Jorge de la Rosa Rumors
Josh Johnson reached out to the Giants and Padres to let them know they were his first choices for a new team, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (all Twitter links). Both teams play close to Johnson's home in Las Vegas and also have pitcher-friendly ballparks that are ideal for a hurler looking to rebuild his value on a one-year contract. Schulman isn't sure if the Giants made Johnson an offer, though Johnson's chances of joining the club have likely dimmed now that San Francisco has signed Tim Hudson. Starting pitching isn't an offseason priority for the Padres, though a healthy and in-form Johnson projects as the ace of San Diego's rotation.
Here are some more items from around the NL West...
- The Rockies' one-year, $2.5MM agreement with LaTroy Hawkins "blew away" the Mets' offer to the veteran reliever, a source tells Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Colorado also outbid the Braves, who didn't need Hawkins in either a closing or setup role, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
- Now that the Rockies have signed Hawkins, Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Sulia link) opines that the club needs to pursue the likes of Edward Mujica, Joe Smith or Jose Veras to further upgrade their shaky bullpen. Renck also looks at how the Hawkins signing impacts Rex Brothers' role as Colorado's "closer of the future."
- Also from Renck (Sulia link), the Rockies and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa haven't begun talks on a contract extension. De La Rosa's current deal is up after the 2014 season and Renck reported last month that both sides have interest in continuing their relationship. The southpaw also tells Renck that he is recovered from the thumb injury that bothered him down the stretch last season.
- The Dodgers have received "moderate to moderate-plus" trade interest in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, an official tells Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. We heard last week that the Dodgers were open to offers for Kemp, Ethier or Carl Crawford in order to free up payroll space and a spot in the outfield. Brown's piece outlines the Dodgers' offseason priorities, beginning with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw.
- Juan Uribe is looking for a three-year contract, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The Dodgers are interested in bringing Uribe back but not at that length, which Heyman admits is "probably a stretch." Indeed, Tim Dierkes said that Uribe would be weighing one- or two-year offers in MLBTR's free agent profile of the third baseman.
- The Dodgers would be better off trading to upgrade their rotation than signing a free agent hurler, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon opines. "With the exception of [Masahiro] Tanaka, it’s an exceptionally flawed market for free agent starting pitchers and it seems like the Dodgers are more than aware of that. Much as they’d like to improve their rotation, they might be better served to sit this one out," Saxon writes.
- In other NL West news from earlier today, we collected some more Giants news items and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported that the Dodgers signed Brendan Harris to a minor league deal.
Earlier today, the Rockies exercised their 2014 club option on left-hander Jorge De La Rosa. That decision will keep De La Rosa under contract for a very reasonable $11MM, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that the Rockies may have eyes on keeping him in Denver longer, as the two sides are expected to discuss a multiyear deal in the offseason (Twitter link).
Renck elaborates (via Sulia), opining that Colorado should be aggressive because De La Rosa is one of few successful pitchers in franchise history who have expressed interest in remaining in Denver despite the hitters' paradise that is Coors Field. De La Rosa likes pitching for the Rockies, and his preference is to stay there, according to Renck.
De La Rosa, who will turn 33 next season, pitched to a 3.49 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He was also comfortable at high altitude this year and allowed a lower OPS at home (.695) than on the road (.746). However, his lifetime body of work doesn't quite jive with those numbers. For his career, the left-hander owns a 4.70 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
As MLBTR's offseason outlook for the Rockies explains, Colorado has a great deal of question marks in their rotation beyond De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood, and Jhoulys Chacin. Locking De La Rosa up beyond 2014 would help stabilize their rotation over the next few years.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The move comes as no surprise, given De La Rosa's strong 2013 season. In his first full season since 2011 Tommy John surgery the 32-year-old De La Rosa pitched to a 3.49 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate in 167 2/3 innings.
De La Rosa's strikeout rate is down quite a bit from its peak levels, but perhaps that's to be expected given his proximity to Tommy John surgery; his average fastball velocity checked in at 91.1 mph in 2013 -- two full miles an hour slower than when he averaged 93.3 mph from 2009-10. In spite of his decrease in punchouts, it's hard to argue with his results. Fangraphs valued his contribution at 2.9 wins above replacement, while Baseball-Reference pegged him at 4.3 WAR.
De La Rosa's agent, Paul Cohen of TWC Sports, originally negotiated a two-year, $21.5MM contract that contained a $11MM player option for a third season. De La Rosa exercised that option after pitching just 10 2/3 innings last season while recovering from his surgery. In doing so, he triggered a clause that gave the Rockies a club option for a fourth year at the same $11MM rate.
De La Rosa figures to front a pitching staff that will also include right-hander Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood based on their own success in 2013, but beyond that, there's little certainty in the Rockies' rotation. Pitching should once again be a major offseason priority for director of Major League operations Bill Geivett and GM Dan O'Dowd. Colorado's current internal options include Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio and Chad Bettis. First-rounders Jonathan Gray, Eddie Butler and Tyler Anderson are all on the horizon as well, though each will require more time in the minors before being ready to join Colorado's rotation.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:
- The Phillies were surprised Ben Revere was available and, in fact, it was the Twins who brought his name up in trade talks after dealing Denard Span to the Nationals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Within the same article, Brookover writes the struggles of Domonic Brown were one reason the Phillies were forced to alter their offseason blueprint. "We were hopeful that Domonic would lock down one of those corner outfield spots," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He did not do that. He still may do that...but we can't necessarily count on that to happen. Because of that, then we were kind of filling all three outfield positions."
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon provided additional contract details for some of the players the Reds have signed within the last month including right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has more than two dozen different escalators, incentives, and bonuses written into the two-year deal he signed last month.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jeff Francis are near locks for the first four slots in the Rockies' starting rotation leaving Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and Chris Volstad jockeying for the fifth spot, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets the candidates for the Rockies' rotation change daily, but the final two spots could come down to Nicasio, Pomeranz, and Chatwood.
- Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, envisions the recently signed Chone Figgins in a Alfredo Amezaga-type role, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Amezaga played every position, except pitcher and catcher, during his four-year stint in Miami.
De La Rosa, 31, allowed 14 runs in 10 2/3 innings across just three starts this year after missing most of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He's pitched to a 4.39 ERA in just 69 2/3 innings for Colorado due to the elbow surgery since re-signing with the club two offseason ago.
Carlos Zambrano hit and pitched the Marlins into a first place tie with the Nationals in the NL East. Zambrano hit a 431-foot home run, the longest by a pitcher in four years according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, and struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings. Here are today's other pitcher-related links.
- The Red Sox may need to take a breather from the Daniel Bard experiment as a starter after his performance today, explains John Tomase of the Boston Herald. According to Baseball Reference, Bard became the first starting pitcher since 1918 to walk six and hit two batters in two or less innings of work.
- Roy Halladay's time on the disabled list could affect his $20MM vesting option for 2014 and make him a free agent one year earlier than expected, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Jorge De La Rosa was pulled from his latest rehab assignment because of a small fluid build-up in his surgically repaired left elbow, says Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The Rockies also placed right-hander Juan Nicasio on the DL with a strained left knee.
- The Orioles have added Steve Johnson to their 40-man roster after the right-hander sought to opt out of his contract, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
On this day in 1988, the Padres traded Rich Gossage and Ray Hayward to the Cubs for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland. Here's a look at today's links..
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees and Red Sox are no longer alone as financial superpowers. Sherman also looks at five offseason market trends that will impact the 2012 season and beyond.
- In analyzing the Orioles' collection of non-roster invitees and the 40-man roster decisions they'll face this Spring, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that Baltimore would eat a portion of Kevin Gregg's $5.8MM salary to trade him. Kubatko also speculates that an out of options player like Pedro Strop could be moved during Spring Training.
- Free agent Scott Kazmir is set to throw for scouts in Houston on Wednesday, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Jorge De La Rosa will undoubtedly exercise his $11MM player option for 2013 as he rehabs from elbow surgery, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. If he does that, the Rockies receive a $11MM club option for 2014.
- Red Sox officials seem to think they’ll know what they’ll be getting from the Cubs “before the official start of spring training,’’ but it's not clear if that refers to when pitchers and catchers report or when the full squad arrives, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- If Magglio Ordoñez doesn't find a big-league job this season, he will have his own professional baseball club waiting for him in his native Venezuela, writes Robert Downs of the Detroit Free Press. The slugger is set purchase shares in the Caribes de Anzoátegui when he retires.
- The Indians and Casey Kotchman never talked about anything but a one-year deal, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. The first baseman signed with the Tribe for $3MM earlier this month.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post took some time to answer questions from his followers on Twitter just now. Renck touches on a lot of offseason topics for the Rox, so let's take a look (all links to Renck's Twitter):
- If traded, Jason Giambi would prefer to go to the Phillies, but he isn't looking to get traded and would likely be claimed before Philadelphia got a chance at him. Giambi would like to return to the Rockies next season, and Renck sees it happening.
- It's been well-documented that the Rockies would like to add a bat at third base or in the outfield, and Renck says that Michael Cuddyer will be the team's top target in free agency.
- Eric Young Jr. has shown value, but doesn't fit the club unless he's playing second base, according to Renck. Young could be traded, while Ian Stewart will likely be non-tendered.
- Renck predicts that the Opening Day rotation will consist of Jhoulys Chacin, Alex White, Esmil Rogers, and two veterans. Jorge de la Rosa, Juan Nicasio and/or Drew Pomeranz could join the mix in May. Renck notes that De La Rosa is ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
- Kevin Millwood, who currently has a 4.26 ERA in four starts (25 1/3 innings) for the Rockies, could be one of those veterans, but on a minor league deal.
Giants catcher Buster Posey appeared to suffer a serious leg injury while blocking the plate in extra innings last night. Posey's agent, Jeff Berry, says he's going to call Joe Torre about changing rules for plays at the plate to make collisions safer for catchers, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. "It's brutal," Berry said. "It's borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball." Here are some other notes from the NL West:
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer told Bill Center of of the San Diego Union-Tribune that top first base prospect Anthony Rizzo is "not yet" ready for the Major Leagues. The Padres want Rizzo to stay in the Majors once he arrives, so "the timing and situation has to be right."
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Dave Krieger of the Denver Post that he has the financial freedom to make a trade. "I have some flexibility that we saved for opportunities that may come up," O'Dowd said. "It would be hard to do multiple things, so we're probably going to have to prioritize what that is if something should come available." Though the Rockies aren't about to make a sudden move, they'll keep talking to teams about possible deals.
- The Rockies will call on internal options to replace Jorge de la Rosa, who will miss the rest of the season with Tommy John surgery, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Rockies owner Dick Monfort says the team didn't have insurance on the left-hander's contract.
- The D'Backs continue to eye other teams' arms as they look to bolster their Triple-A pitching depth, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Links for Tuesday night, as Tigers catcher Alex Avila enjoys his third career two-homer game...
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli that he will continue considering internal and external replacements for Brian Roberts, who won't return before the end of May (Twitter link).
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that the Cardinals demoted Mitchell Boggs in spite of his strong 2011 numbers because they can stretch him out at Triple-A. The Cards could have near-term needs for starters or middle relievers.
- On a related note, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Krasovic of MLB.com that he may explore trades for relievers at the deadline. However, Mozeliak says it’s still too early to predict with certainty that the bullpen will be the Cardinals’ biggest need this summer.
- Rockies left-hander Jorge de la Rosa has a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, the team announced (on Twitter). Tommy John surgery appears to be a likely option for de la Rosa.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post suggests we should keep Kevin Slowey in mind as a possible target for the Rockies should they look outside of the organization for rotation depth (Twitter link).
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan calls Daisuke Matsuzaka a "$103MM migraine" and reports that the right-hander has ignored what the Red Sox have wanted him to do since signing with Boston. Matsuzaka, who has a sprained UCL, might never pitch for the Red Sox again if he needs Tommy John surgery, according to Passan.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com previews his top five potential sellers at this year's trade deadline: the Mets, Astros, Twins, Cubs and Padres.