Colorado Rockies – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-05-26T01:19:04Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Are Reinforcements On The Way For Rockies?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123186 2018-05-25T03:42:59Z 2018-05-25T03:42:03Z
  • MLB.com’s Thomas Harding addresses a number of Rockies-related issues in his latest Inbox column, writing that while fans are champing at the bit to see Brendan Rodgers in the Majors, it may very well that infield prospect Garrett Hampson beats the more highly-touted Rodgers to the big leagues. Rodgers is still just 21 and has yet to play in Triple-A, Harding notes, while Hampson was recently promoted to Triple-A, has experience hitting leadoff and has a strong history of on-base skills. With DJ LeMahieu on the shelf, that skill set holds some appeal to the organization. Harding also looks at what could be a challenging trade deadline for Jeff Bridich as he looks to improve an inconsistent offense, though he adds that he isn’t hearing any indication that the Rox are aggressively exploring the trade market just yet. Of course, in late May, that’s hardly an uncommon stance for any team.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[LeMahieu Out At Least Three Weeks With Sprain, Fracture In Thumb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122597 2018-05-18T02:39:43Z 2018-05-18T02:12:42Z
  • In addition to a sprain in his left thumb, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu has a small fracture, he told reporters on Thursday (link via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post). While it’s not great news for the Rockies or LeMahieu, it’s hardly a worst-case scenario, either. LeMahieu is likely to miss at least three weeks or so with the injury, though the infielder explained that an exact timetable will be difficult to pin down before the swelling in his thumb subsides. On the plus side, doctors have told LeMahieu that he’ll avoid surgery and needs only rest to let the injury heal. He’s hoping to swing a bat as early as next week.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Place DJ LeMahieu On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122374 2018-05-15T04:39:09Z 2018-05-15T04:09:34Z
  • Not long after returning from a brief DL stint, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu is going back on the shelf, this time with a left thumb sprain. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out, but there’s also no reason to suspect it’ll be a lengthy absence. The 29-year-old, a pending free agent, has played well thus far, slashing a sturdy .279/.350/.457 with five home runs in his 143 plate appearances. Utilityman Pat Valaika takes the open roster spot.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Struggling Desmond Unlikely To Be Replaced At First Base]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122320 2018-05-14T17:50:22Z 2018-05-14T17:49:31Z
  • Ian Desmond’s struggles have become a glaring problem for the Rockies, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. However, manager Bud Black and the Colorado front office still believe the veteran will turn things around despite his .170/.213/.355 slash this season and his unsightly .244/.294/.369 line since coming to the Rockies in the 2016-17 offseason. Desmond’s problems are all the more concerning given the struggles of Ryan McMahon earlier this season, leaving the Rox with little in the way of in-house options. Saunders notes that talks between the Rockies and Mark Reynolds never really took off, though he suggests that if Reynolds loses his roster spot in Washington once Ryan Zimmerman returns, the two sides could again explore a fit. However, Saunders also hears from those within the organization that the team wouldn’t relegate Desmond to the bench in favor of Reynolds, which could make a return to Denver a tough sell.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Thin On First Base Options Behind Struggling Desmond]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122270 2018-05-13T23:58:47Z 2018-05-13T23:58:47Z
  • Speaking of slumping first basemen, Ian Desmond’s struggles continued today with an 0-for-4 day, dropping his slash line to an ugly .170/.213/.355 over 150 PA.  The Rockies are lacking in viable alternatives at first base, The Athletic’s Nick Groke writes (subscription required), with Ryan McMahon recently demoted due to his own lack of production, Daniel Castro and Josh Fuentes both lacking experience at first base, and prospect Jordan Patterson hitting well but carrying a high strikeout rate at Triple-A.  It isn’t probable that Gerardo Parra returns to first base, as “his defense lacked and he disliked the idea” of the position change in limited action at first last season.  It stands to reason that first base could be a target area for the Rockies at the trade deadline should they remain the pennant race — like the D’Backs, the Rockies have also been competitive (22-19 after today’s loss to the Brewers) despite a lack of production at first base.  A new addition, however, wouldn’t help solve the bigger-picture problem of Desmond, who has been a sub-replacement level player since signing a five-year, $70MM free agent deal with Colorado in December 2016.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[West Notes: CarGo, Fowler, Pence]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122104 2018-05-12T15:37:25Z 2018-05-12T15:37:25Z A combination of poor offensive output and surging young Rockies outfielders staking claims to playing time has led to an unusual “platoon” situation for Carlos Gonzalez, as Kyle Newman of the Denver Post writes. CarGo is hitting just .236/.278/.427 on the season with three homers, while David Dahl and Noel Cuevas both boast wRC+ figures above 100 (though each has a BABIP above .420). Gerrardo Parra has also seen a reduction in playing time thanks to the young duo’s hot streaks. Newman notes that manager Bud Black is making his lineup card each day with many factors each day, including rest, pitching matchups and the hot hand. Gonzalez signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Rockies this past season after struggling for much of 2017.

    A pair of other items out of the West…

    • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the Athletics could start running more often following the promotion of speedy outfielder Dustin Fowler to the big league club. Enter Thursday’s game, Slusser notes that the A’s were just 7-for-14 in steal attempts on the season; those steals and steals attempts totals both rank second to last in the majors. In the meantime, Fowler was 8-for-10 during his time in Triple-A this year. Manager Bob Melvin describes Fowler as a “true base stealer”. Said Fowler on the subject:  “That’s something I’ve worked on my whole career, so I’d like to step it up and see how I can do at the big-league level as much as I can.” 
    • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has reportedly resumed his rehab assignment (h/t Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports). Pence, who has been on the DL since April 20th after suffering a thumb injury, was originally expected to miss no more than the ten-day minimum. However, Pence began feeling some recurring thumb soreness during his initial rehab assignment, necessitating a retreat from playing in games for a bit. That was only five days ago, so it appears the setback wasn’t viewed as particularly serious. With Mac Williamson still being held out of games following concussion symptoms, the Giants will hope they can get Pence back into their depleted outfield mix sooner than later.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Option Ryan McMahon, Select Contract Of Daniel Castro]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121331 2018-05-01T20:45:20Z 2018-05-01T20:45:20Z The Rockies announced Tuesday that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Daniel Castro from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned first baseman Ryan McMahon to Albuquerque in his place. To open a spot on the 40-man roster for Castro, lefty Zac Rosscup was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

    It’s been an ugly start to the season for the 23-year-old McMahon, who entered the year heralded as one of baseball’s best prospects but has been used sparingly in a crowded mix of position players in Denver. In 60 plate appearances over the life of 28 games, McMahon has batted just .180/.317/.200.

    McMahon looked to be in line for regular at-bats before Colorado’s late and somewhat puzzling deal to bring Carlos Gonzalez back into the fold. That signing pushed Ian Desmond from the outfield back to the infield and cut into McMahon’s playing time substantially. He’ll be in line for regular at-bats down in Triple-A, where he he laid waste to opposing pitchers with a .374/.411/.612 batting line in 2017, as he looks to get his swing back on track.

    Castro, meanwhile, will step into the infield mix and provide depth at multiple spots. The 25-year-old hit .217/.250/.265 in 239 plate appearances for the 2015-16 Braves but has enjoyed a productive run with Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate dating back to Opening Day 2017. Castro is primarily a middle infielder and should help to cover for the short-term loss of DJ LeMahieu, who went on the disabled list yesterday. He also has experience at third base should a brief need arise for any reason.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 5/1/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121228 2018-05-01T15:16:21Z 2018-05-01T15:16:21Z Here are some recent minor moves from around the game:

    • The Rockies announced Monday that right-hander Zach Jemiola cleared waivers yesterday and has re-signed a new minor league deal with the club. Jemiola, 24, was a ninth-round pick of the Rockies back in 2012 but found himself protected from the Rule 5 Draft after turning in a pair of solid seasons in A-ball and Double-A, respectively, in 2015 and 2016. Jemiola faltered with a 6.48 ERA in 93 innings last season, however, though he did turn in a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League (2.74 ERA, 19 strikeouts, nine walks in 23 innings), perhaps creating additional optimism that he can yet be a contributor for the Rox at the big league level. Now on a new minor league contract, he’ll return to the only organization he’s known and serve as continued depth for the organization.
    • Lefty Jack Leathersich will remain with the Indians after clearing waivers and being outrighted, the club announced. Though the 27-year-old has shown he can get swings and misses from major-league hitters, he has also struggled to control the number of walks he issues. Both aspects of the southpaw’s game have been on display early in 2018, as he compiled a 10:7 K/BB ratio in six innings at Triple-A. That showing caused the Cleveland organization to bump him from the 40-man roster, but also helped get him through waivers after he had been claimed several times previously.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Carlos Gonzalez Likely To Return From DL On Monday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121179 2018-04-30T04:50:08Z 2018-04-30T04:50:08Z
  • Carlos Gonzalez is likely to be activated from the Rockies’ disabled list on Monday, the Athletic’s Nick Groke reports (Twitter link).  Gonzalez was placed on the DL with a hamstring strain and was eligible to be activated today, so he’ll end up missing slightly more than the 10-day minimum.  The veteran outfielder had managed only a .235/.264/.426 slash line over his first 72 PA of the season as Gonzalez tries to rebound from a disappointing 2017 campaign.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Select Contract Of Brooks Pounders, Designate Zach Jemiola]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120738 2018-04-24T20:51:09Z 2018-04-24T20:42:33Z The Rockies announced on Tuesday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Brooks Pounders from Triple-A and cleared a spot on the 40-man roster by designating fellow righty Zach Jemiola for assignment. Right-hander Scott Oberg was optioned to Triple-A to open a spot for Pounders on the 25-man roster.

    Pounders, 27, has appeared in the Majors in each of the past two seasons, totaling 23 innings between the Royals (2016) and Angels (2017) but struggling to a 9.78 ERA in that time. The 6’5″, 265-pound righty has posted solid K/BB numbers, punching out 25 batters against eight free passes (one intentional), but he’s been far too homer prone in that time as well. In those 23 big league frames, he’s surrendered a whopping 10 home runs.

    However, Pounders has consistently thrived at the Triple-A level, where he’s pitched 141 2/3 innings of relief with a 2.99 ERA, similar K/BB numbers and a much more palatable 0.7 HR/9 rate. He’d notched a 3.60 ERA with nine strikeouts against four walks to begin the 2018 season in Albuquerque.

    Jemiola, 24, was a ninth-round pick of the Rockies back in 2012 but found himself protected from the Rule 5 Draft after turning in a pair of solid seasons in A-ball and Double-A, respectively, in 2015 and 2016. Jemiola faltered with a 6.48 ERA in 93 innings last season, however, and a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League (2.74 ERA, 19 strikeouts, nine walks in 23 innings) ultimately wasn’t enough to save his spot on the 40-man roster when the Rox found themselves in need of a fresh arm at the big league level.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies To Sign Brett Oberholtzer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120723 2018-04-24T18:23:21Z 2018-04-24T18:23:21Z The Rockies have inked a minors deal with lefty Brett Oberholtzer, Mike Ashmore of the Courier News and Home News Tribune reports. He had been slated to pitch for the indy ball Somerset Patriots.

    Oberholtzer is a 28-year-old who was originally selected by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2008 draft. He was dealt to the Astros in the 2011 Michael Bourn swap and later sent on to the Phillies in 2015’s Ken Giles trade. In addition to appearing in the majors with the ’Stros and Phils, Oberholtzer has appeared briefly with the Angels.

    All told, Oberholtzer carries a 4.36 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 across 324 frames at the game’s highest level. He did not crack the bigs last year, but did make 24 starts for the Blue Jays’ top affiliate, pitching to a 4.12 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Place Chris Rusin On 10-Day DL, Move Carlos Estevez To 60-Day DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120670 2018-04-24T01:51:37Z 2018-04-24T01:51:37Z The Rockies have announced a trio of pitching moves. Southpaw Chris Rusin will head to the 10-day DL with an intercostal strain, with fellow southpaw Harrison Musgrave replacing him on the active roster.

    Bringing up Musgrave meant opening a 40-man spot, which the Rox accomplished by shifting reliever Carlos Estevez to the 60-day DL. He opened the year on the 10-day list owing to an oblique issue, but is now said to be dealing with an elbow strain. The team says Estevez is not at risk of requiring Tommy John surgery, Nick Groke of The Athletic tweets, though he’ll now have to sit for at least the first two months of the current campaign.

    Rusin, 31, has been a huge asset for the Colorado pen over the past two seasons. The converted starter has consistently given good innings — often, more than one at a time — after having failed to stick in the rotation. Since a rough first outing, Rusin has been effective. His fastball velocity has been in line with prior seasons and he was generating grounders and swinging strikes at rates generally commensurate with his recent work.

    While the Rockies wait for their longman to return, they’ll get a look at a 26-year-old lefty who has yet to reach the game’s highest level. Musgrave has spent the past couple seasons in the upper minors, where he has worked exclusively as a starter. He’s carrying a 3.38 ERA with ten strikeouts and two walks in his 10 2/3 innings at Triple-A Albuquerque thus far in 2018.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Hoffman, Chatwood]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120610 2018-04-23T03:04:25Z 2018-04-23T03:04:25Z
  • The Rockies announced that right-hander Jeff Hoffman will not be optioned to Triple-A, and will instead remain on the 10-day DL and pitch at Triple-A on a rehab assignment. (MLB.com’s Thomas Harding was among those to report the news.)  The former top prospect has been sidelined with a shoulder problem, though Hoffman has managed 11 innings in the minors as he works his way back from the injury.
  • The Rockies didn’t make Tyler Chatwood an offer last winter, which didn’t come as much surprise to the right-hander, as he tells The Athletic’s Nick Groke (subscription required).  “Toward the end of the year, the writing was on the wall that I wasn’t coming back.  I think the feeling was mutual,” Chatwood said.  A change of scenery certainly seemed likely for Chatwood given his very rough career numbers at Coors Field; he mentioned to Groke that his two-seam fastball was particularly ineffective in the thin air.  The general belief around the game was that Chatwood could flourish in a less hitter-friendly environment, which made him a hot commodity in free agency and led to a three-year, $38MM deal with the Cubs.  His first three starts for Chicago have been mixed to say the least, as Chatwood has a 4.60 ERA and an ungainly 14 walks (against 18 strikeouts) over 15 2/3 innings.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Carlos Gonzalez Heads To DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120555 2018-04-22T17:55:48Z 2018-04-22T16:26:41Z
  • The Rockies have sent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to the 10-day DL (retroactive to April 19), per Jenny Cavnar of AT&T Sportsnet (Twitter link). Gonzalez suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday and hasn’t played since. Before that, he got off to a slow start with a .235/.264/.426 line in 72 plate appearances. His injury could open up playing time for outfielder David Dahl, whom the team recalled Sunday. Dahl’s a former highly regarded prospect who impressed as a rookie in 2016, but he hasn’t taken the field in the majors since after missing last season with a rib cage injury.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ian Desmond Discusses Early Season Struggles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120527 2018-04-22T01:00:40Z 2018-04-22T01:00:12Z Although we’re only three weeks into the season, it’s nonetheless discouraging that Rockies first baseman/outfielder Ian Desmond is off to a horrific start after such a disappointing 2017. Desmond, whom the Rockies signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in December 2016, has batted an unsightly .153/.184/.333 and posted minus-0.5 fWAR over 76 plate appearances this month. The 32-year-old’s not panicking, however. “Even though it’s bad right now, I know (my process) works, I know it’s worked in the past, and I believe it,” said Desmond (via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post) “When you’re going through something like this right now is when you really have to believe it, because you can really get sideways if you don’t.” Desmond has the support of manager Bud Black, who stated that “He’ll find his timing, and when he does, he’ll be the Ian Desmond that we’ve seen for eight-plus seasons.” While Desmond has recorded an unappealing 73.1 percent groundball rate this season on the heels of logging a 62.7 percent figure last year, he’s not necessarily aiming to hit more balls in the air. “Looking at it throughout the course of my career, I’m a groundball hitter, I’m a line drive hitter — I don’t think I’m ever going to lead the league in launch angle,” said Desmond, even though he acknowledged that the altitude at Coors Field makes it an especially friendly place for fly ball hitters.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL Notes: Blackmon, Gyorko, Gregerson, Glasnow, Hellickson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120108 2018-04-16T00:28:16Z 2018-04-16T00:28:16Z Though recently-extended Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon is a star outfielder, he spent his early career trying to make it as a pitcher. Kyle Newman of the Denver Post details Blackmon’s story, beginning with his high school tenure in Atlanta. After struggling to gain any significant attention early on, Blackmon began experiencing arm troubles in his junior year at Georgia Tech. The following season, however, saw him excel as a hitter en route to being drafted by the Rockies. He’s now set to earn nine figures throughout the course of his MLB career. There are some insightful quotes and tidbits in Newman’s article, including this quote from manager Walt Weiss: “I didn’t foresee the power — he’s made some adjustments, and there’s lightning in the bat now because his power numbers are pretty amazing considering the type of player he was when he broke in.”

    More from around the National League…

    • The Cardinals have a pair of players set to return soon in Jedd Gyorko and Luke Gregerson, as Joe Trezza of MLB.com reminds us. In fact, both could come off the DL as early as this coming week. Trezza adds that Gyorko’s situation will complicate the infield alignment in St. Louis, as he could sap some playing time from either Kolten Wong or Matt Carpenter (both of whom are currently ice cold at the plate). Gregerson has thrown four scoreless rehab appearances; he began the season on the DL with a hamstring strain.
    • Tyler Glasnow’s first season in relief has yielded good results so far for the Pirates, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The fireballing righty has allowed just a run across six innings in his first three appearances, in part due to an increase in his spin rate. Brink notes that he’s averaged 2,859 revolutions per minute on his curveball, a mark that’s presently 12th in all of MLB. Glasnow’s also increased his average fastball velocity to 96 MPH. “He’s a little bit more free at ease out there on the mound and being himself,” said Ray Searage, renowned pitching coach for the Pirates. “When you have confidence in yourself and try to execute at the best of your ability, you’re going to be more free and easy.”
    • Jeremy Hellickson will officially start for the Nationals tomorrow, Dan Kolko of MASN reports on Twitter. That falls in line with earlier reports that suggested the possibility. Nats fans are surely glad to see anyone but A.J. Cole, who sports a 12.00 ERA through two starts so far this season. There’s a $2MM salary to gain for Hellickson if he sticks in the rotation, as the terms of his minors pact with the club dictate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Issues Suspensions, Fines After Rockies-Padres Brawl]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119936 2018-04-14T16:02:38Z 2018-04-14T16:02:25Z TODAY: Arenado will begin serving his suspension today, and he has been removed from the Rockies’ lineup, Nick Groke of the Denver Post and others reported.

    FRIDAY: MLB is set to hand down a series of suspensions and fines relating to Wednesday’s brawl between the Rockies and Padres. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell tweets, the two primary combatants — star Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and San Diego righty Luis Perdomo — are each slated to sit for a five-game stretch.

    Also earning a decent stretch on ice is Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was tagged for four games. Padres reliever Buddy Baumann received a one-game suspension. All of those players were slapped with undisclosed fines, as were Friars veterans A.J. Ellis and Freddy Galvis and Rox righty German Marquez.

    It is hardly surprising to see punishment handed down after the tumult that occurred after Perdomo spun a fastball behind Arenado’s back and the latter charged the mound, throwing haymakers as he went. Parra evidently landed a punch, which explains his relatively substantial levy.

    Both Arenado and Parra are appealing their suspensions, per Nick Groke of The Athletic (via Twitter). That’ll allow them, at least, to stay in the lineup tonight. Perdomo intends to accept his suspension, per Cassavell (via Twitter), which will likely at least push back his next scheduled start.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Agree To Minor League Deal With David Holmberg]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119573 2018-04-09T16:13:44Z 2018-04-09T16:11:30Z The Rockies have agreed to a minor league pact with left-hander David Holmberg, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The Meister Sports Management client will give Colorado some additional depth both in the rotation and bullpen after spending the bulk of the 2017 campaign with the White Sox.

    Holmberg, 26, appeared in 37 games (seven starts) for the ChiSox last year and totaled 57 2/3 innings of work — a career-high for him at the big league level. The former second-round pick (White Sox, 2009) posted a 4.68 ERA but struggled mightily with his control, as he walked more batters (34) than he struck out (33) in that time. Righties and lefties alike hit Holmberg hard in 2017, and fielding-independent pitching metrics were more bearish than his ERA (6.80 FIP, 6.02 SIERA).

    The southpaw has had considerably more success in Triple-A, however, where he’s logged a total of 299 2/3 innings in his career and worked to a 4.23 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9. Holmberg was more of a fly-ball pitcher for most of his time in the mid and upper levels of the minors, but he’s recently begun to induce quite a few more grounders, notching a ground-ball rate just south of 49 percent over the past two seasons in Triple-A.

    [Related: Colorado Rockies depth chart]

    The Rockies are largely set on lefty relievers in the Majors, with Chris Rusin, Mike Dunn and Jake McGee all slotted into manager Bud Black’s bullpen. There’s no immediate opportunity in the big league rotation, either, where Jon Gray, German Marquez, Chad Bettis, Kyle Freeland and Tyler Anderson are starting as Jeff Hoffman mends his shoulder on the disabled list. But Holmberg could conceivably slot into either the rotation or bullpen for Triple-A Albuquerque as he hopes to earn another look at the big league level.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Reactions To The Charlie Blackmon Extension]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119526 2018-04-08T17:24:01Z 2018-04-08T17:24:01Z Is the Charlie Blackmon deal the beginning of a new trend that other free agents could follow in the coming seasons? Mark Feinsand of MLB.com asks this question and examines the subject in depth. The extension takes Blackmon out of a very crowded free agent pool next offseason that’s set to feature Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado and Dallas Keuchel, all of whom are widely expected to be the subjects of massive bidding wars. “After the past few markets, there’s no question this is going to become a trend,” one agent said of the pact. “You will see clubs look to sign players very young.” However, another agent believes that Blackmon made a mistake by signing the extension so early, as he’d have been the second-most coveted outfielder beyond Bryce Harper. The trade-off in this case is simple… a soon-to-be free agent in his 30s perhaps gave up some earnings upside, and in exchange doesn’t have to worry about what might or might not happen in a volatile free agent market next season.

    A pair of other reactions to the Blackmon-Rockies accord…

    • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post views the extension through a different lens; he wonders how this pact will directly affect fellow Rockies star Nolan Arenado. Saunders believes that the Blackmon deal makes it significantly less likely that the Rockies can afford to keep Arenado in the fold for the long term. After all, the All-Star third baseman could command a deal in the $300MM range, which will certainly be difficult for the Rockies to manage in combination with the $94MM in new money they just guaranteed to Blackmon.
    • Blackmon is just the latest in a line of players to take themselves out of the 2018-2019 free agent class, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The baseball world has been talking about the impending class for years, but Matt Harvey’s poor performance the past few seasons has largely taken the possibility of a nine-figure deal off the table, Jose Fernandez tragically passed away, and now Blackmon has extended his tenure with the Rockies. Others such as Anthony Rizzo, Corey Kluber and Anthony Rizzo could have been free agents this winter as well had they not signed long-term deals earlier in their careers. Though Greg Holland, Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Lucroy are among the unexpected additions to this class, it seems as though a class that once looked like an unprecedented convergence of free agent juggernauts has been watered down a bit.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Powell, Ramirez, Blackmon, Rodriguez, Indians]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119511 2018-04-08T13:58:38Z 2018-04-08T13:58:38Z Athletics outfielder Boog Powell is headed to the DL after suffering a knee sprain, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The left-handed-hitting Powell has hit just .167/.200/.292 in the first week of the season, though he did impress with a 135 wRC+ in limited action with the A’s last season. Powell beat out top prospect Dustin Fowler for the starting center field job during spring training, but he’ll now be absent for at least ten days while rehabbing.

    Other injury notes from around baseball…

    • Maria Guardado of MLB.com tweets that Angels righty J.C. Ramirez exited his most recent start with “forearm tightness”. It’s highly disturbing news for the Halos; Ramirez was diagnosed with a partially-torn UCL in his throwing elbow last season, but elected to go with stem cell surgery rather than opt for a Tommy John procedure. Ramirez has thrown 6 2/3 innings this season; he’s struck out four opposing hitters while allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and seven walks.
    • Rockies star Charlie Blackmon is dealing with some back spasms, but told reporters he is not injured (h/t Nick Groke of the Denver Post). “It was a little bit tight for most of the game and kept getting tighter. I’ve dealt with it before and been all right.” Blackmon, of course, just signed an extension with Colorado and is a key component to their contention plans this season.
    • The Red Sox have officially activated left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez from the 10-day disabled list. Right-hander Marcus Walden has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in a related move. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes that Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson are expected to pitch out of the bullpen for the time being, as the Sox have a number of off days coming up; those days will eliminate the need for a fifth starter for the time being. The 25-year-old pitched to a 4.19 ERA last season in 137 1/3 innings last season, and is coming off a winter knee surgery.
    • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com has the latest updates on a number of Indians injuries. Right-hander Danny Salazar (shoulder) is still unable to throw off a mound with “full intensity”, so he’s still a few weeks away from game activity. Third baseman Giovanny Urshela (hamstring), on the other hand, is just a week away from possibly starting a minor-league rehab assignment. Left-hander Ryan Merritt (knee) has resumed throwing and is scheduled to pitch an extended spring game on Wednesday, while righty Cody Anderson (elbow) is finally back to throwing off a mound following Tommy John surgery in March of 2017; he’s “several week away” from potential game activity. Of these four players, only Anderson has a minor-league option remaining, meaning the Tribe will be facing a significant roster crunch in the near future. In other Tribe injury news, Lonnie Chisenhall has officially been placed on the 10-day DL. Tyler Naquin has been recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take his place (h/t Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blackmon Deal Unlikely To Impact Arenado, LeMahieu]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119265 2018-04-05T04:37:32Z 2018-04-05T04:37:32Z Hours after the Rockies announced an extension for star center fielder Charlie Blackmon, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post chatted with Blackmon’s teammates and manager about the newly inked contract. The question on the minds of many in the wake of the $108MM deal, which guarantees Blackmon $94MM in new money over the next five seasons (he was already signed at $14MM this year), was whether the Rox would be able to keep both Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. However, Arenado tells Saunders that his teammate’s considerable payday hasn’t prompted him to think about his own contract. “Honestly, I didn’t think about that,” said Arenado — a free agent after the 2019 season. “…I would rather not negotiate during the season. I’m happy for Chuck, and it’s not about me, it’s about him. I didn’t really put me and him together with it.”

    Hours after the Rockies announced an extension for star center fielder Charlie Blackmon, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post chatted with Blackmon’s teammates and manager about the newly inked contract. The question on the minds of many in the wake of the $108MM deal, which guarantees Blackmon $94MM in new money over the next five seasons (he was already signed at $14MM this year), was whether the Rox would be able to keep both Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. However, Arenado tells Saunders that his teammate’s considerable payday hasn’t prompted him to think about his own contract. “Honestly, I didn’t think about that,” said Arenado — a free agent after the 2019 season. “…I would rather not negotiate during the season. I’m happy for Chuck, and it’s not about me, it’s about him. I didn’t really put me and him together with it.”

    Even more telling, though, were comments by second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was candid in expressing his doubt that his camp and the Rockies will even hold talks. “No, there have been no talks and I don’t think there will be,” said LeMahieu. The 29-year-old LeMahieu, a two-time Gold Glove winner and All-Star, is set to hit the open market at season’s end.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Extend Charlie Blackmon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119217 2018-04-04T20:39:06Z 2018-04-04T19:02:20Z The Rockies have announced an extension with outfielder Charlie Blackmon. In addition to re-working his already agreed-upon 2018 salary, the new deal covers five additional seasons, giving the Rockies control over three would-be free agent campaigns and providing the ACES client with a pair of player options for two further years.

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    Blackmon will be guaranteed $94MM in new money, $63MM of which comes over the three seasons that are locked in before the player options, according to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports (Twitter link). He will also receive the same amount ($14MM) he was already promised for 2018, though $2MM of that figure will now come by way of signing bonus. He’ll then earn $21MM annually from 2019 through 2021.

    In the final two potential seasons, Blackmon will consider a $21MM player option for 2022 and, if he’s still playing under the contract, a $10MM option for 2023. That final option number could escalate by up to $8MM. As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets, it will move north by $5MM so long as Blackmon takes 400 plate appearances. He can boost the figure by $2MM with a first, second, or third-place finish in the MVP voting or by $1MM if he lands fourth or fifth. The contract also includes limited no-trade protection.

    Blackmon, who’ll turn 32 in July, has ramped up his productivity over the past two seasons to become one of the game’s best all-around outfielders. He has won consecutive Silver Sluggers and placed fifth in the National League MVP voting in 2017.

    More importantly, the numbers suggest that Blackmon is primed to continue his success. Blackmon has racked up 400 hits over the past two seasons, carrying an eye-popping .327/.390/.578 cumulative slash line that impresses even after accounting for the fact that he plays half of his games at Coors Field. He no longer swipes many bags, but made up for that lag in the counting-stat department by hitting a career-high 37 long balls last season. Notably, he also boosted his walk rate to a career-high 9.0% in 2017. While that’s hardly a premium figure, it’s promising that it is moving northward at this stage. And Blackmon has also fared rather well historically against left-handed pitching.

    Though he grades mostly as an average performer in center, and may ultimately move out to a corner spot before this deal is up, Blackmon is a solid defender and good baserunner as well. He has also stayed on the field consistently since emerging as a full-time player in 2014.

    The move will keep one of the Rockies’ biggest stars on hand through at least his age-34 season while committing the team financially through his age-36 effort. Whether the Colorado organization can similarly lock up its other top player, third baseman Nolan Arenado (a free agent after 2019), remains to be seen.

    This contract also removes a significant player from the much-anticipated 2018-19 free agent class. While Blackmon never was going to carry quite the earning power of some of the other intriguing names who’ll soon reach the open market, he had certainly profiled as one of several players that could have pushed for nine-figure contracts.

    As it turns out, Blackmon’s new contract topped nine figures only nominally. Of course, he’s locking that figure in now rather than rolling the dice on how things turn out in the season to come — not to mention how the next free agent period will go after a long, strange 2017-18 offseason. And he’ll get to stay with the only organization he has played for. There’s also value in controlling the outcome of the final two seasons of the deal, though perhaps not all that much given how long in the tooth Blackmon will be when it comes time to make a call on those years.

    Blackmon also had to contend with anticipated market unease over his age as well as the fact that he has rather significant home/road splits (131 wRC+ vs. 100 wRC+ for his career). It was fairly unlikely that he’d have received a much lengthier commitment upon entering the market at 32 years of age. The Coors factor is harder to gauge, but could certainly also have been a factor in limiting interest.

    All told, there’s certainly a case to be made that Blackmon could have earned a fair bit more had he waited. Way back in the 2012-13 offseason, Josh Hamilton secured a five-year, $125MM pact entering his age-32 season. Then again, the amply accomplished Lorenzo Cain — nowhere near the hitter Blackmon is, but a better performer in other areas — is only months older than Blackmon and secured just $80MM for his own five-year term. Another monster season might, in the right market circumstances, have allowed Blackmon to drive up a bidding war and earned a decent bit more than he will. Odds are, though, that he will not have left an enormous pile of cash on the table when all is said and done.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: Colorado Rockies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118774 2018-04-03T04:14:59Z 2018-04-03T02:02:40Z This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Major League Signings

    Trades & Claims

    • None

    Option Decisions

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Needs Addressed

    After turning in a solid, Wild Card-winning campaign in 2017, but facing a difficult task ahead in a strong NL West division, the Rockies largely elected to utilize the open market to address their key needs. The result was a fairly straightforward path that resulted in several (relatively) early investments as much of the market stalled. With a focus on re-loading the relief corps — the one area of free agency that did follow a generally typical path in a strange winter — the Rox ended up as one of the more active spenders in the game.

    Before getting underway with the relief unit, the Rockies addressed their need for a backstop. The club pursued Jonathan Lucroy, who had a solid late-2017 run in Colorado, but moved on when he did not bite at the team’s three-year offer. Instead, veteran Chris Iannetta secured a somewhat larger-than-anticipated promise, though the annual rate falls in line with what quality non-regular receivers have earned in recent years. Iannetta is coming off of a strong showing with the division-rival Diamondbacks, though at 35 years of age it’s reasonable to anticipate he won’t quite perform to the same level offensively (.254/.354/.511 with 17 home runs in 316 plate appearances). Iannetta won’t be pressed into everyday duties, anyway, with Tony Wolters expected to share time and the still-interesting Tom Murphy also still in the organization.

    With that decision out of the way, the Rockies turned to addressing the openings created when a notable trio of relievers departed at the end of the 2017 season. Closer Greg Holland turned down both a player option and a qualifying offer, thus joining southpaw Jake McGee and mid-season trade acquisition Pat Neshek on the open market.

    The Rox ended up striking Winter Meetings deals with both McGee and sturdy late-inning hurler Bryan Shaw. Both took down rather hefty guarantees ($27MM apiece) on three-year terms. Those contracts beat expectations, but did not seem entirely out of place in a bullpen market that came out of the gates hot.

    Colorado nearly came away from the Swan and Dolphin resort with three pen additions, as the team reportedly made progress on a deal to bring back Holland as the meetings drew to a close. Those talks fizzled out, however, leaving the Rockies to line up a deal — at a reputedly similar price to what had been dangled to Holland — with top free-agent closer Wade Davis. He’s earning at a record annual rate for a reliever, but it was nice to get him on a three-year term when it long seemed four were likely. Davis seems the better bet than Holland, so it all worked out for the Rox, though the club surely wouldn’t have minded lucking into Holland on a one-year deal instead, as the Cardinals did.

    After plunking down $106MM in total commitments to those three relievers, the Rockies seemed likely to turn to another area of uncertainty: first base. The Ian Desmond experiment did not really work out last year, and he seemed better situated to taking residence in the corner outfield with Carlos Gonzalez hitting free agency. Mark Reynolds, who took the bulk of the action at first in 2017 and performed solidly, was also back on the open market and was one of several cheaply available possibilities. While quality prospect Ryan McMahon loomed, finding a complement to his lefty bat (if not a higher-end player) appeared to be the next item on the list.

    While there was evidently some chatter with Reynolds, however, the team never ended up adding a right-handed-hitting first baseman. Instead, after a long transactional lull, GM Jeff Bridich lined up a fairly surprising reunion with Gonzalez, who faced a difficult market situation after a substandard 2017 season. His re-signing was welcomed by the clubhouse, but also creates some questions as the season gets underway.

    Questions Remaining

    The Rockies know Gonzalez better than anyone, and they obviously feel he has more in the tank at 32 years of age. He’ll earn less annually (up to $8MM) than any of the three just-signed relievers, but on only a one-year commitment, and the price doesn’t feel too steep for a player of his established ability level. It prices in CarGo’s ceiling as well as his injuries and poor 2017 production.

    Still, it’s rather a curious fit, because the Rockies are loaded with lefty outfield bats. Star Charlie Blackmon is locked into center for the coming season, though he’ll test free agency at year end unless the sides come to a new deal during the coming campaign. Gerardo Parra was already slated for something like semi-regular duty after a nice bounceback season. Highly regarded youngsters Raimel Tapia and David Dahl are also options along with Mike Tauchman.

    As it turns out, there are four southpaw swinging outfielders on the roster to open the year, with Desmond shifting back to first base. While the general talent level is fine, it’s an extremely awkward alignment. Blackmon is obviously going to play every day, but the corner rotation looks hapless against left-handed pitching. Gonzalez and Parra both have sizable platoon splits over their careers; Tauchman hit lefties well last year in a small sample (101 plate appearances) but has otherwise been far better with the platoon advantage in the upper minors.

    To be sure, the Rox could end up acquiring or promoting another righty bat to take a fourth outfielder role. Noel Cuevas is perhaps the top internal option after Desmond. Even if that comes to pass, it doesn’t make further sense of the decision to splurge on Gonzalez. Barring injury, Tapia and Dahl are now largely buried at Triple-A for the season to come, despite the fact that both have already shown the ability to perform at the game’s highest level.

    Meanwhile, the club has Desmond locked into most of the time at first. When he was first signed to play there, the decision was hard to comprehend. Desmond, after all, generally profiled as a solid-but-streaky hitter, great baserunner, and good defender with lots of versatility. Plugging such a player at first base never made loads of sense, but it seemed the Rockies might at least utilize him elsewhere in the future. Using Desmond as a much-needed right-handed-hitting outfielder while investing the $8MM CarGo cash elsewhere made quite a lot more sense on paper. Indeed, given the glut of sluggers, the Rockies easily could have found a player with superior offensive chops to Desmond while saving the bulk of the money for any mid-season needs that might arise. The resulting roster would have been more cost-efficient and much better positioned to take advantage of platoon advantages. Unless the Rockies are all but certain — despite the evidence to the contrary — that Gonzalez is primed to return to being a premium bat, the decision to utilize those funds on the former star is about as perplexing as the move for Desmond was last winter.

    Of course, the Colorado organization was able to reach the postseason despite the rough showing from Desmond last year. And perhaps there’s still reason to hope he can be a part of an otherwise quality infield unit. Nolan Arenado remains one of the game’s best all-around players, while DJ LeMahieu is a good option at second entering his final season of team control. There’s a bit more uncertainty in the rest of the unit. At short, Trevor Story seems a likely bet to provide quality glovework — UZR has rated him as average, DRS as excellent — though his offensive output remains in question. Story burst on the scene with 27 home runs in just 415 plate appearances in 2016, but he dropped back to 24 dingers in 555 trips to the dish last season — and also went down on strikes 34.4% of the time while sporting an ugly .308 on-base percentage. Iannetta and Wolters aren’t a terribly exciting pairing behind the dish, but Murphy perhaps still offers a bit of upside if Wolters again lags at the plate.

    The new Rockies relief unit looks to be quite a good one. While there’s ample risk in the lengthy, high-dollar contracts that were required to land the team’s late-inning trio, all the pitchers acquired seem likely to be productive, at least in the near term. Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn have plenty of late-inning experience of their own; while each struggled to limit their free passes last year, their power arsenals are still impressive. Lefty Chris Rusin has been a highly useful multi-inning piece, adding a different dimension to the group. And there’s some young fire from the likes of Antonio Senzatela (a multi-inning threat after spending most of 2017 as a starter), Carlos Estevez (who’ll open on the DL but has big-time raw stuff), and Jairo Diaz (who’s still trying to iron things out in the minors). There isn’t much established depth beyond that group, as non-roster invitee Brooks Pounders is the only other reliever in the organization with MLB experience.

    And that brings us to a rotation that did not require offseason tweaking, but isn’t loaded with certainties either. Whether Jon Gray will continue to improve remains to be seen, but he’s a quality front-of-the-rotation starter as-is. German Marquez emerged with a very strong 2017 effort at just 22 years of age, when Kyle Freeland showed an ability to get grounders and good results in the majors, though neither has a long track record at the game’s highest level. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Tyler Anderson, whose first start of the new season was a mess, but he could be productive if he can tamp down on the long balls. Righty Chad Bettis will look to get fully back up to speed after making his return from testicular cancer in 2017.

    It’s tough to see that five-man unit ending up as one of the best in the National League, but it could well be good enough to support another postseason run. Senzatela will be available if a need arises, though he may need some time to ramp up to a starter’s workload if he’s called upon in the middle of the year. It’s not exactly promising to see Jeff Hoffman sidelined by shoulder issues, though he could still be a factor. Otherwise, there are four starters on the 40-man roster — Yency Almonte, Zach Jemiola, Sam Howard, and Jesus Tinoco — that all lack MLB experience but could be given a first shot. The Rockies haven’t shied away from relying on young arms in recent years, after all, and any of that group could show up in the rotation or pen.

    Overview

    The Rockies have really extended their payroll in recent seasons. They first pushed past $100MM by the end of the 2015 campaign, reached $156MM by the close of 2017, and now open 2018 with a club-record of just under $137MM on the books. That has helped the club add in some rather expensive complimentary pieces around a core of excellent position players and a cost-effective set of starters. And the results were on display with the nice run last year.

    Trouble is, the Rockies are facing stringent competition both in the NL West and in the Wild Card hunt in a top-heavy National League. And the payroll dynamic will soon get tricky as their starters hit arbitration, Arenado reaches his final arb year (at what will surely be a huge rate), and Blackmon and LeMahieu prepare to hit the open market. There’s plenty of good young talent still moving toward the majors — to Colorado’s credit, they’ve avoided parting with it via trade — though it may not quite fully arrive by the time these changes occur.

    If things don’t break right in 2018, and the next round of premium talent isn’t quite ready, it could be a bit of an awkward winter. Arenado’s situation will no doubt hang over the organization regardless. But that’ll all go much smoother if the Rockies play to the level they hope. While there’s little question the roster, as assembled, can compete, some of the decisions may not have optimally allocated resources. In particular, the thinking on Desmond and Gonzalez is still a bit difficult to comprehend fully — though the Rockies seem to believe they’re best off betting on talent and character. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it all turns out over the course of the 2018 campaign.

    How would you grade the Rockies’ winter efforts? (Link for app users.)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ian Desmond Day-To-Day With Right Knee Soreness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118920 2018-04-04T19:41:38Z 2018-04-01T13:27:25Z
  • Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond left the team’s game early Saturday with right knee soreness, and he’s now day-to-day, according to Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Desmond got off to a good start prior to the injury, going 4 for 10 with a home run, as he attempts to rebound from an injury-filled, highly disappointing 2017. Colorado replaced him with Ryan McMahon on Saturday.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Giants’ Pitching Injuries]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118440 2018-03-27T23:29:38Z 2018-03-27T23:29:38Z The injury bug has continued to attack Giants pitching, as manager Bruce Bochy told reporters (including NBCSports.com’s Alex Pavlovic and Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group) that right-hander Julian Fernandez has suffered a UCL sprain and is headed to the disabled list.  Furthermore, closer Mark Melancon’s availability for Opening Day could be in question, as his arm is still bothering him after making back-to-back appearances last Thursday and Friday.

    Fernandez was selected out of the Rockies’ farm system in last December’s Rule 5 Draft, and would’ve had to remain on San Francisco’s 25-man roster all season or else be offered back to Colorado.  Placing Fernandez on the DL would keep him in the Giants organization for now, though the larger concern is the 22-year-old’s health status.  The timeline for such UCL injuries vary greatly due to the severity of the sprain, though Fernandez will likely be sidelined for at least a few months.

    If Fernandez did require Tommy John surgery, that procedure would have an interesting big-picture impact on the Giants.  As The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly observes, Fernandez would be placed on the Major League disabled list and clock a year of service time while recovering from a TJ procedure, and he would also earn the $545K minimum salary.  Even that small payroll addition would be an added stress for a Giants team that has very little space under the $197MM luxury tax threshold, after the team made a point this offseason of somewhat limiting its spending to get under the threshold and reset its tax overage counter.  That $545K would be an expense that the Giants weren’t planning to make at all for Fernandez, as he struggled (13.50 ERA) over 7 1/3 spring innings and potentially could’ve been considered not worthy of a 25-man spot.

    Melancon’s back-to-back outings marked the first time he’d pitched in consecutive days this spring, as the veteran reliever continues his recovery from forearm surgery last September.  Needless to say, any further soreness is a red flag for both he and the team, though Bochy said that Melancon’s roster status wouldn’t be determined until after he tests his arm further by playing catch over the next day or two.  Melancon has been bothered by some arm fatigue throughout camp and pitched in just five games throughout Spring Training as the team tried to bring him along slowly.

    The closer is trying to rebound after a disappointing and injury-marred first season in San Francisco that saw him post a 4.50 ERA over 30 innings.  If Melancon does go on the disabled list, the Giants could turn to setup men Hunter Strickland or Tony Watson for save situations, or potentially again use Sam Dyson as closer as they did in 2017.  Dyson, however, has struggled through a very rough spring.

    It has already been a brutal spring health-wise for the Giants, with Madison Bumgarner (fractured finger) and Jeff Samardzija (strained pec) both going down with injuries that have badly stretched the team’s pitching depth.  GM Bobby Evans told Baggarly and other reporters that “I anticipate we will remain internal” in regards to finding replacements, though Evans is open to the idea of potentially adding new pitchers.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Tigers Release Alexi Amarista]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117943 2018-03-24T13:50:39Z 2018-03-24T13:50:39Z The Tigers have granted infielder Alexi Amarista his unconditional release, the team’s PR account has tweeted. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Amarista had said just yesterday that he’d wait until the end of camp before “weighing his options”, but something seems to have changed in the past 24 hours or so. The 28-year-old had signed a minors deal with Detroit late in January.

    Amarista finished the 2017 season on the Rockies’ roster, with whom he hit just .238/.269/.351 across 176 plate appearances. While he filled in at many different positions around the diamond, defensive metrics rated him poorly at each one of them. Overall, fWAR, bWAR and WARP agree that he played about a win below replacement level, which is notable considering he accrued under a third of a season’s worth of plate appearances. As such, the club decided to pay him a $150K buyout rather than pick up his $2.5MM option.

    The decision for a rebuilding Detroit club to release Amarista doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s likely that said decision was influenced by the desire to keep number one overall Rule 5 pick Victor Reyes on the 25-man roster. The club would also probably like to give Niko Goodrum and JaCoby Jones a chance to prove themselves at the major league level.

    Amarista owns just a .231/.275/.323 slash line across career 1,901 plate appearances with the Angels, Padres and Rockies. While his bat obviously doesn’t provide any value, his ability to play both middle infield positions (in addition to third base and the outfield) has kept him working at the MLB level since his 2011 debut.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Tauchman Pushing For Roster Spot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117216 2018-03-18T01:31:14Z 2018-03-18T01:31:21Z
  • Rockies outfielder David Dahl is likely to begin the year in the minors, thus opening up a spot on Colorado’s bench for fellow outfielder Mike Tauchman, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post explains. The 27-year-old Tauchman brings minimal major league experience (32 plate appearances, all of which came last season), but he has performed well in the minors and could make more sense for a reserve role than Dahl, 23. While Dahl’s a former high-end prospect who impressed as a rookie two years ago, a rib injury kept him from the majors last season, and there’s no obvious path to playing time for him in Colorado at the moment. As such, he’s likely to begin the year as a full-time player at the Triple-A level.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Re-Sign Carlos Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116577 2018-03-16T19:03:21Z 2018-03-16T19:00:49Z March 16: ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Gonzalez is actually guaranteed just $5MM on his deal with the Rox, though he can earn $3MM of incentives quite easily (Twitter link). Per Crasnick, Gonzalez will earn a $1MM bonus for accruing 125, 150 and 175 days of Major League service time this season. In other words, as long as he’s on an active roster or disabled list (be it the Rockies’ or another team) for that number of days, he’ll receive those bonuses. In effect, he’ll get that $3MM so long as he isn’t released.

    March 12: The club has announced the signing.

    March 9, 12:23pm: Gonzalez will be guaranteed $8MM on his deal with the Rockies, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link).

    9:44am: The Rockies are reportedly set to bring right fielder Carlos Gonzalez back to Denver. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the two sides are merely working through the final language details of the contract, and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi adds that there’s an agreement “in principle” on a one-year pact. Heyman reported last night that the two sides were close to an agreement on a one-year deal. Gonzalez is represented by the Boras Corporation.

    Carlos Gonzalez | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    A reunion between the two sides has been reported to be a possibility for much of the offseason, but CarGo remained on the market well into Spring Training as he explored all opportunities. He’ll now return to the team with which he broke out as a star-caliber player back in 2010 and the team which he has thrice represented at the All-Star Game over the past nine seasons.

    Gonzalez, 32, picked a poor time to struggle through one of the worst seasons of his big league career. The slugger posted a .262/.339/.423 slash and 14 home runs in 2017 — his lowest total in a full season at any point in his career. While he rebounded in the season’s second half and finished out his 2017 campaign with a torrid .327/.401/.553 batting line in his final 227 plate appearances of the season, that apparently didn’t prove convincing enough to garner a multi-year deal on the open market. (Gonzalez did sport a ridiculous .401 BABIP during that turnaround.)

    He’ll now look to carry as much of that production as possible into a full season and rebuild his stock in an effort to land a longer-term pact next winter. Bryce Harper, of course, headlines the 2018-19 crop of free-agent outfielders, and CarGo will also face competition in the form of Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones and longtime teammate Charlie Blackmon.

    Gonzalez was one of baseball’s most feared hitters from 2010-13, when he batted .311/.370/.556 in nearly 2200 plate appearances with the Rockies. Since that time, he’s been more good than great, posting a collective .272/.332/.484 line, which translates to a 103 OPS+ after adjusting for Coors Field. To be fair, he’s turned in two fairly strong seasons — including a 40-homer 2015 campaign — against two weak seasons in that time, and his 2014 season was ruined by a knee injury that has not sent him back to the disabled list since.

    As far as 2018 goes, Gonzalez will likely supplant Gerardo Parra as the primary right fielder. His return will present Rockies brass with a similar outfield quandary to the one they faced last spring, as the team will now have Blackmon and Gonzalez as outfield regulars with Parra, Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and a (hopefully) healthier David Dahl all in the mix for the remaining outfield at-bats. It’s possible that Gonzalez could be platooned to an extent, and there’s previously been talk of him eventually getting some occasional looks at first base, where Desmond also has experience. Extra time at first base for Desmond could take some time away from top prospect Ryan McMahon, but McMahon also has experience at second base and third base, giving skipper Bud Black plenty of opportunities to get creative with his lineup.

    Regardless of how the team divides the playing time, the added depth should serve as a boon to the on-field product, and CarGo’s return should also go over well in the clubhouse. Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado recently lauded his longtime teammate in an interview with the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, and the Post’s Nick Groke tweeted this morning that the clubhouse seems energized by the news, with Blackmon stating that he “would love to have CarGo back.”

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[CarGo's Return Could Push McMahon To Minors]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116962 2018-03-14T04:03:03Z 2018-03-14T02:14:16Z
  • Carlos Gonzalez’s return to the Rockies will lead to more time at first base for Ian Desmond, which clouds prospect Ryan McMahon’s role with the big league club, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. McMahon, who has had a strong Spring Training thus far, was perhaps in line to receive a fairly lengthy look at first but could instead be ticketed for Triple-A to get regular at-bats rather than occasional playing time in a limited role with the Rox. Manager Bud Black suggested to Saunders that the final two weeks of camp will be especially important for McMahon, as he’ll be facing higher-quality pitchers as teams begin to narrow their rosters. “That gives you a good gauge, the last couple of weeks, of what you are seeing,” said Black. “Not so much the first couple of weeks — for me.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Made Prior Offers To CarGo, Lucroy]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116618 2018-03-10T21:13:18Z 2018-03-10T05:41:31Z
  • Three prominent players have reportedly agreed to terms in recent days, all settling for much less in dollars and years than had been expected. Reports also suggest that those players could have had greater earnings had they taken offers available previously. Though agent Scott Boras says Mike Moustakas never received a multi-year contract offer before returning to the Royals, two sources tell Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star that the Angels dangled a three-year pact in the range of $45MM. Meanwhile, the Rockies are said to have offered slugger Carlos Gonzalez an extension in the realm of three years and $45MM this time last year, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. And the Rox also were willing to go to three years, at a $21MM guarantee, to catcher Jonathan Lucroy earlier this winter, Nightengale adds on Twitter. (Lucroy is reportedly in agreement on a one-year deal with the Athletics, though terms are not yet known and the deal is not finalized.) Of course, in each case it’s easy to understand why the player in question might have elected against jumping at the reported opportunity at the point at which it was presented.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies “Close” To Deal With Carlos Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116537 2018-03-09T03:49:41Z 2018-03-09T02:11:12Z The Rockies are “close” to reaching a deal to bring back free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). If finalized, the deal would be for a one year term, per the report.

    The possibility of a reunion has existed to some extent all winter, but whispers have picked up steam of late. His former teammates have pined for a return for the long-time Colorado star and GM Jeff Bridich has suggested all along it was at least a possibility.

    Of course, there have long been some practical reasons to think that Gonzalez’s time with the Rox would come to a close. Though the team did pursue an extension with him last winter, the current roster composition does not exactly scream out for a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder.

    At present, the Colorado outfield already features at least two lefty-hitting options in Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra. Two of the club’s most intriguing young outfielders, Raimel Tapia and David Dahl, also hit from the left side. While it has previously been suggested that Gonzalez could slide into first base, the Rockies have a talented left-handed-hitting youngster slated to see time there in Ryan McMahon.

    Notably, Gonzalez has struggled particularly against left-handed pitching in recent seasons. He has not posted even league-average production against southpaws in a given campaign since back in 2013.

    If the Rockies can figure out a way to spread the playing time in a sensible manner, there’s certainly still reason to hope that Gonzalez can produce at the plate. He limped to a .262/.339/.423 slash last year, with just 14 home runs in his 534 plate appearances. But he did carry a personal-best 10.5% walk rate and likely shouldn’t be counted out for at least a partial power recovery. Over the prior two seasons, he swatted 65 long balls and posted solidly above-average overall batting lines even after accounting for the boost from playing at Coors Field.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[CarGo In Contact With Multiple Clubs; Rox Still A Possibility]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116509 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z
  • Heyman also writes that there’s still a chance the Rockies could bring Carlos Gonzalez back to Denver. The Rox have remained in touch with Gonzalez and Scott Boras, though Gonzalez is talking with “a couple” of clubs as he looks to find an offer to his liking. There hasn’t been much in the way of injuries to starting outfielders among contending clubs thus far in Spring Training, so no new opportunities for Gonzalez have really arisen.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Uehara, Lincecum, Senzatela, Hoffman, Kohn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116422 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z Reliever Koji Uehara says that he is open to considering offers from teams in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, as the Japan Times recently reported. That’s something of a reversal from the 42-year-old reliever, who had indicated he did not intend to play again in his homeland. After preparing for the MLB season, but finding interest scant, Uehara now says he has changed his mind and would consider pitching once again in the NPB. It’s at least a bit surprising that Uehara has not generated more pursuers among major-league clubs. He continued to produce declining results in 43 innings last year, finishing with a 3.98 ERA, but still ended with 10.5 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and generated a strong 15.8% swinging-strike rate.

    Here are a few more pitching notes from around the game:

    • While it’s clear the Rangers intend to utilize new pitching addition Tim Lincecum in the bullpen, just how he’ll be deployed isn’t yet clear. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram posted a video of the former ace discussing his new club. It seems that Lincecum is intrigued by the possibility of closing but is largely open to fitting in wherever the team prefers. “They see that,” Lincecum says of working in the 9th. “I feel like I could do that. I’ve done that in the Cape and at the college level. It’s going to be, obviously, different, but I feel like I could tap into that mentality.”
    • The Rockies elected this offseason to make a number of bullpen additions but not to pursue outside acquisitions for the rotation. That decision was no doubt as much about the team’s assessment of its internal options as it was about a need to maximize resources. In a pair of articles, here and here, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports on two key staff members. Antonio Senzatela is said to be hard at work on his secondary offerings, with a new change-up in the works alongside continuing work on a curve. Meanwhile, fellow young righty Jeff Hoffman dealing with a shoulder issue. There’s no indication its a serious injury, but Hoffman is still going to rest for at least a week or more before he resumes throwing. As things stand, the Rox may be lined up to utilize a five-man unit that does not include either of these hurlers, as the current Roster Resource depth chart projects, but both are important parts of the near-term and future picture in Colorado.
    • When the Twins brought in righty Michael Kohn last fall, the hope was that he could rebound from a rotator cuff problem and get his career back on track. Unfortunately, he’ll now require an absence of four to six months to recuperate from a “nerve issue,” per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). The 31-year-old Kohn has a 3.52 ERA in 115 career innings in the majors, though that has come with a 111:79 K/BB ratio. It’s hard to read much into his results last year, as they were mostly accumulated in the low minors, but Kohn was able to make it through 13 solid innings late in 2017, over which he racked up 18 strikeouts against just four walks while permitting two earned runs on eight hits.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Nolan Arenado Doesn’t Expect Rockies Extension This Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116208 2018-03-04T18:22:10Z 2018-03-04T18:20:01Z The prospect of an extension between the Rockies and star third baseman Nolan Arenado doesn’t seem likely in the near future, as Arenado tells MLB.com’s Thomas Harding (Twitter links).  “I don’t think anything is going to happen until after the season. We have a good team and our focus is on winning — as it should be,” Arenado said.  He also added “and that’s what everyone wants,” which could indicate that both he and the Rockies are content to table negotiations for the time being.

    There has been some inevitable speculation about Arenado’s future as he gets closer to free agency, and Colorado GM Jeff Bridich said in December that “there definitely are conversations that will happen” between the team and the player about a potential extension.  That said, there also isn’t yet any pressing need for talks between the two sides given that Arenado is controlled through the 2019 season.  The third baseman will earn $17.75MM in 2018 as per the terms of a two-year deal signed in January 2017 that covered two years of Arenado’s arbitration eligibility.  He is eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before hitting the open market in the 2019-20 offseason.

    The Rockies have historically shown a willingness to spend big to keep star players in-house, as evidenced by past extensions for Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Carlos Gonzalez.  It is worth noting that all of those deals were made during the tenure of former general manager Dan O’Dowd, though Bridich has certainly been behind his own share of hefty contracts (i.e. Ian Desmond, Wade Davis) in his time running Colorado’s front office.

    An Arenado extension certainly projects as the largest contract in franchise history given the third baseman’s durability, youth (he turns 27 in April) and outstanding play both offensively and defensively.  Given the huge money that would be involved in locking Arenado up, one can’t blame the Rockies for wanting one more season of information before fully exploring a $200MM+ deal.  The Rox also have Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu scheduled for free agency next winter, and re-signing either could be difficult if a huge future commitment has already been made to Arenado.

    From Arenado’s own perspective, he has already achieved enough financial security that he may not feel much urgency to complete a long-term deal.  He has already banked $5MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility, $29.5MM via that two-year agreement, and he’ll be in line for a salary worth $20MM in his final arb-eligible season.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Reynolds, Valaika, O’Malley, Dodgers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116151 2018-03-03T20:44:41Z 2018-03-03T20:44:41Z The Rockies “remain in contact” with free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. Reynolds, who hit 30 homers for Colorado in 2017, is the best free-agent first baseman available on the market, and a reunion between the two has long seemed like a solid fit in theory. However, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently contacted Reynolds’ agent, Jeff Boris, who tells him that the Rockies haven’t made any type of offer to Reynolds this winter.  The 34-year-old carries a .274/.354/.471 slash line across two seasons with Colorado, but graded poorly among first baseman in quality of contact statistics like hard contact rate, average exit velocity and barrels per plate appearance last season.

    Other small news items out of the NL West…

    • In other Rockies news, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes that the team is in a bit of a bind following news of injuries to utilitymen Pat Valaika and Shawn O’Malley. Valaika is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with an oblique strain, while O’Malley is expected to be out 4-6 weeks due to a broken right hand that will require surgery, according to Groke. He also notes that Desmond is capable of playing multiple infield positions, while top prospect Ryan McMahon has experience at second and third base. Beyond that, Colorado’s best options are minor-leaguers Daniel Castro, Garrett Hampson and Brian Mundell, and none of those players are on the club’s 40-man roster.
    • The Dodgers aren’t in a rush to add a pitcher following the news that right-hander Tom Koehler could miss “extended time” with an anterior capsule strain. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register quotes president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who says that the team is “no more likely” to add a pitcher through trade or free agency in the wake of Koehler’s injury. “I don’t think it necessarily changes the thought process in terms of deals that made sense 3 days ago will still make sense,” says Friedman. “And I don’t think the opposite is true. I don’t think something is going to make more sense right now than it did 3 days ago.” The Dodgers reportedly like their in-house options and the depth they have in spring training camp.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Samardzija, Padres, Rockies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116137 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z Giants righty Jeff Samardzija held an interesting chat with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. In large part, it’s a lengthy discussion of Samardzija’s multi-sport background and decision to pursue baseball professionally — which, he says, was driven more by interest than any considerations of the health implications of playing in the NFL. The San Francisco hurler likens the game of baseball to a “big painting you put together” and hints he could still have some masterpieces in his brush. He also suggests he’s not yet thinking about the end: “Where’s the end of the wick? Who knows? Let’s find out. That’s the fun of it all.”

    More from the NL West:

    • As the Padres consider roster options, the club is looking to squeeze some added utility out of certain players. Infielder Christian Villanueva, in particular, will be tried out as a backup option at short, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell (via Twitter). The 26-year-old, who’s out of options, has played all of 14 innings at short as a professional. But after he posted a .296/.369/.528 slash at Triple-A last year, the Pads seem to be looking for ways to hang onto Villanueva.
    • In other Padres news, the organization is seeing promising signs from injured hurlers Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, per Cassavell. The Tommy John recoverees are certainly interesting players to watch this spring, as both have shown their talent at times in the past. Erlin, it’s worth noting, is well ahead of Rea in the rehab process, though both are well over a year removed from their procedures. Both are part of a long list of pitching possibilities in Padres camp, as reflected in the current organizational depth chart over at Roster Resource.
    • It seems one area of focus this spring for the Rockies is finding a way to swipe a few more bags. As Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports, the club is particularly interested to see whether the fleet-footed Raimel Tapia can learn to translate his speed into stolen bases. Just as interesting as the efforts on the bases, it seems there’s at least some hope that Tapia could hold down a spot at the top of the lineup. That seems a bit of a questionable fit, as the young outfielder doesn’t walk much and is therefore quite reliant upon maintaining a lofty batting average on balls in play to get on base. While lineup construction is hardly the most consequential issue facing the Rox, it seems worth noting that second baseman DJ LeMahieu has led the club in OBP in each of the past two seasons and would seem to be a sensible fit in the leadoff spot.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Pomeranz, Frazier, Ellsbury, Parra, Norris, Koehler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116125 2018-03-02T23:18:54Z 2018-03-02T23:18:54Z Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz exited today’s Grapefruit League start with tightness in his left forearm, though he told reporters after the game that he’s not concerned about the possibility of a serious injury (link via MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey). Obviously, caution is called for all the more at this stage of spring, so it’d be wise not to leap to any conclusions — particularly given Pomeranz’s comments. The 29-year-old, who is coming off of back-to-back seasons in which he posted a 3.32 ERA in over 170 frames, is a key piece of the Boston rotation. He’ll be further evaluated on Saturday.

    Here’s the latest on the health front from around the game …

    • The division-rival Yankees are also facing some injury issues, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch was among those to report (Twitter links). Of particular concern is prospect Clint Frazier, who required an MRI because he is still not recovering as hoped from a concussion. Surely the organization will exercise quite a lot of caution with the talented young player. Meanwhile, fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been diagnosed with a mild oblique strain. There’s no indication of just how limiting the injury will be — and for good reason, as oblique problems rarely seem to progress in a predictable manner. Fortunately for the Bronx Bombers, there are still four quality players ahead of this duo on the outfield depth chart.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra, who is recovering from hamate surgery on his right hand, took batting practice on Friday, tweets Nick Groke of the Denver Post. He’s slated to face live pitching for the first time since the operation on Monday, and manager Bud Black estimated that Parra could be in a game in eight to nine days, which should still give him ample time to ramp up for the regular season. It remains to be seen just how the Rox will distribute playing time in the outfield, though Parra seems to be slated for rather extensive action so long as he remains on an upward trajectory.
    • An injury forced newly signed Cardinals right-hander Bud Norris out of today’s spot start, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Norris, filling in for Carlos Martinez (who had a personal matter to attend to, per the report), exited due to hamstring spasms after allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. At this point, it’s not clear whether this issue is simply an early-spring blip or something that will cause some problems for the hurler, who recently inked a one-year, $3MM deal to join the St. Louis organization.
    • If there’s a hurler whose injury sparks some immediate cause for concern, it may be Dodgers righty Tom Koehler. It was announced he’d require an MRI on his shoulder not long after he was pulled in the middle of an inning, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick was among those to tweet. Shoulder bursitis caused problems for Koehler last year, when he struggled to a 6.69 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. The Dodgers have planned to move the long-time starter into a full-time relief role after promising him $2MM for the 2018 season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Upton, Archer, Realmuto, Holland, Lynn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116083 2018-03-02T17:21:47Z 2018-03-02T06:09:17Z Over at The Athletic, Pedro Moura held a fascinating conversation with Angels slugger Justin Upton. (Subscription link.) There’s plenty of interest in the chat, though Upton’s comments on free agency are of particular interest and relevance. The thrust of his sentiment is that teams seem to be looking to score free-agent value rather than identifying and “courting” players they actively wish to employ. “Teams don’t value players as people anymore,” says Upton. “They value them as a number on a sheet of paper.”

    Of course, Upton forewent a chance at returning to the open market by agreeing to a deal with an organization he was comfortable with. Here’s the latest on the unusually high number of quality free agents still not in camp and other market notes:

    • The likelihood remains that the Rays will enter the season with Chris Archer on the staff, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports among other notes. That’s due in no small part to the team’s lofty asking price; one rival executive suggests that the Tampa Bay front office “wanted our whole farm system” to move Archer. The club has given that impression publicly, too. Senior VP of baseball ops Chaim Bloom reiterated that the expectation is to hang onto Archer and others in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). He added that the internal expectation is that it will begin to reap the rewards of an effort over recent years to bolster the farm depth while still trying to compete at the MLB level.
    • It has remained interesting to consider whether the Nationals might pry catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. But there isn’t much recent indication of serious talks, and Heyman indicates that’s due to what seems to be a big gulf in the sides’ valuations. Washington won’t give top prospects Victor Robles and Juan Soto, per the report; while the club might part with young infielder Carter Kieboom or outfielder Michael Taylor, it seems Miami was asking for too much additional talent to be included in a package.
    • The outfield market has certainly delivered some surprises thus far. Heyman says Jarrod Dyson spurned an early two-year, $14MM offer, though a source tells MLBTR that is not accurate. Dyson ultimately signed for $7.5MM with the Diamondbacks. It remains to be seen what’ll happen with players such as Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Jay, each of whom were rated among the fifty best free agents this winter by MLBTR. Heyman says the Indians are still looking at right-handed outfield bats, though it would surely be a surprise for the team to plunk down any meaningful money to make an addition. Perhaps the trade route could still hold some surprises, though that’s pure speculation on my part.
    • Veteran reliever Greg Holland might have overplayed his hand in spurning the Rockies earlier in the winter. Colorado was willing to give him something approaching the three-year, $51MM deal the team ultimately inked with Wade Davis, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests in an appearance on the podcast of Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. It’s premature, perhaps, to declare that Holland won’t be able to top that number, though it’s frankly difficult to see where that level of interest might come from — as MLBTR’s Steve Adams has recently explained.
    • Holland’s list of suitors is in question at the moment. One thing that seems clear, per Heyman, is that the Cubs aren’t planning on making a surprise run at the closer. Rather, Chicago seems largely committed to utilizing Brandon Morrow in the ninth inning and is likely to hold back its remaining payroll reserves for potential mid-season additions.
    • So, how low could the remaining pitchers go? Presumably there’s a point at which some bidding would occur. But it’s notable that, per ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson (podcast link), the Twins expressed interest in Lance Lynn in the range of just $10MM to $12MM over two seasons. Just how that level of interest came about and was expressed isn’t clear. The team has also made some fairly notable recent commitments and may just not have much more payroll flexibility. And it certainly shouldn’t be taken as evidence of Lynn’s current market value. Still, it’s interesting to learn that’s the current extent of Minnesota’s interest.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Ohtani, CarGo, Scott]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115870 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z As Shohei Ohtani settles into his first MLB camp, the Angels are keeping close tabs on his workload, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s all still being sorted on the fly, but there are also some “objective” standards in place, including limits on the volume and timing of Ohtani’s swings of the bat. There are dichotomies aplenty for the hurler/slugger, including the impressions of team personnel such as hitting coach Eric Hinske (“uncharted waters”) and manager Mike Scioscia (“don’t know it’s anything that isn’t happening with other players”).

    • The Rockies miss Carlos Gonzalez “really badly,” third baseman Nolan Arenado tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Gonzalez’s presence in the clubhouse was clearly seen as a big positive by Arenado and others. Indeed, the young star was not shy in advocating for a reunion with the veteran former star. That has long seemed a possibility, but not a priority, and there’s no indication at this point that there’s any movement toward a deal. Coming into the winter, Gonzalez seemed likely to command a fairly sizable commitment on a one-year term, reflecting his streaky recent track record but also his long-recognized status as a high-end hitter. But the market has been particularly unkind to non-premium position players, so it’s really anyone’s guess at this point what kind of guarantee CarGo will be able to secure and what team it will be with.
    • Rangers righty Tayler Scott lost out on the race to be the first African-born person to play in the majors when fellow South African Gift Ngoepe hit the bigs last year. But Scott tells MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that he still has his sights set on “the title of being the first South African pitcher.” The dedication certainly seems to be there. Baseball obviously remains a niche sport in his homeland, so Scott and his family relocated to the United States while he was in high school. Now 25, Scott has yet to master the upper minors but will be jockeying for position in camp with the Texas organization, which acquired him as part of last summer’s Jeremy Jeffress swap.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Bryan Shaw]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115761 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z
  • Bryan Shaw’s decision to join the Rockies was helped by an endorsement from his former Indians manager Terry Francona, Shaw tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila.  “I talked to Tito a little bit about the teams that had interest in me.  I got his opinion of the organizations — the managers and others with roles within those organizations.  He had nothing but good things to say about Bud Black and the guys who are here,” Shaw said.  Cleveland’s front office also offered help with any questions Shaw might’ve had about other teams, a further sign of the good relationship between the right-hander and his former team.  Shaw said that he and the Tribe had talks about a possible contract extension midway through last season, “but from a numbers standpoint it never got there.”  In December, Shaw signed a three-year deal with Colorado worth $27MM in guaranteed money, plus a potential vesting option for the 2021 season that would pay him $7MM in additional salary.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Bridich On Free-Agent Market]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115490 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z
  • The slow-moving free agent market at least prompted the Rockies to reassess the available options recently, GM Jeff Bridich told Nick Groke of the Denver Post, but Bridich didn’t sound like he was itching to make further additions to his club. “Nothing prompted us or sparked any sort of action because we feel if we’re healthy, we have a strong position group,” said Bridich. The GM did note that Carlos Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds are both players whom the Rockies “have spent a decent amount of time staying in touch with,” though both still remain available in free agency. Bridich also said that the team is open to in-season extension talks for Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, both of whom are set to hit the open market after the current season. The same holds true of Nolan Arenado, though he’s controlled through 2019.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Rockies, Giants, Lewis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115318 2018-02-20T16:01:47Z 2018-02-20T16:01:47Z After making several bullpen moves and addressing their catching situation, the Rockies have had a quiet run-up to camp. It has long been wondered, though, whether the organization might yet add another player, particularly given the ongoing lack of clarity at first base. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports on the state of affairs as camp opens. Ian Desmond says he has been left with the impression he’s “mostly” going to be utilized in left field, seemingly leaving youngster Ryan McMahon with the inside track to commanding regular time at first. But the market still includes quite a few other possibilities, so it certainly seems premature to count the club out from another move. Saunders notes that the Rox have not had recent discussions with Mark Reynolds, it’s worth noting. Perhaps it is also still possible to imagine the addition of an outfielder, with Desmond then being asked to slide back to first, though it’s all still guesswork at this point.

    Here are some more links from the western divisions:

    • With so much trade chatter surrounding the Giants over the winter, several players now in camp with the organization saw their names circulated in rumors over the winter. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the winter of uncertainty with second baseman Joe Panik and a few other players. As for Panik, a phone call from GM Bobby Evans in the midst of the Giancarlo Stanton saga helped put his mind to ease, though he also notes that he and his wife would have been devastated to leave San Francisco and the Giants organization.
    • Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis recently underwent an unexpected second knee surgery, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The hope is that the 22-year-old, who was taken 11th in the 2016 draft, will be ready to begin preparing for the season in earnest before the end of April. GM Jerry Dipoto emphasized that this particular surgery is only a clean-up, expressed some hope that it’ll be “the final step to getting him healthy,” and credited Lewis for his hard work. Of course, it’s also the latest in a long line of problems with the joint, as Divish documents in a post that’s essential reading for fans of the Seattle organization.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Still In Touch With Carlos Gonzalez's Agent]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115139 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z
  • The Rockies have continued to keep in touch with Scott Boras in regards to free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, general manager Jeff Bridich told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sunday (Twitter link). Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra and David Dahl rank as the Rockies’ most prominent corner outfielders at the moment, but all three come with question marks. Desmond was subpar last year, Parra is out several weeks after undergoing hand surgery (and hasn’t been particularly good as a Rockie) and Dahl didn’t play in the majors at all in 2017 on account of a rib cage injury. Meanwhile, Gonzalez posted the worst season of his career – which helps explain why he’s still available – though he went on a tear in September (.377/.484/.766 in 93 plate appearances) to end on a high note.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Reynolds, Parra]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115030 2018-02-27T20:56:07Z 2018-02-17T19:07:03Z Both the Giants and Rangers came away impressed after watching free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Unsurprisingly, Giants brass has a fondness for Lincecum stemming from his mostly incredible run with the franchise from 2007-15. On whether they’ll try to reunite with Lincecum, general manager Bobby Evans said: “It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet. It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.” The Rangers, meanwhile, are likely to continue pursuing the 33-year-old, according to Grant.

    • The Rockies have shown some interest in re-signing first baseman Mark Reynolds since last season ended, yet the 34-year-old remains on the open market. Reynolds told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he doesn’t know why he’s still unsigned, but he’s continuing to hope for a return to the Rockies after playing with them from 2016-17. “It would be my first choice. It was a great situation. I was good there the last two years,” said Reynolds, who combined to hit .274/.354/.471 during those seasons. “It’s something that I felt was a great fit. But I can’t control what they are thinking. I played there to prove that I’m very capable of playing at that level. … But the Rockies are a good fit, and they are a playoff team and that’s something I’m factoring in my decision as well.” The Reynolds-less Rockies do have in-house first base options on hand in prospect Ryan McMahon and utilityman Ian Desmond.
    • Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar hasn’t developed as hoped since his days as a top prospect, and now that he’s out of minor league options, he could be in another uniform soon. Profar hopes that’s not the case. “I know this team loves me a lot, and I love them,” the 24-year-old said (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). “I’m ready to help them win. I just want to play and help the team win. I know I can do it.” Profar was a non-factor last season in Texas, where he hit .172/.294/.207 over a small sample of 70 plate appearances. Left field was Profar’s main position with the Rangers in 2017, but they’re only planning to use him in the infield this spring, per Wilson. He’ll have difficulty carving out a regular role, though, with Joey Gallo (first base), Rougned Odor (second), Elvis Andrus (short) and Adrian Beltre (third) entrenched as starters.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent surgery on the broken hamate bone in his right hand last Friday and could miss four to six weeks, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While Parra is “going to be fine,” according to manager Bud Black, Saunders notes that his injury could open the door for David Dahl to steal a starting spot in right field. Dahl came on the scene in impressive fashion as a rookie in 2016, but a rib cage injury kept him from the majors last season and limited him to 82 minor league PAs. Parra, on the other hand, hit a Coors Field-inflated .309/.341/.452 in 425 trips to the plate.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Could The Rockies Have Their Best Rotation Ever?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114516 2018-02-12T06:12:13Z 2018-02-12T06:08:07Z
  • Several Rockies starters performed well in 2017, and their potential and continued development could make the team’s 2018 rotation the best in franchise history, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes.  Colorado will head into the season with Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, and Antonio Senzatela all in the mix for rotation jobs, though it seems likely that all seven (and more starters) will required due to the inevitable wear-and-tear of a full season’s workload.  The depth will also help guard against any struggles from this still young and largely-unproven group of pitchers.
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