December 2011

Another closer job fills, but Rox still have chances to deal Street

One of the possibilities for the Rockies to deal closer Huston Street just disappeared, because the Blue Jays acquired closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox for righty pitching prospect Nestor Molina. Although Street’s $8 million guarantee in and of itself was going to make it tough for the Rockies and Jayus to make a deal, the Rockies did like the Jays’ young pitching.

A distinct possibility is Baltimore, although the Orioles appear to want more for Street than right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. The deal looks even from a dollar perspective, with Guthrie projected to make as much as $8.3 million in arbitration. The Rockies like the fact Guthrie has thrown 617 1/3 innings thje last three seasons. Street would fill an Orioles need, but he will be a free agent at season’s end and the Orioles would like another asset, since Street will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2012 season.

(Update: the O’s aren’t the only team looking beyond 2012. The Rockies would also like to receive assets beyond 2012 in a Street deal. For example, right-handed potential starter Kevin Slowey, obtained from the Twins on Tuesday for a player to be named, has two more years of arbitration.)

The Rockies also are looking at the Reds, with hopes of acquiring right-hander Edinson Volquez.

 

Rockies agree to acquire Slowey from Twins

DALLAS — The Rockies have agreed to acquire right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Twins for a player to be named. The deal will be announced officially sometime Tuesday morning.

Slowey, 27, is coming off a difficult 2011 in which he struggled a switch to the bullpen early, battled forearm and abdominal injuries, and finished the year 0-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 appearances, including eight starts.

Slowey went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 games, 28 starts, in 2010.

Rockies agree to acquire Slowey from Twins

DALLAS — The Rockies have agreed to acquire right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Twins for a player to be named.

Slowey, 27, is coming off a difficult 2011 in which he struggled a switch to the bullpen early, battled forearm and abdominal injuries, and finished the year 0-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 appearances, including eight starts.

Slowey went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 games, 28 starts, in 2010.

 

Polanco would fit the Rockies, but …

If the Phillies look to move veteran infielder and No. 2 hitter Placido Polanco, the Rockies would have interest. However, making a $7.25 million guarantee for 2012 into a payroll that might not be any higher than last year’s would prove difficult.

The Rockies need a professional hitter such as Polanco, 36, a seasoned postseason performer who could add a measure of toughness to a Rockies team that lacked it last season while going 73-89. On the field, the Rockies would have to determine whether Polanco can play second base as well as third, or if he is strictly a third baseman. And the team would have to get a handle on where he stands health-wise. He is recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery. The Phillies haven’t decided whether to move Polanco. Much depends on whether the Phillies sign Jimmy Rollins. If the Phillies don’t sign him, they may look for a third baseman such as Aramis Ramirez and deal Polanco.

However, the Rockies would have to move some salary, and that’s not easy.

 

Rockies claim OF Hoffman

DALLAS – The Rockies claimed outfielder Jamie Hoffman off waivers from the Dodgers on Monday.

 

Hoffman, 27, spent most of last season at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .297 with 22 home runs, 23 doubles, 84 RBIs and 14 steals in 133 games. He has hit .154 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBIs in 16 games from 2009 to 2011.

 

Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2003 out of New Ulm (N.M.) High School, Hoffman was chosen by the Nationals in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft and traded to the Yankees before being returned to the Dodgers during 2010 Spring Training.

 

The move brings the Rockies’ 40-man Major League roster to 38. The roster will increase to 39 when catcher Ramon Hernandez’s two-year, $6.4 million becomes official. Hernandez’s agreement is pending a physical.

Rox an unlikely match with Mets

The Rockies like Mets right-handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey, but it doesn’t look as if the parts for a trade fit.

One issue is the Mets have little starting pitching depth and are loath to part with Pelfrey, who went 7-14 with a 4.74 ERA during a difficult Mets 2011 season but was 15-9, 3.66 the previous year.

Also, while the Mets are seeking bullpen help, they’re not going to take the Rockies’ Huston Street. The Mets’ bench coach is Bob Geren, who was Street’s manager with the Athletics before the Rockies acquired him. Street and Geren feuded back then, and the Mets would prefer to stay away from that situation.

Dealing Street and outfielder Seth Smith appears to be the Rockies’ best route to improving the club quickly. Also they’ll see how much interest there is in third baseman Ian Stewart, with the Cubs mentioned prominently, and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings opened Monday in Dallas.

Rox an unlikely match with Mets

The Rockies like Mets right-handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey, but it doesn’t look as if the parts for a trade fit.

One issue is the Mets have little starting pitching depth and are loath to part with Pelfrey, who went 7-14 with a 4.74 ERA during a difficult Mets 2011 season but was 15-9, 3.66 the previous year.

Also, while the Mets are seeking bullpen help, they’re not going to take the Rockies’ Huston Street. The Mets’ bench coach is Bob Geren, who was Street’s manager with the Athletics before the Rockies acquired him. Street and Geren feuded back then, and the Mets would prefer to stay away from that situation.

Dealing Street and outfielder Seth Smith appears to be the Rockies’ best route to improving the club quickly. Also they’ll see how much interest there is in third baseman Ian Stewart, with the Cubs mentioned prominently, and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings opened Monday in Dallas.

Stewart-for-DeWitt talks haven’t reached serious point

Major League sources tell MLB.com that talks have not reached a serious point regarding a potential trade between the Rockies and the Cubs, with the Rockies sending third baseman Ian Stewart away for versatile infielder Blake DeWitt.

But the fact such a notion exists on any level gives a clearer window into how the Rockies feel about Stewart, a former top Draft pick who has fallen on hard times the last couple of years. The earlier notion was Stewart, a classic change-of-scenery candidate, could bring a Triple-A pitcher. But the Rockies aren’t 100 percent convinced Stewart can’t turn things around. They are not afraid asking for a useful Major League player or pitcher in return.

Rockies’ Geivett makes sense for Astros

The Houston Astros’ interest in Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett seems quite appropriate, given the Astros’ need to improve their farm system and Geivett’s contributions to the Rockies’ success in recent years.

Geivett, 48, has a deep background in scouting and player development with the Yankees, Expos, Rays, Dodgers and Rockies. In his early days with the Rockies as player pesonnel director and farm director, Geivett had the important duty of melding the development program with the needs at the big-league level.

Through that, Geivett became the driving force behind the teaching manual that’s used throughout the organization. He has fostered a clean flow of information through the coaches, coordinators and front office to keep the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues on the same page. Those who have worked for him say he has clear, exacting requirements for information and leaves little room or confusion — a key trait in handling an organization with so many working parts.

Geivett also has valuable on-field expereince. A former All-American at Cal-Santa Barbara, Geivett played professionally in the Angels organization as a third baseman, coached at Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State, and was an instructor in addition to scouting duties with the Yankees.

Post: Rox ask Cubs for DeWitt in exchange for Stewart

The Cubs are known to be interested in Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart, and the Denver Post reported Friday that the Rox have asked for versatile infielder Blake DeWitt in return. The paper says talks have quieted but could kick up again during baseball’s winter meetings in Dallas. Teams begin arriving Sunday.

DeWitt could be a nice fit. The Rockies would like a veteran presence who could start in stretches if necessary. But the organization believes former top Draft pick Chris Nelson could produce if given a clean opportunity at second base, and the team will not throw up road blocks for third base prospect Nolan Arenado, a second-round pick in 2009.

A former Dodgers prospect, DeWitt has hit .260 with a .329 on-base percentage in 404 games over four seasons with the Dodgers and the Cubs with periodic shots at everyday duty.

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