Matt Lindstrom Rumors

Checking In On Colorado’s Offseason Extensions

The Rockies were one of the most aggressive teams in baseball in terms of extensions last offseason. They locked six of their players up on multiyear deals, including two contracts worth $80MM or more.

It’s still too early to say with much authority that the deals failed or succeeded, but Troy Tulowitzki’s contract doesn’t expire until 2020 at the earliest and that’s a long wait, so let's check in on the deals now. The early verdict? Nearly five months into the season, the Rockies’ new deals are going well, largely because their biggest investments are looking good. That in itself doesn't justify the moves, but it's certainly better than the alternative.

Tulowitzki (ten years, $157.75MM), Carlos Gonzalez (seven years, $80MM), Matt Lindstrom (two years, $6.6MM), Jason Hammel (two years, $7.75MM), Rafael Betancourt (two years, $8.02MM) and Matt Belisle (two years, $6.125MM) all signed long-term last winter. Conventional wisdom says multiyear deals for relievers and megadeals for players already under long-term control aren’t the most prudent ways of spending money, especially for a mid-market team. Nevertheless, the Rockies went ahead with the moves and they’re going well so far this year.

It would be hard to argue that Tulowitzki isn’t the best shortstop in the game. Gonzalez has boosted his walk rate, lowered his strikeout rate and, thanks to a recent hot streak that has included seven home runs in 12 days, raised his season line to .289/.360/.523. Betancourt, Belisle and Lindstrom (now on the DL) have each pitched at least 43 2/3 innings with at least 6.2 K/9, no more than 2.3 BB/9 and an ERA of 3.41 or below. Even Hammel, who just lost his rotation spot to Alex White, provided Colorado with three months’ worth of solid starts before faltering in July and August.

The extensions look good so far, despite the Rockies’ disappointing 63-68 record. At this point, that’s all Colorado could hope for. But every player they locked up could have been on the team this year even if GM Dan O’Dowd hadn’t inked them to long-term deals, so the final verdict on the 2010-11 offseason deals will have to wait for another decade or so.

Rockies Rumors: Jimenez, Wigginton

The Rockies are 11 games back in the NL West, so it's time to consider selling various pieces.  The latest:

Players To Avoid Arbitration: Monday

Teams and players exchange arbitration figures tomorrow if they haven't already come to terms for 2011. That means plenty of players will likely avoid arbitration today. We'll keep track of them all right here and with our Arbitration Tracker; the latest updates are at the top of this post:

Rockies, Lindstrom Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Rockies agreed to a two-year deal with Matt Lindstrom, avoiding arbitration, according to the team (on Twitter). The $6.6MM deal includes a club option for a third year, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Lindstrom will earn $2.8MM in 2011 and $3.6MM in 2012 with a club option for $4MM in 2013, according to Renck.

Lindstrom was arbitration eligible for the second time after earning $1.63MM in 2010. This extension covers his two remaining seasons as an arbitraiton eligible player and the option covers his first season of free agency.

The Rockies acquired the right-hander from the Astros this winter after he posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 53 1/3 innings. Along with Lindstrom, Matt Belisle (who also avoided arbitration with the Rockies), Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt provide manager Jim Tracy with a number of proven late-inning options.

Ian Stewart, Felipe Paulino and Jason Hammel are the team's remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows.

Odds & Ends: Diamondbacks, Lindstrom, Lee, Ramirez

Merry Christmas everyone!  Let's see what tidbits of information Santa has for us under the tree..

Rockies Acquire Matt Lindstrom

The Rockies have acquired Matt Lindstrom from the Astros in exchange for minor league pitchers Jonnathan Aristil and Wes Musick, according to a Houston team press release. 

Lindstrom, 31 in February, posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 23 saves in his first season as an Astro. He logged 53 1/3 innings and posted a 48.9 % ground ball rate.  This marks the second consecutive offseason (third time overall) that Lindstrom has been traded; the Mets sent him to the Marlins in 2006 and the Marlins sent him to the Astros just over a year ago. 

Lindstrom earned $1.625MM in 2010 and will make over $2MM through arbitration next year. He's under team control through 2012.  The right-hander joins Huston Street, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt at the back of the Rockies' 'pen. This addition could limit the Rockies' interest in David Aardsma, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls, Todd Coffey and Matt Guerrier.

Aristil, 24, was an infielder when he signed a free agent contract with Colorado in 2003.  Since converting to pitching in 2006, the right-hander has posted a 4.47 ERA in 113 appearances, 53 of them starts and just 12 of which came above the Single-A level.

Musick, 23, is a left-hander whom the Astros originally drafted in the 46th round of the 2005 draft, but Musick chose to attend the University of Houston instead.  Picked by the Rockies in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, Musick has posted impressive numbers in his first two pro seasons — a 3.78 ERA, 8.5 K/9 rate, a 2.1 BB/9 rate and an even 4.00 K/BB ratio in 30 games (28 of them starts).'s Thomas Harding was the first to report that Lindstrom was on his way to Colorado, while's Buster Olney reported earlier this afternoon that the Astros were nearing a deal for the reliever.  Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report Musick's inclusion in the deal, while Astros director of social media Alyson Footer tweeted the news about Aristil.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk contributed to this post

Astros Working On Potential Matt Lindstrom Deal

The Astros are working hard on a possible trade involving Matt Lindstrom, according to's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Rockies are looking for relief help and appeared interested when Lindstrom became available earlier this month. They are one possible suitor for Lindstrom, but there's a long list of teams with potential interest in right-handed middle relievers.

Lindstrom, 31 in February, posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 23 saves in his first season as an Astro. He logged 53 1/3 innings and posted a 48.9 % ground ball rate. Lindstrom earned $1.625MM in 2010 and will make over $2MM through arbitration next year. He's under team control through 2012.

Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox, Pavano, Buehrle, Millwood

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe names the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings in his newest piece, with the Red Sox, Nationals, and White Sox topping his list of winners. Cafardo also shares a handful of hot stove notes. Here are the highlights:

  • Before they signed Carl Crawford, the Red Sox "did a ton of work" on Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Beltran.
  • Carl Pavano figures to wait for Cliff Lee to sign, so he can see the type of offers he receives as the top pitcher on the market. Cafardo thinks Pavano could be a backup plan for the Rangers if they don't land Lee, though the Twins still remain the favorites for the 34-year-old. Texas has also inquired on Matt Garza and James Shields.
  • The White Sox will listen to offers for Mark Buehrle, whose contract expires after the 2011 season. Buehrle earned ten and five rights this year, so he'd have the option of vetoing any trade.
  • Agent Scott Boras says a strong market is developing for Kevin Millwood.
  • Team officials that spoke to Cafardo had mixed opinions on free agent backstop Russell Martin. One opined that Martin "can't call a game," while another raved about the enthusiasm the catcher brings each day.
  • According to Cafardo, the Red Sox were the only team to discuss Justin Upton with the Diamondbacks, balking at Kevin Towers' insistence that Daniel Bard be included in a potential deal.
  • The Astros would have interest in trading Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Keppinger.
  • Grant Balfour is seeking a three-year contract. The Red Sox have looked into him, but are hoping Matt Guerrier will accept their offer. As Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston noted today (via Twitter), Guerrier is one of the top relief targets for Boston, along with Brian Fuentes and Jesse Crain.

Astros Make Lindstrom, Keppinger Available

5:03pm: The Rockies are interested in Lindstrom, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).

10:03am: The Astros are looking to trade reliever Matt Lindstrom and infielder Jeff Keppinger as a means of cutting payroll, reports Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.  Both players are arbitration eligible for the second time and should pass the $2MM salary mark in 2011.

Keppinger should draw interest in a weak middle infield market, but Lindstrom's stock is hurt by the strong supply of righty relievers and the back problems that caused him to end the season on a sour note.

Crasnick On The Bullpen Market

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick does a nice job profiling the underwhelming market for relievers.  The Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Rays, Phillies, and Twins could be looking to make an acquisition.  A few tidbits…

  • The Astros "will gladly talk about Brandon Lyon, but aren't so interested in discussing Matt Lindstrom."  Lyon is still owed $12.48MM through 2012.
  • Crasnick points out that Octavio Dotel is not a pitcher you want facing lefties.  How about D.J. Carrasco?  He's quietly having another decent year, he's cheap, and he's under team control through 2012.  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted yesterday that at least five teams have inquired.
  • Crasnick finds "the consensus" to be that Mariners closer David Aardsma will be dealt before the deadline.  The Tigers have been linked to the hard-throwing righty, whose ERA is up several runs this year despite his strikeout and walk rates remaining stable.  Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times feels the Mariners would need their socks knocked off to move Aardsma. 
  • Chad Qualls, Clay Hensley, and most of the Brewers' and Royals' pens also merit consideration as trade bait.