Results tagged ‘ Seth Smith ’

Rox agree to deal Street, can pursue pitching or Cuddyer

DALLAS – The Rockies agreed to trade their former closer, Huston Street, to the Padres on Wednesday and are aggressively pursuing improvements that aren’t limited to starting pitching, sources told MLB.com. The teams are completing negotiations, but the Padres are expected to pick up much of Street’s $8 million guarantee for 2012.

According to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal, some cash will go the Padres’ way, but there is enough salary relief for the Rockies that they can entertain other deals.

MLB.com has learned that the Rockies have contacted the Braves with interest in arbitration-eligible right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens, a talented young arm who is expected to make around $5 million through arbitration in 2012 and is under club control through 2013. CBS Sports reported Tuesday night that eight teams have approached the Braves. The Rockies also have discussed trade scenarios with the Reds involving right-hander Edinson Volquez, and they approached righty Hiroki Kuroda last week but made it clear they will to clear salary to make a deal work.

But the Rockies also have coveted free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer and have the dollars to pursue him. Theoretically, the Rockies can use their left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith as a chip to fill holes, pitching and otherwise. However, the Rockies will not include center fielder Dexter Fowler — whom they believe is in for a breakout season — in any deal.

The move also offers the Padres, who are expected to send the Rockies a player to be named, some flexibility as they replace Heath Bell as closer. Street is due $7.5 million this year with a $500,000 buyout on a 2013 option worth $9 million. If Street has a standout season – and he’s working at PETCO Park, a pitcher-friendly venue – the Padres will not have to pursue another closer on the open market before 2013.

Rafael Betancourt, who supplanted Street as closer last season, is projected for the role with the Rockies this year. The Rockies then could develop righty Chad Bettis, who struck out 184 against 45 walks at Class-A Modesto as a starter, to be the closer of the future.

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.

A busy Rockies weekend

Enjoying time off near the Thanksgiving holiday, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to comment on some news items involving the Rockies:

– Two free agent targets appear headed elsewhere, with outfielder Grady Sizemore reportedly having reached an agreement with the Indians and onetime Rockies infielder Clint Barmes reportedly headed to Pittsburgh to rejoin his old Rox manager, Clint Hurdle.

The Sizemore situation was a race against time. Signing him was somewhat predicated on trading left fielder Seth Smith. The plan to trade Smith was to fill the second base hole or one of the starting pitching holes. Although there have been stories about talks with the Braves about infielder Martin Prado and the Rockies have been debating trying to pry former Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson from the Padres, not much in the way of real negotiation had materialized.

But with all the health reports on Sizemore positive after a postseason knee surgery (he had surgery on the other knee in 2009), teams decided to move quickly. The team that knows him the best, the Indians, figured the price was right and made the move.

The Rockies see Smith as an asset, so it’s not as if they’re dying to trade him. They’d deal him, but not in a trade that they aren’t totally comfortable making. To trade Smith now, the Rockies need a viable alternative in left, whether that player comes in the same trade or the Rockies end up with a left fielder through other means. Or they can just keep Smith.

“We like Seth Smith — he’s a good player for us,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told me the other day.

Barmes would have made a lot of sense. He played shortstop last year for the Astros, and will do so for the Pirates. If the Rockies could have signed him, he would have offered a high-quality replacement if Troy Tulowitzki were to be injured.

If the Rox don’t find a second baseman, some combination of Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. would have to suffice at second. Both have experience at short, and can move over in case of injury to Tulowitzki.

Since Tulowitzki is a big shortstop who never takes it easy, it would be nice to have someone of Barmes’ ability to plug into the position. It would give manager Jim Tracy peace of mind when he wants to rest Tulowitzki during the season.

It’s a concern, but the Rockies aren’t going to build their offseason strategy around protecting themselves from a longterm injury to Tulowitzki. Replacing him for a few days for a nagging injury is one thing. A long absence is something else.

“If we lost Tulowitzki for a long period of time, we’re in trouble,” O’Dowd said. “I don’t know of many teams that can withstand losing their best player for a long period of time.”

– The Rockies dealt veteran utility man Ty Wigginton to the Phillies on Sunday for a player to be named.

While it’s nice to have a vet to come off the bench, the Rockies might be covered with a younger player. They liked the offensive work of late-season call-up Jordan Pacheco, and Tracy used Pacheco at first base and third base — essentially the same way he used Wigginton.

Keep an eye on Rockies pitching, Barmes discussions could occur today

As MLB.com reported last week and as the Denver Post reported last night, the Rockies’ wide-ranging search for an innings-eating starting pitcher, or two, includes standout free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt (4-0, 2.25 ERA in five career starts at Coors Field).

The Post reported that the Rockies won’t trade for the Astros’ Wandy Rodriguez, who want quite a bit in return. But just about any young, accomplished starter is on the radar — the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, and the Rays’ Jeff Neimann and Wade Davis. All have been Rockies targets before. The Rockies are interested in their one-time No. 1 pitcher Jeff Francis and Kevin Millwood, who finished last season in purple pinstripes, as well as, according to the Post, Paul Maholm.

The Rockies are dangling left fielder Seth Smith in trade talks for either a pitcher or a second baseman, or both. That helps explain the pursuit of Grady Sizemore, who is recovering from right knee surgery but, according to his agent, will be ready to start Spring Training and to start the season.

If they don’t make a trade at the keystone position, they could look to the past and pursue Clint Barmes, who played for the Astros last season but had spent all is previous seasons with the Rockies. Barry Meister, Barmes’ agent, will arrive at the MLB General Managers meetings in Milwaukee today. Although there have been internal discussions about Barmes — who is attractive to the Rockies because he can move to shortstop if Troy Tulowitzki needs a break or is banged up — there had not been negotiations as of yesterday. Barmes is receiving interest at a shortstop and a second baseman, and is open to playing each spot.

Potential trade targets are the Braves’ Martin Prado and the Padres’ Orlando Hudson, with the Rockies already having had discussions with the Braves.

In the coming weeks, watch for the Rockies to seriously explore dealing right-handed reliever Huston Street, who is guaranteed $8 million next year. Rafael Betancourt ended up supplanting Street as closer late in the regular season.

Stewart not in lineup for opener

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was healthy enough to be on the roster for Friday afternoon’s opener against the D-backs, but not healthy enough to start.

Ty Wigginton, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gets the start at third, and Jose Lopez, acquired in a trade with the Mariners, will start at second.

There had been talk of infield utility man Jonathan Herrera, who had an outstanding spring, (.371, four triples) getting the nod, possibly ahead of Lopez, but that was not to be. Herrera will be a versatile hitter off the bench.

Here’s the lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Seth Smith, RF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ty Wigginton, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Chris Iannetta, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Lance Berkman a possible Rox target

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

LoDuca OK after arm injury; lineups

Non-roster catcher Paul Lo Duca suffered an undetermined arm injury and had to leave Friday’s game against the Athletics, but he said he was OK Saturday morning.

“There was just a knot under my arm,” Lo Duca said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Lo Duca said he was sore, but didn’t expect the problem to linger.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup agianst the Angels:

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Ryan Spilborghs, CF

Jason Giambi, 1B

Miguel Olivo, C

Brad Hawpe, RF

Melvin Mora, 3B

Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, SS

Jeff Francis, LHP

Giambi and Hawpe are getting a coveted chance to see left-handed pitching — the Angels’ Scott Kazmir. The Rockies haven’t faced much of it. Spilborghs is getting a chance to play all three outfield positions this spring. Key relievers scheduled to participate are right-handers Matt Belisle and Justin Speier. Belisle has pitched well this spring, but forearm tightness has limited his appearances. Speier spent the last three seasons with the Angels.

Francis will be tested by an all right-handed lineup (that’s including switch-hitting leadoff man Macier Izturis). Here is the Angels lineup that Francis will face:

Macier Izturis, 2B

Jeff Mathis, C

Juan Rivera, RF

Brandon Wood, 3B

Robb Quinlan, LF

Terry Evans, CF

Freddy Sandoval, 1B

Gary Patchett, SS

Scott Kazmir, LHP

Lineup for Tuesday; Cook has chance to bounce back

After a few days back in the Denver area for rest and relaxation, I rejoin the Fighting Rockies in Glendale. It’s a nice lineup for a road Spring Training game.

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Dexter Fowler, DH

Seth Smith, RF

Ryan Spilborghs, LF

Ian Stewart, 3B

Melvin Mora, CF

Michael Paulk, 1B

Paul Phillips, C

Omar Quintanilla, SS

RHP Aaron Cook

The player to watch is Cook, who was shelled by the Rangers in his last start (9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 2/3 IP). Interestingly, the game was at Hi Corbett Field and the Rangers made a long trip, but they started several key regulars — Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Nelson Cruz.

I haven’t seen a White Sox lineup, but they are at home here in Glendale, so Cook should be facing tough hitters.

 

Strong group to face Dodgers

No one can accuse the Rockies of not using a representative lineup on Tuesday against the Dodgers at Glendale.

In additoin to projected Opening Day starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, the Rockies’ roster for the bus trip includes catcher Chris Iannetta, second baseman Clint Barmes, third baseman Ian Stewart, and outfielders Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs.

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