The Rockies’ signing of right-hander Tim Redding to a Minor League conract with an invitation to Major League camp gives the pitching staff a much-needed veteran reinforcement.
The Rockies go into Spring Training with a rotation already penciled — left-handers Jeff Francis and Jorge De La Rosa, and right-handers Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Hammel. But that apple cart could be upset if Francis needs extra time early in the year, after missing last year because of shoulder surgery, or one of the others is hurt or struggles.
Redding, 32, provides an experienced option. If he pitches well and makes the club, he could fill the role the club envisioned for Jose Contreras, who instead signed with the Phillies. After Redding, the most-experienced option is lefty Greg Smith, who missed last season with various illnesses and ailments. Smith threw 190 1/3 innings as a rookie with the Athletics in 2008.
Rockies possible target Derrick Turnbow is expected to announce a decision within 48 hours. Turnbow, who has battled injuries and a lack of command and hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2008, had a recent workout that 20 of the 28 teams that were invited attended. He showed good enough velocity to have several teams want to negotiate further. The Rockies also have expressed interest in star closer Eric Gagne, who also is making a comeback.
The Rockies increased their power quotient at the catching position by signing Miguel Olivo to a one-year deal with a club option for 2011. Olivo, 31, who hit 23 homers and drove in 65 runs while hitting .249 for the Royals last year, and has finished the last four years in double figures in homers, joins Chris Iannetta. The Rockies signed Iannetta, who has 34 homers the last two seasons, to a three-year deal last month.
Olivo became a possibility when the Rockies and Yorvit Torrealba could not agree on a two-year deal. Torrealba had been with the Rockies — as the on-again, off-again No. 1 catcher — since 2006, and was a major factor in the team’s trip to the World Series in 2007 and the playoffs in 2009.
Olivo, 31, enhanced his defensive reputation last year by catching 31 of American league Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke’s 33 starts. Olivo also caught Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez’s 10-strikeout, four-inning game for the Dominican Republic against The Netherlands in last year’s World Baseball Classic.