The 36-year-old Denorfia, a client of Pro Star Management, spent the 2016 season with the Giants organization and batted .269/.329/.408 in 42 minor league games. That marked the first season that he hasn’t appeared in a Major League contest since 2007, as Denorfia has been a fixture on big league rosters for the better part of a decade. A 19th-round pick by the Reds back in 2002, Denorfia broke into the Majors in 2005 and solidified himself as a big league role player with the Padres in 2010, when he hit .271/.335/.433 in 99 games with San Diego.
From 2010-15, Denorfia enjoyed a part-time role with the Padres, Mariners and Cubs, averaging 118 games and 358 plate appearances per season while hitting a combined .271/.327/.393. He’s at his best when facing left-handed pitching, as evidenced by the .285/.353/.424 batting line he compiled against them in that time (compared to a .261/.308/.371 slash against righties). Denorfia has more than 1000 Major League innings at all three outfield positions, although he’s worked much more in the corners than in center field. He’s drawn consistently above-average marks in right and left field from both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating.
Obviously, the Rockies have a crowded outfield mix as it is, though Denorfia will bring a right-handed bat to what currently lines up as an all-lefty mix. David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez currently seem like the favorites to serve as regulars in new manager Bud Black’s outfield. (Black, it should be pointed out, knows Denorfia quite well from his Padres days.) Gerardo Parra is on-hand as yet another southpaw-swinging fourth option. Colorado did sign Ian Desmond, who showed fairly well in his first season of outfield work with the 2016 Rangers, but Desmond is set to serve as their everyday first baseman barring the seemingly unlikely trade of an outfielder.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has recently voiced a desire to add some complementary pieces to his bench mix, and Denorfia could give the Rox a right-handed bat off the bench that can fill in at all three outfield spots as needed and match up nicely against lefties, should he ultimately crack the big league roster.