Michael Young: What's The Real Situation Between The Rangers And Rockies?

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Michael Young: What's The Real Situation Between The Rangers And Rockies?

The Michael Young-to-Rockies trade rumors continue to cycle around these days. Just a few days ago Troy Renck reported that the Rockies were out of the deal and unlikely to re-enter. But now Jon Heyman tweets (found via Craig Calcaterra) that the Rockies are not out of it.

According to Heyman, the Rangers asked for a "very good player," likely a prospect. While not named, one must wonder if the Rangers would have liked a major leaguer or one of the Rockies' top prospects: lefties Tyler Matzek or Christian Friedrich or catcher Wilin Rosario.

The $48 million remaining on Young's contract, as always, remains a stumbling block. The more money the Rangers take on from that deal, the better the prospect they will want. However, the less money the Rangers take on, the less inclined the Rockies would be willing to make a deal.

If this entire saga has taught us anything, everyone who is reporting this story is talking to someone who has a different take on the situation. How long until the Rockies are out on Young again?

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Are The Rockies Out Of Michael Young Trade?

According to reports from the Denver Post's Troy Renck, the Colorado Rockies are no longer in pursuit of the Texas Rangers' Michael Young. The stumbling blocks that ended the Rockies' pursuit of Young were the money that remained on his contract and that Vladimir Guerrero signed with the Baltimore Orioles. The latter move has forced the Rangers to reassess their need to hold onto Young, who is expected to be the team's designated hitter this season.

Young is owed $48 million dollars over the next three seasons, and if any trade does happen the Rangers are expected to absorb a large portion of that amount. But the Rangers would also like to receive quality prospects in return. However, Young has publicly called out the organization for what he believes has been unfair treatment.

Ultimately, the Rangers may realize that they can't get a king's ransom in return for a player who clearly does not want to play in Texas any longer.

While Renck claims that his sources believe the Rockies are out of the running for Young, this entire situation is quite fluid and could still be revived--for the nth time this offseason.

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Rangers' Michael Young Remains A Possibility For Rockies, But Money Issues Cloud Trade

The trade rumors surrounding the Texas Rangers' Michael Young continue to swirl. The team that keeps coming up in connection with those rumors is the Colorado Rockies. However, Young's contract continues to be the stumbling block to executing a trade, reports the Denver Post's Troy Renck. Young is owed $48 million dollars over the next three seasons and the Rockies want the Rangers to absorb $20 million of that amount.

Colorado is an obvious landing spot for Young because of the uncertainty surrounding the position for the Rockies. Jose Lopez, acquired from the Seattle Mariners during the offseason, is the front-runner for the job entering spring training, but the team will need him to bounce back from a 2010 season in which he had a .609 OPS and a 71 OPS+. Moving out of Safeco Field for his home games and to Coors Field makes him a good candidate to rebound.

His competition includes Jonathan Herrera, who filled in adequately at second base for the month of June and part of July, rookie Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr.

But should the Rangers and Rockies ever come to an agreement on the trade, what would it look like? Jose Lopez is almost certainly part of the deal. Aaron Cook and his $9.25 million salary could also go. At one point, Eric Young Jr. was a possible addition to the trade. The Rangers previously had interest in minor league outfielder Charlie Blackmon, but Renck believes the Rangers may want Esmil Rogers in the deal.

There's a lot of smoke around this deal, but will there eventually be a true fire to this?

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Report: Rockies, Rafael Betancourt Reach Contract Extension

According to a report by ESPNDeportes.com's Enrique Rojas, the Colorado Rockies and reliever Rafael Betancourt have reached a contract extension for 2012 with a mutual option for 2013, pending a physical. He would have entered the free agent market this offseason without this deal.

He will make $4 million in 2012 and $4.25 million in 2013 should both sides pick up the option. There is a $250,000 buyout should the option not be picked up.

The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Cleveland Indians in July 2009 for minor league pitcher Connor Graham. He posted a 1.78 ERA, a 0.868 WHIP and a 268 ERA+ in 25 1/3 innings. During that offseason, he signed a two-year deal worth $7.55 million, $3.775 million each season. In 2010, Betancourt posted a 3.61 ERA in 62 1/3 innings. He averaged 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Rockies have made a good investment in a pitcher who will pitch the eighth inning and be the first option should closer Huston Street come down with an injury.

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Report: Rockies, Ian Stewart Avoid Arbitration

According to a report from MLB Trade Rumors, the Colorado Rockies and third baseman Ian Stewart have reached a new contract agreement to avoid arbitration. Details are not yet know.

With this signing, the Rockies have successfully avoided going to an arbitration hearing with any of their five eligible players. The others were pitchers Matt Belisle, Jason Hammel, Matt Lindstrom and Felipe Paulino.

Stewart hit .256/.338/.443 with 18 homers in 2010. However, he had 25 home runs in 2009, experiencing a dip in power in 2010. He will enter the season as the team's third baseman, though the Rockies have brought in several players who can play the position: Joe Crede (returning from back injury), Jose Lopez (expected front-runner at second base) and Ty Wigginton (versatility in the infield and outfield).

[UPDATE] Troy Renck reports that Stewart's agreement is a one-year agreement for $2.2875 million. Incentives include $12,500 for 502 plate appearances and $25,000 each if he reaches 550 and 600.

Dan Lucero recently examined Ian Stewart's current situation with the Rockies.

Visit Purple Row for more on Stewart and the entire Rockies team.

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Colorado Rockies, Jason Hammel Agree To Two Year Contract

The Colorado Rockies have agreed to a two year contract with starting pitcher Jason Hammel, avoiding an arbitration hearing for both parties and giving Hammel security for the next two seasons.

Hammel is the favorite for the fifth starter role entering the 2011 baseball season, after being a regular in the Rockies’ rotation the previous two seasons. The Rockies obtained Hammel via trade from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2009 season in exchange for prospect Aneury Rodriguez, and he has been a consistent starter for the club during that time. The two year deal gives the Rockies cost certainty for the next two seasons, and it gives Hammel a guaranteed contract until 2013, when he becomes a free agent for the first time.

Details have not yet been announced, but this contract leaves Colorado with only Ian Stewart as arbitration eligible without a signed agreement for the 2011 season.

Read community response at Purple Row.

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Colorado Rockies Sign Joe Crede To Minor League Deal

The Colorado Rockies continue to add infield depth, signing former Chicago White Sox third baseman Joe Crede to a minor league deal with an invite to training camp.

Crede is widely regarded as an excellent fielding third baseman (rating at 45.9 runs above average the past four seasons) but doesn’t bring much potential with his bat. In 2009, his last season in the major leagues, Crede hit .225/.289/.414 with 15 homeruns in Minnesota.

Crede missed the entire 2010 season while suffering a myriad of shoulder and back injuries, but appears ready to make a comeback with Colorado. He will be given the chance to fight for a roster spot in spring training, along with other infield invitees such as Jonathan Herrera, Mike Jacobs, and Jason Giambi.

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Colorado Rockies Reach Agreement With Felipe Paulino

The Colorado Rockies have reached an agreement with RHP Felipe Paulino, a one year contract worth $790,000. Because the two parties have settled on a contract offer, they will be able to avoid a salary arbitration hearing.

#Rockies and RHP Felipe Paulino avoid arbitration by agreeing to a 1-yr. contract.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

Paulino was acquired from the Houston Astros at the end of the 2010 season in exchange for SS/2B Clint Barmes. He is projected to enter Spring Training as a candidate for the fifth starter spot and will also receive consideration for a place in the bullpen. Last season, Paulino filled both roles with the Astros, with a 5.11 ERA in 91.2 innings pitched. He had a respectable 4.40 ERA as a starter in 2010.

Since Paulino is out of options, he cannot be sent down to the minor leagues and will have to break camp on the Rockies' major league roster if the club wishes to maintain team control over his rights.

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Report: Rockies, Matt Belisle Avoid Arbitration, Agree To New Contract

The Colorado Rockies and Matt Belisle have avoided arbitration on Wednesday by agreeing to a new one-year contract, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reports:

#rockies avoided arbitration with matt belisle, at $2.35 milless than a minute ago via web

 

Belisle had a 2.93 ERA and a 1.087 WHIP in 92.0 innings in 2010. This is a well deserved pay raise for the relief pitcher who made $850,000 last season. Besides putting up career best in ERA and WHIP, Belisle saw a career best in K/9 with 8.9. He was the best pitcher on the Colorado Rockies not named Ubaldo Jimenez, finishing second in ERA behind the third-place NL Cy Young finisher.

Belisle will resume his seventh-inning role as part of the Rockies' bullpen, but manager Jim Tracy should be cautious in not overworking Belisle this season. It is likely that we will see some regression on Belisle's part, but for now he will be one of the go-to pitchers in the bullpen when needed in those crucial late-inning frames.

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Toronto Blue Jays Sign Octavio Dotel, Colorado Rockies Receive Supplementary Draft Pick

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed RHP Octavio Dotel to a $3.75 million contract, with a club option for 2012.

Why is this significant? Dotel was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of last season to aid in the playoff push. Though the Colorado Rockies failed to make the playoffs, they decided to offer contract arbitration to Dotel, a Type B free agent.

Dotel declined arbitration, thus ensuring the Colorado Rockies will receive an extra draft pick in the supplementary round (between the first and second rounds) of next year’s2011 Amateur Draft, widely considered to be the deepest draft in years.

Colorado and Toronto essentially swapped supplementary picks, as catcher Miguel Olivo was traded to the Blue Jays for $500,000. Toronto offered Olivo arbitration before he declined and signed a two year deal with the Seattle Mariners.

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Rockies Trade For RHP Matt Lindstrom From Houston Astros

The Colorado Rockies completed their major offseason transactions by completing another trade with the Houston Astros, acquiring RHP Matt Lindstrom.

Lindstrom appears to be the "final bullpen piece" that multiple sources have claimed the Rockies have been pursuing. Since talks for Seattle RHP David Aardsma died down to the Mariners’ high asking price, Colorado pursued other alternatives.

Lindstrom will be 31 at the beginning of the 2011 season, and is likely to join Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt as setup men for closer Huston Street. Last season, Lindstrom threw 58.1 innings last season with a 4.39 ERA. He also was credited with 23 saves in 2010 for Houston.

Lindstrom was a member of the Florida Marlins before Houston traded for him prior to the 2009 season. According to Fangraphs, Lindstrom’s fastball ranges from 94-96 mph, with a 84 mph slider as a secondary pitch.

He profiles as a different type of player from Belisle and Betancourt, a late inning pitcher who can throw 95+ mph, though not quite the same command. If Lindstrom does have weaknesses, it would be his tendency to walk batters.

Colorado gave up two minor league pitchers in LHP Wes Musick, who pitched in Single-A Asheville last season, and RHP Jonnathan Aristil, a converted infielder. Neither was considered a Top 30 prospect in the Colorado system.

Visit Purple Row for more information and community reaction.

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Rockies Sign Free Agent 1B Mike Jacobs

The Colorado Rockies signed first baseman Mike Jacobs, according to the Denver Post’s Troy Renck:

The Rockies have added more 1b depth for minors signing mike Jacobs acc to a sourceless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


Jacobs spent the start of the 2010 season the New York Mets due to injuries on the roster and then by the end of April prospect Ike Davis looked ready to make the jump to the majors. As a result, the Mets designated Jacobs for assignment and then accepted a move to the club’s Triple-A Buffalo team. The Mets traded Jacobs to Toronto for a player to be named a day before the trade deadline in July.


With the Rockies, Jacobs will play first base for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and give the Rockies another option at the big league level should injuries pop up.

Jacobs began his major league career with the Mets in 2005, but then spent the next three seasons with the Florida Marlins. He best year in the majors was his third and final year with the Marlins when he hit 32 home runs and drove in 93 runs. He play for the Kansas City Royals in 2009 before signing with the Mets prior to the start of the 2010 season.

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Rockies Trade RHP Paul Bargas To Minnesota For Catcher Jose Morales

The Colorado Rockies acquired another candidate for the backup catching position when they traded Single-A RHP Paul Bargas to the Minnesota Twins for catcher Jose Morales.

Morales has some major league experience the past two years in Minnesota backing up Joe Mauer. In 2009, Morales played in 54 games for the Twins, batting .311, though with little power potential. He has bounced between the major leagues and AAA the past four seasons while suffering through some injuries, but gives the Rockies another contact bat. Morales will be competing for the backup spot in spring training against free agent signing Matt Pagnozzi and rookie Michael McKenry.

The Rockies front office has declared Chris Iannetta the starting catcher for 2011, and this move helps cement that assertion as fact. Instead of paying money for a proven catcher, such as Bengie Molina or John Buck, they instead made a minor trade to create competition behind Iannetta, and simultaneously asserting his claim to the position.

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Rockies Sign Former Yankee Prospect Eric Duncan and Geno Espineli

The Colorado Rockies announced the signing of two players to Minor League deals: Eric Duncan and Geno Espineli. Duncan was the New York Yankees’ first round draft pick in 2003 (27th overall), a local pick since he came from Florham Park, NJ. As an 18-year-old, Duncan hit .301 with an .836 OPS between the Gulf Coast League and the New-York Penn League.

He eventually made it to the Triple-A level, but he never quite showed a progression in skills. He stagnated at the Triple-A level with the Yankees through 2009. He joined the Atlanta Braves’ organization in 2010 and hit .267/.323/.396 for their Double-A Mississippi team.

A third baseman originally, Duncan eventually started to play first base and both corner outfield spots. He played the majority of his games in 2010 at second base.

Espineli has been a reliever in the San Francisco Giants organization since he was selected in 14th round of the 2004 draft. He appeared in the majors in 2008 for 15 appearances, but to make anything out of his numbers would be meaningless given the small sample size.

Both players received invitations to Spring Training.

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Rockies Trade For INF Jose Lopez From Seattle

The Colorado Rockies completed a trade just hours before the tender deadline, acquiring infielder Jose Lopez from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league pitcher Chaz Roe.

Lopez was a prime non-tender candidate for Seattle, meaning he would have become a free agent after midnight,, eastern time. Instead of letting him test the market, Colorado decided to acquire the 27-year-old infielder.

Lopez carried an OPS of .764 and .766 in 2008 and 2009, but suffered from a miserable season in 2010, like many of his Seattle teammates. Last season, Lopez barely managed a .239 batting average and an OPS of .609.

Even with these extremely low numbers, the Rockies are hoping that a change from the pitching friendly Safeco Field in Seattle to Coors Field will help his numbers recover, making him a prime bounceback candidate and giving Lopez a chance at either the starting second baseman role or the utility infield role.

Troy Renck tweets:

Asst GM Bill Geivett: "We feel like Lopez's power is still in there. Coming to our park will help him.''

Chaz Roe, a right-handed minor league pitcher, was originally a sandwich pick for the Colorado Rockies in the 2005 Amateur Draft, selected 32nd overall. The 24-year-old pitcher was a member of the Triple-A Colorado Springs rotation in 2010, going 9-13 with a 5.98 ERA. Though he still has potential as a major league starter, it was becoming unlikely that Roe would ever make the Colorado roster.

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Report: Colorado Rockies Close To Signing 1B Lance Berkman

The Colorado Rockies may be close to signing free agent first baseman Lance Berkman, according to the Denver Post's Troy Renck:

Hearing that Rockies are getting close on lance berkman. Berkman told me that he would like to play for rockies during alcsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

This is an interesting development, though not entirely unexpected. The real question if this signing does happen is, where does Berkman play? He isn't going to start as the full-time first baseman with Todd Helton still around, so a platoon would likely be expected at the position. Would the Rockies consider trying Berkman in the outfield, which he hasn't played since 2007? He would be 35 during the 2011 season, and returning him to the outfield after a three-year layoff may not be the best idea.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays were reported to be Berkman's suitors earlier in the offseason, with Oakland being the most aggressive. Renck indicated in a later tweet that this is far from a done deal, but Berkman likes the Rockies and would prefer to stay in the National League. However, it looks like the Colorado Rockies are hitting on all points during the hot stove season.

Berkman played his entire career with the Houston Astros until the middle of this season when he was traded to the New York Yankees before the July deadline. He hit a combined .248/.368/.413 with 14 homers in 122 games as an Astro and a Yankee.

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Colorado Rockies Unlikely To Tender Contract To Manny Delcarmen

The Colorado Rockies are unlikely to tender reliever Manny Delcarmen, according to the Denver Post's Troy Renck. Delcarmen was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in late August for the stretch run for right handed pitching prospect Chris Balcolm-Miller.

Also in talking to a source, the Rockies are expected to non-tender reliever Manny Delcarmen. Interesting experiment that didn't work outless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

Delcarmen was an elite reliever with Boston from 2006-2008  -- and a Boston-raised hometown hero -- helping the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series over the Rockies. He has struggled since the 2009 season and has been unable to find the same control that made him successful at the beginning of his career.

Seen as a "live arm" in the bullpen, Delcarmen failed to impress the Rockies' front office in his brief time within the organization and will become a free agent.

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Rockies Interested In Brandon Webb, Jesse Crain

As the free agent pitching market continues to dwindle, the Colorado Rockies will need to start thinking creatively on how to fill in holes on the roster.One way would be to bring in former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb. According to the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, the Rockies will look at Webb as an alternative now that Jorge De La Rosa is as good as gone and Jon Garland re-signed with the Dodgers.

Webb had one of the best sinkers in the majors before shoulder injuries derailed his career over the last two seasons. He pitched the 2009 season opener against the Colorado Rockies and has not seen a major league field since then.

If fully healthy with his sinker working, Webb would be a good match for Coors Field. Whichever team signs him will likely need to offer him a heavily-laden incentive contract.

Renck reports that the Rockies are also interested in former Twins reliever Jesse Crain. Crain is a Colorado native who has great stuff as late-innings guy. He made $10 million in arbitration for his 2010 salary.

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Rockies To Offer Arbitration To Jorge De La Rosa, Octavio Dotel

Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post reports that the Colorado Rockies will offer salary arbitration to pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Octavio Dotel. Both players have until Nov. 30 to accept or decline the offer.

It comes as no surprise that the Rockies would offer De La Rosa salary arbitration, because De La Rosa, a Type A free agent, would return two draft picks to the Rockies when he signs elsewhere.

The signing team would surrender its first- or second-round pick in the 2011 draft to the Rockies, who would receive a choice in the supplemental first round too. As the offseason has taken shape, the Colorado Rockies are not willing to offer a four-year contract to De La Rosa--a deal breaker for De La Rosa. With several other teams apparently offering four-year contracts, this offer of arbitration is necessary to receive draft pick compensation.

Offering Dotel arbitration is a bit of a surprise because the Rockies declined his $4.5 million option a couple weeks ago. However, the Type B free agent would yield the Rockies a second supplemental first-round pick in the June draft. While there is no indication such an agreement took place, it's possible the offer of arbitration is a gentlemen's agreement that has the pitcher decline the offer of arbitration. The Yankees and Javier Vazquez have such an agreement.

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C Victor Martinez Signs Four Year Deal With Detroit

One of the dream signings for Colorado this offseason, catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez, has signed a long term deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Martinez was coveted by many teams for his versatility. The soon-to-be-32 year old catcher would have been used behind the plate and to spell Todd Helton at first base. That scenario, however, will have to remain a pipe dream.

The Detroit Tigers named Martinez their top offseason priority at the end of the season, and they paid to make sure they would acquire him. The deal is for four years, and $50 million.

While Colorado currently has the financial flexibility to sign an impact player such as Martinez for $10 million to $12 million, they are unwilling to sign any free agents to more than a three year deal at this point, in order to maintain their flexibility for 2014, when Carlos Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Troy Tulowitzki’s current deals expire.

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Colorado Rockies Trade INF Clint Barmes To Houston For RHP Felipe Paulino

The Colorado Rockies have announced they have traded longtime Rockies infielder Clint Barmes to the Houston Astros for RHP Felipe Paulino.

#Rockies acquire RHP Felipe Paulino from #Astros in exchange for INF Clint Barmes.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

Considering Barmes was unlikely to receive a contract offer from Colorado and would become a free agent, any trade is surprising. 

Paulino will be entering his first year of arbitration -- the main reason Houston was willing to give him up in trade -- and has an uninspiring major league history so far. He appeared in 19 games last season for Houston, starting 14 of them, and finished the season with a 5.11 ERA. At this point in his career, he is nothing more than emergency pitching depth for Colorado and can be used as a spot starter in case of injury.

Read more from the community at Purple Row.

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Report: Rockies Apparently Interested In Justin Upton, Gavin Floyd

File this one under far-fetched. The Arizona Diamondbacks could move outfielder Justin Upton this offseason, and, as Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports, the Colorado Rockies are interested:

The Diamondbacks are looking to fill a myriad of holes, and are asking for as many as four to five players in return for Upton, a 23-year-old former all-star. An Arizona official indicated that the club would be willing to move Upton within the division if the deal was right. Ultimately that will be new general manager Kevin Towers’ decision.

Contrary to the popular notion that the Monfort Bros. do not want to expand the team budget, it appears as though adding a player of Upton’s caliber would make the owners spend the money to do so. However, this deal has a couple of things going against it.

First, a deal with the Rockies would be inside the division. While Renck reports the Diamondbacks are open to this, the Rockies would need to break the bank, which leads to the second point. If four to five players are expected in return, some combination of young prospects, including starting pitchers Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich, catcher Wilin Rosario and third baseman Nolan Arenado, would likely appear in the trade.

And with free agent pitchers starting to sign, the Rockies will need to start exploring trades to fill Jorge De La Rosa’s spot in the rotation. The White Sox’s Gavin Floyd could be available, but for Ian Stewart as a possibility? I’m with Dick Monfort on this: be really reluctant to trade a young player. Gavin Floyd is not as valuable as Justin Upton would be.

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Report: Los Angeles Dodgers, Hiroki Kuroda Close To One-Year Deal

Cross Hiroki Kuroda off the Colorado Rockies wish list for the offseason. ESPN now reports that the 35-year-old right-handed pitcher are close to a one-year, $12 million contract with the only major league team he has played for, the Los Angeles Dodgers. One must wonder if such a short-term deal indicates Kuroda wants to return to Japan after the 2011 season.

The Rockies will continue to look at Jake Westbrook, Jon Garland and Javier Vazquez; however, Vazquez’s preference is to pitch on the East Coast, which puts the Rockies far down on his list.

The Yankees have recently expressed interest in the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa, who is the second-best pitcher on the marker after Cliff Lee. The Yankees are widely considered the favorites to land Lee, so the interest in De La Rosa is as a fallback possibility. However, with the Yankees’ interest already known, the Rockies will have an even tougher time re-signing the lefty.

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Colorado Rockies Interested In Jake Westbrook, Jon Garland And Hiroki Kuroda

Troy Renck reports that the Rockies have already begun their pursuit of a free agent pitcher this offseason:

I have confirmed that Rockies are interested in and have called on or will call on Jake Westbrook, Jon Garland and Hiroki Kurodaless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


With Jorge De La Rosa unlikely to return to Denver, the Rockies will now look at several other options on the free agent market. Among them is Jake Westbrook, who spent the 2010 season between the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is a groundball pitcher who would fit in well at Coors Field.

Jon Garland moved to the NL West in 2009 and has already spent time with three of the five clubs there (Arizona, Los Angeles and most recently San Diego). He’s an innings-eater who threw 200 innings, another kind of pitcher the Rockies would like. While not a strikeout pitcher, Garland did have a career best 6.1 K/9.

Hiroki Kuroda has pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first three seasons since coming from Japan. He is coming off of his best season, displaying a 3.39 ERA, a 1.161 WHIP and a 113 ERA+. Pitching records don’t tell much (28-30 for his career), but Kuroda looks to be the best of the bunch.

For more on the Rockies’ interest in these three pitchers, head on over to Purple Row.

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