Arizona could now be in a position to trade the latter. Gregorius had a solid rookie debut last year, putting up average defensive marks and a .252/.332/.373 triple-slash (along with seven home runs) in 404 plate appearances. Some believe he will have greater defensive value moving forward, making him a fairly attractive piece for teams in need of shortstop help, though Arizona appears determined to command a big return in a trade.
  • The Rockies are looking at the trade market for a right-handed setup option, Bowden reports in the same piece. Of course, he also adds that LaTroy Hawkins is likely to cede the closer role to lefty Rex Brothers at some point, which would make Hawkins available (along with Matt Belisle) as a late-inning righty.
  • Meanwhile, Colorado "remain[s] concerned with their leadoff spot and center field," both of which were vacated when the team decided to trade Dexter Fowler to the Astros to create payroll flexibility. This report caps off a confusing round of musical chairs for the Rockies. After trading away Dexter Fowler and his $7.35MM salary (along with whatever he'll earn through arbitration next year), the team added an aging Justin Morneau for nearly as much (two years, $12.5MM) and gave situational lefty Boone Logan the third-largest guarantee of any reliever this offseason (three years, $18.5MM). The team then dealt serviceable southpaw Josh Outman for Drew Stubbs, who is now part of a three-man group (including Brandon Barnes, who came in the Fowler deal, and Charlie Blackmon) that will probably form some kind of platoon in center, according to Bowden.
  • Of course, Bowden adds, the Rockies also took on salary in adding starter Brett Anderson via trade. He has reportedly been very impressive, looking healthy and throwing like he did before his string of injury issues.
  • The Rockies face a number of roster battles that are still too close to call, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The team is not inclined at present to trade away Blackmon or fellow left-handed-swinging Corey Dickerson, though that may become an option at some point.
  • We learned earlier this morning that Dodgers catcher Miguel Olivo is seeking his release to pursue opportunities with another club.









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