The Rockies, looking for protection in case shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is injured, say they are “kicking the tires” with free agent Adam Everett, a club source said Tuesday. The club is
The Tigers released Everett last June after he appeared in 51 games and hit .185. Everett played for the Astros 2001-07, the Twins in 2008 and the Tigers in 2008 and 2009.
By trading Clint Barmes to the Astros last month, the Rockies lost their most proven backup shortstop. Barmes started at second but played short when Tulowitzki was out with a fractured left wrist.
Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson have played short in the Minors, but Herrera played more second base in the Majors, and the Rockies began training Nelson as a multi-position infielder last year.
The team has acquired Jose Lopez in a trade with the Mariners, and on Tuesday was closing in on a two-year contract with Ty Wigginton. Both play multiple infield positions.
Ty Wigginton apparently will fill the Rockies’ right-handed utility role, which includes spelling veteran Todd Helton at first base.
FoxSports.com’s Tracy Ringolsby reported that he has agreed to a two-year deal guaranteeing $7.5 million, which includes a $500,000 buyout on an option for a third year.
Wigginton, 33, batted .248 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs in a career-high 154 games for the Orioles last season while playing first base, second base, third base and designated hitter. Wigginton also has played 38 games in left field in his career. Wigginton is a .277 career hitter with 143 home runs and 501 RBIs in 1,060 career games
If the deal becomes official, the Rockies will have filled the holes that opened when the team didn’t re-sign Melvin Mora, who signed with the D-backs on Monday, and Jason Giambi, who backed Helton at first base last season but was a left-handed hitter and not an ideal choice when the Rockies faced a difficult left-handed hitter. The Rockies traded with the Mariners for right-handed hitting infielder Jose Lopez last week.
Wigginton has played for the Mets, Rays, Pirates, Astros and Orioles.
The Rockies list of utility possibilities also includes Jorge Cantu and Jeff Francoeur. The team lost out on catcher-first baseman Victor Martinez, who signed with the Tigers, and first baseman-outfielder Lance Berkman, who signed with the Cardinals.
Nice bit of news Monday at the Winter Meetings…Melvn Mora agreed to a one-year deal with the D-backs.
The Orioles didn’t bring him back after the 2009 season, after several years of distinction, mostly at third base. Mora felt he could extend his career by becoming a utility player, and he had a nice year for the Rockies doing it last year (.285, 7 HR, 45 RBIs in 354 plate appearances). Before leaving at the end of the season, he expressed appreciation to the Rockies for giving him a chance to revisit his versatility. Before establishing himself with the Orioles, he played multiple positions with the Mets.
“I enjoyed what I did here … it was an exciting year for me,” said Mora, who played first base, second base, third base and left field. “I thank [Rockies manager] Jim Tracy for teaching me to play first base.
“It was great for me to do my exactly what the manager wanted me to do, and do it right.”
Mora, who turns 39 on Feb. 2, has thoughts beyond 2011.
“I want to play through at least the next World Baseball Classic, 2012,” said Mora, who wants to represent Venezuela. “After that, we’ll talk about it.”
Free agent Jorge Cantu is a candidate to fill the role Mora filled with the Rockies. The Rockies also could trade to fill the spot, with Angels catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli and Nationals cornerman Josh Willingham among the reported possibilities.
Names are beginning to surface in the Rockies’ search for a complement to catcher Chris Iannetta. The least-name known might end up the best fit.
Former All-Star Russell Martin and Bengie Molina, a respected veteran, created buzz. However, Ronny Paulino is more of a true backup. The Rockies have had Yorvit Torrealba and Miguel Olivo push Iannetta out of playing time in recent years, and they vowed to give Iannetta a clean shot at the starting job without having to look over his shoulder.
Actually, the search for a relief pitcher might be more important to the Rockies’ quest to return to the playoffs. Righties Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg and Matt Guerrier are at the top of the Rox’s shopping list.
Jorge Cantu is a utility possibility, and the club will do due diligence on Edwin Encarnacion. There are trade possibilities. Angels catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli and Nationals corner bat Josh Willingham would be high on such a list.
Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has said it’s doubtful he can land a big bat, but he’s trying. According to The Denver Post, the Rockies have aggressively pursued switch-hitting Lance Berkman to play the outfield corners and occasionally spell Todd Helton at first base.
The key here would be Berkman’s desire to return to the National League. Berkman saw a dramatic drop in his power with the Astros and Yankees last season, although finished he year with the Yankees as a designated hitter on an upswing as far as average is concerned.
An important aspect of the pursuit of Berkman, according to the Post, is Helton would be on board with bringing in Berkman. The two have the same agent. Helton helped the Rockies recruit Jason Giambi as his backup last season, but by season’s end Helton admitted not playing nearly every game was difficult. Still, the Rockies need a solid alternative, given Helton’s history of back problems and his age.
The Rockies desire a right-handed corner bat, preferably one that can play some first base. Berkman has more power from the left than from the right, but he fits — if the price is right. The Cardinals, Blue Jays and Athletics also have pursued Berkman.
The Mariners’ Jose Lopez, if he’s non-tendered, Jorge Cantu, whom the Rockies considered trading for last season, and Troy Glaus are acknowledged targets. The Rockies also are looking at the Athletics, who appear to be deciding whether to non-tender Edwin Encarnacion or Colorado native Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Some current Rockies will no doubt be watching the situation closely. Third baseman Ian Stewart and outfielders Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs could potentially lose playing time, depending on who is signed. Interestingly, the Rockies hired Carney Lansford as hitting coach and charged him with the task of waking up the bats of all three. Stewart and Smith didn’t meet the club’s expectations for production last year. Spilborghs finished strong but struggled with strikeouts early.
– Thomas Harding
The general managers meetings in Florida offer a good time for teams to survey the free-agent landscape. And according to the Denver Post, things are about as expected with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, a player the Rockies want to keep. Interest is strong: former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has taken over the Pirates and identified De La Rosa as his top target, according to the newspaper, and the Nationals, as reported by MLB.com’s Bill Ladson last week, and Orioles are already in the mix. The Yankees and Rangers could jump in, depending on what happens with lefty Cliff Lee. The paper says the key, as has been the case all along, is if the offers are at three years, the Rockies will compete — and they offer an environment in which De La Rosa has been successful. If it goes beyond three years, De La Rosa is likely gone, and the Rockies could look for a free agent such as Carl Pavano or Javier Vazquez, or seek a trade.
The paper also reported that the Rockies are unlikely to re-sign right-handed hitting utility man Melvin Mora, who wants a contract quicker than the Rockies want to move on him. With the Athletics not looking to trade Conor Jackson, the Rockies could take a look at the Nationals’ Josh Willingham or the Angels’ Mike Napoli for right-handed hitting help.
It’s been a rapid fall for onetime Rockies closer Manuel Corpas. In 2007, he was one of the key figures in the team’s unexpected run to the World Series. He was rewarded with a four-year, $8.025 million contract. But since then, inconsistency and injuries has derailed his career. Now word comes down that the Rockies have placed him on unconditional release waivers.
Corpas, who had bone chips removed from his elbow in 2009, underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery on his right elbow late in the 2010 season. It’s unclear if he was going to contribute to them at all in 2011.
The move was necessary from the Rockies’ standpoint. They can’t afford to tie up a spot on the 40-man Major League roster with a player who might not be able to contribute. They also have Huston Street as closer and several right-handed relievers to cover them late in games — Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Manny Delcarmen, and Matt Daley, who is expected to make a full recovery from late-season shoulder problems. Still, it turns heads when the team says goodbye to a key member of a magical squad.
DENVER — The Rockies traded catcher Miguel Olivo to the Blue Jays on Thursday night for a player to be named or cash considerations, the Rockies announced.
The deal occurred just before Thursday night’s deadline for picking up Olivo’s 2011 option for $2.5 million. Olivo, 32, hit .269 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs as the Rockies’ No. 1 catcher for much of last season. It was unclear whether the Jays would pick up the option. They could allow him to become a free agent, and receive a pick between the first and second rounds of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
The trade leaves Chris Iannetta, 27, as the lone catcher on the Rockies’ roster with significant Major League experience, although the club is expected to obtain another backstop through free agency or a trade.
Iannetta, an organization product who showed promise in an extended look in 2008 (.264, 18 HRs, 64 RBIs), but has struggled since and has not grabbed the No. 1 job. Last season, after signing a three-year, $8.35 million contract, Iannetta spent part of last season at Triple-A Colorado Springs and finished with a .197 average, nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 61 Major League games.
The Jays also are formulating their catching plans. They picked up a $1.2 million option on Jose Molina and have a top prospect in J.P. Arencibia. John Buck, the Jays’ No. 1 catcher and an All-Star in 2010, is a free agent. Like Olivo, Buck is a Type B free agent.
Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said he will take until Thursday’s deadline before deciding whether to pick up catcher Miguel Olivo’s $2.5 million option for 2011. Even if he decides, the Rockies still have to determine whether Olivo, Chris Iannetta or a combination of both are solid enough to handle catching duties. Do the Rockies seek a trade or free agency? That’s one of this winter’s big questions.
The Rockies will not pick up left-hander Jeff Francis’ $7 million option for 2011. Three years of shoulder problems makes it too risky, but O’Dowd says he wants Francis back.
It should be an interesting free agency season. The big question is whether the Rockies can retain lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who could have numerous bidders.
My thoughts? If the bidders stay in the three-year range, the Rockies can compete. If someone goes overboard on years, the Rockies will wish him well.
Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Pirates put the fading Rockies in a precarious position when it comes to their approach to the non-waiver trade deadline. There is increasing speculation that the Rockies could turn into sellers.Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Rockies have been quietly shopping veteran right-hander Aaron Cook. As The Denver Post reported, Cook is due $9.5 million next yeatr but his salary goes up by $1 million if he’s traded. There also is an $11 million mutual option with a $500,000 buyout for 2012. The Denver Post also mentions second baseman Clint Barmes, right fielder Brad Hawpe and pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Joe Beimel. The Denver Post also reported that the Rockies have inquired about Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot, although it’s not clear what his role would be since shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has returned from the disabled list