Rafael Betancourt Rumors

Rockies Intend To Keep Rafael Betancourt

Rockies' setup man Rafael Betancourt picked up his first save of the season last night, filling in for a banged up Huston Street, and it sounds like he'll be around much longer if needed. ESPN's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter) that Colorado intends to keep Betancourt this month rather than move him in a waiver trade.

Betancourt, 36, owns a 3.61 ERA in 47 1/3 innings this season, but his peripheral stats are much more impressive: 10.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9. That's actually worse than last year, when he posted an identical 3.61 ERA, but with better strikeout (12.9 K/9) and walk (1.2 BB/9) numbers. Betancourt is under contract for $4MM next season with a $4.25MM mutual option for 2013 ($250K buyout).

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes identified Betancourt as one of several players on the Rockies that could be candidates for a waiver trade this month. Make sure you check out Closer News for all your fantasy bullpen needs.

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D’Backs Working To Acquire Reliever

SUNDAY, 12:43am: The Diamondbacks have a list of 7 or 8 relievers they are still pursuing and they're almost certain to come away with one, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Meanwhile, Arizona doesn't like their chances of landing Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt, according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post (via Twitter).

SATURDAY, 11:07pm: D’Backs GM Kevin Towers says he’s looking at everything (bullpen, bench, starting pitching) and could take on salary under the right circumstances, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter links).

9:13pm: The D'Backs are still working to acquire a reliever and it sounds as though they expect to complete a deal, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). The D'Backs acquired starting pitcher Jason Marquis earlier tonight.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links) reported earlier this evening that Arizona remains interested in relief help, including Jason Isringhausen. However, Isringhausen has said the Mets have told him they won't trade him, according to Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger (on Twitter).

Angels Seeking Sixth/Seventh-Inning Type Reliever

4:10pm: Manager Mike Scioscia said he and GM Tony Reagins haven't discussed Betancourt as a possible solution, according to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times. Scioscia said Reagins always runs players past him before acquiring them.

1:34pm: The Angels seek a right-handed sixth-or-seventh-inning kind of arm in the Chad Qualls mold, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times has similar feelings, tweeting that their best chance is to get a non-closer along the lines of Qualls, Rafael Betancourt, or Koji Uehara.  Earlier, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that the Angels are "working hard on Uehara trade talks" with the Orioles.  Of course, Uehara has better numbers than just about any available reliever.

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:

Rockies Could Move Relievers

The Rockies are currently 9.5 games out in the NL West.  They don't have any crucial players heading to free agency after the season, but they may still have some expendable veterans.  In particular, MLB.com's Thomas Harding says "information is surfacing that the Rockies could be willing to deal any of three key right-handed relievers" – Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, and Matt Belisle.

Street, 28 in August, has a 3.56 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.67 HR/9, and 39.0% groundball rate in 43 innings this year.  At the deadline he'll have $2.37MM left on his contract this year, plus $7.5MM in '12 and a $500K buyout after that season for a total of $10.37MM.  Yesterday, Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports wrote that there have been "recent inquiries" on Street.  However, keep in mind that GM Dan O'Dowd has no directive to shed salary.  If Street is dealt, Matt Lindstrom would probably close, as indicated on our depth chart at CloserNews.

Betancourt, 36, has a 4.66 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 1.47 HR/9, and 30.6% groundball rate in 36 2/3 innings.  His numbers are similar to Street's in that he limits free passes but is prone to the longball.  Betancourt will have $1.22MM left this year at the deadline, plus $4MM in '12 and a $250K buyout after that season for a total of $5.47MM.  Since he doesn't have saves on his resume, he earns half as much as Street.

Belisle, 31, has a 3.46 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.86 HR/9, and 46.8% groundball rate in 41 2/3 innings.  He will have $1.05MM left this year at the deadline and $3.775MM in '12 for a total of $4.825MM.  This is the first time his name has been mentioned as a potential trade target.

The Yankees, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Phillies, and Rangers are contenders who are in the hunt for relief help.

Quick Hits: Rockies, Pirates, Kuroda

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Rockies Extend Rafael Betancourt

The Rockies have signed Rafael Betancourt to an extension that will keep him in Denver through 2012 according to ESPN's Enrique Rojas (Spanish link). Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds that the one-year extension carries a mutual $4.25MM option with it.

Betancourt, 36 in April, was already under contract for 2011 at $3.77MM. The new deal guarantees him $4MM in 2012, and there's a $250K buyout on Colorado's half of the mutual option. If Betancourt declines his half of the deal, there's no buyout. If he's traded, the buyout becomes guaranteed.

The Rockies acquired Betancourt prior to the 2009 trade deadline in exchange for minor leaguer Connor Graham, and he's been nothing short of oustanding in their bullpen. Since the trade, the right-hander owns a 3.08 ERA and has fanned more than 12 hitters per nine innings while walking less than two per nine.

Rockies Relievers Drawing Interest

A handful of teams have scouted the Rockies' bullpen to check in on Joe Beimel and Rafael Betancourt, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter). The Red Sox are among the teams that have considered the Rockies relievers, but they aren't the only interested team. The Phillies and three or four other clubs have shown interest in Beimel, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).

Renck gets the impression from GM Dan O'Dowd that the Rockies will be open to making deals in August (Twitter link). So far, the Rockies haven't decided whether to buy, sell or tinker before Saturday's trade deadline. It's important to note that Huston Street, one of the team's best relievers, was taken to the hospital after getting struck by a line drive in batting practice yesterday. 

Rockies Considering Selling, Shopping Cook

2:54pm: The Rockies had feelers out a week ago on names ranging from Adam Dunn to Dan Haren, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman says the Rockies are now "quietly shopping" Aaron Cook and are willing to help make the financial aspect work.  Cook is still owed $3.75MM this year if traded, plus $10.25MM for 2011, a $500K buyout for '12, and $125K per year if he reaches 200 innings.

7:51am: The Rockies are preparing for the possibility of becoming sellers, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  They've not yet committed to that course, but they're eight games back in the NL West.  But at 4.5 games out of the wild card, the Rockies still appear to have a legitimate playoff shot.  Baseball Prospectus' postseason odds report puts their chances at a healthy 23.4% despite a recent losing streak.

Rosenthal says the Rockies are still eyeing Jorge Cantu and could move Melvin Mora, Ryan Spilborghs, and/or Brad Hawpe regardless of their direction.  If the team's rough week continues and they start thinking about 2011, Jorge de la Rosa would be an interesting addition to the trade block.  Rosenthal names Aaron Cook, Rafael Betancourt, and Joe Beimel as other possibilities.

De La Rosa has made three starts since returning from the DL for a finger injury.  His last effort was solid, and he takes on the Pirates tonight.  He'll be a free agent after the season and currently profiles as a Type B.