Results tagged ‘ Yorvit Torrealba ’

Rox’s catching list includes Martin, Molina and Paulino

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 sign Olivo

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.

Here is the full story.

 

Talks heat up with catchers; Capps to narow suitors

Nothing is happening between the Rockies and catcher Yorvit Torrealba. That $400,000 gap doesn’t seem to be getting any narrower. Dan O’Dowd, the Rockies’ general manager, acknowledges talking to Miguel Olivo — the No. 1 alternative — Josh Bard and others on the market.

“We’re working our way through the process with a number of catchers out there, so I wouldn’t say we’re any farther along than we were a week ago,” said O’Dowd, who said there is simply a “difference of opinion” between the Rockies and Torrealba that can’t be bridged at this time. That at least leaves the door open for Torrealba.

Also, righty reliever Matt Capps’ agent, who found himself fielding multiple suitors, said Capps will narrow the list to the five most-serious. The Rockies have definite interest, since current Rockies skipper Jim Tracy managed Capps in Pittsburgh.

By the way, former Rockies fan favorite utility man Jamey Carroll reached an agreement with the Dodgers. O’Dowd said the Rockies were not necessarily looking for a glove man.

Torrealba still pending …

This is not to say that things are falling apart in the Rockies-Yorvit Torrealba talks, but there has been no movement this far today. The Rockies have a soild idea of what they want to spend. Torrealba’s reps still are testing the market to make sure what he signs is of proper value. So this may take awhile. It’s still most likely that Torrealba will sign, but the Rockies see Miguel Olivo and Josh Bard as other options.

But Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd allowed that retaining Torrealba, who has been with the club since 2006, and Iannetta beyond this year is important to the Rockies. The Rockies are negotiating with Iannetta, who is eligible for arbitration, on a multi-year deal.

“It’s a position that we look at maybe a little differently,” O’Dowd said. “The continuity of what you get with your pitching staff … If you keep going year-to-year, you have to learn the staff. The relationships are so valuable.”

Catching competition is a good thing

Yorvit Torrealba wants to stay with the Rockies. The Rockies want him. A two-year deal in the $5 million to $5.5 million range is close to happening, possibly as soon as today.

The Rockies have stated that they want Chris Iannetta to add high average to his proven power, and hope to sign him to a multi-year deal to show how much they want that to happen. However, manager Jim Tracy doesn’t sound like a man who is going to just give Iannetta the catching job and not give Torrealba a chance to be the man again.

You know what? I like competition,” Tracy said Wednesday. “When you’re a good baseball team and you have interest in being a

good baseball team consistently year in and year out, I don’t like the term entitlement or the sense of it to filter into our clubhouse.

Iannetta, Rox talk multi-year deal

The Rockies’ maintained faith in catcher Chris Iannetta despite his struggles in 2009. They’re backing that faith in contract talks.

 

General manager Dan O’Dowd said Monday that the Rockies are discussing several contract structures, including a multi-year deal, with the arbitration-eligible Iannetta. The Rockies are also talking about more than one year with two other arbitration-eligible players — closer Huston Street and second baseman Clint Barmes.

 

The latter two were known to be discussing multiyear deals, but O’Dowd revealed the talks with Iannetta during Monday’s first day of the MLB Winter Meetings.

 

The club continues to talk to catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who is a free agent who is testing the market to find a more favorable contract structure and playing opportunity. But the priority is Iannetta, who hit .264 with a .440 slugging percentage in 2008 but hit .228 last year and lost playing time (despite a .460 slugging percentage) to Torrealba in 2009.

 

Left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, coming off a career year (16-9, 4.38 ERA), will be signed to a one-year deal. De La Rosa will be eligible for free agency after 2010. With a good year, he not only will be in line for a big contract but could find himself a Type B free agent. That would give him added leverage and allow the Rockies to receive a pick in the 2011 Draft as compensation should he leave.

Josh Bard a possibility

The Rockies are letting catcher Yorvit Torrealba survey the market. But many teams are seeking catchers, and scouts and front-office executives from other teams say they are still wary over Torrealba’s troublesome right shoulder. In fairness, the shoulder didn’t cost him time last season and his throwing improved as the year progressed. Still, concern over the shoulder could scare teams away from offering him a contract fitting of a No. 1 catcher, and that keeps the Rockies solidly in the mix.

A possibility is former Cherry Creek high catcher Josh Bard, who struggled offensively with the Nationals last season but played through a sore right groin. He could have benefitted from time on the disabled list. The Rockies looked at him last winter.

The value of knowing your role

We’ll see if Rafael Betancourt is the eighth-inning answer for the Rockies. But at least he knows the question, so to speak.

Betancourt, acquired from the Indians on Thursday for Minor League pitcher Connor Graham, joined the Rockies on Friday for the big series with the Giants. Beyond some TV footage and an Interleague series past, Rockies manager Jim Tracy knows little of Betancourt. But Tracy knows Betancourt knows what he needs to know to fill a primary setup man in place of Manuel Corpas, who underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Tracy said. “He’s going to make you beat him with the bat. This guy has never been a guy that creates opportunity for the other team by walking people. He’s a strike-thrower, throws very hard, and has all the things that are necessary.

“Being a strike-thrower, for me that’s the most important thing when you get down to the last six outs of the game.”

Betancourt, 34, who broke in with the Indians in 2003 and didn’t pitch for anyone else, sounded shocked after learning of the trade on Thursday. The blank stare was gone Friday. He was accepted within the expanding Venezuelan corner of the ballclub. He knew veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and fellow relievers Juan Rincon and Franklin Morales already. It turns out young outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and freshly called-up pitcher Jhoulys Chacin grew up within a bout a 10-minute radius of where Betancourt grew up.

And a look at the standings, with the Rockies a game ahead of the Giants in the National League Wild Card race and facing them in a three-game series starting Friday night, made Betancourt feel even more at home.

“It’s a weird feeling, the first time this has happened to me, but I’m just excited to be here,” he said. “All these years I’ve been watching trades that are made. it’s happened to me now. I always wondered how it feels to get traded to a team in the pennant race. It’s vey special.”

– The Rockies designated righty releiver Ryan Speier for assignment. Speier, who is out of Minor League options, was activated from the disabled list earlier this week but had not pitched. Speier said it was simply that a more experienced reliever was available.

The Rockies are hoping Speier clears waivers and can be assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

– Tracy said Corpas’ surgery went well enough that the team will wait two weeks to see how the elbow heals, then hopefully proceed with rehab.

Torrealba has baseball on the mind

Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba was back in the clubhouse and, more importantly, in a baseball frame of mind Tuesday afternoon.

Torrealba, who last played June 1 then had toi deal with the kidnappings if his son and two other family members in Venezuela,  played four get-in-shape games for Triple-A Colorado Springs (4-for-15). He was to be looked over by the Rockies’ training staff Tuesday before the club could activate him.

“I feel good,” Torrealba said. “I’m thinking about baseball. I had my son with me down in Colorado Springs, and that was good. I’m ready to help the team in any way I can.”

The lineup card for Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers listed Paul Phillips as the reserve catcher, behind Chris Iannetta, so it woudl be at least Wednesday before Torrealba will be back on the roster.

Here are the starting lineups:

Rockies

Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Todd Helton, 1B

Brad Hawpe, RF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Ian Stewart, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, CF

Chris Iannetta, C

Jason Marquis, P

Dodgers

Juan Pierre, LF

Rafael Furcal, SS

Andre Ethier, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Mat Kemp, CF

Juan Castro, 2B

A.J. Ellis, C

Chad Billingsley, P

Torrealba will have time to settle in

To help Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba regain baseball form after being away from the team to deal with the kidnapping of his son and two other family members in Venezuela (all were released), Major League Baseball has granted Torrealba and the Rockies a five-day period in which Torrealba can play Minor League games.

The period will be triggered after Torrealba reports to the club.

Torrealba left the team Tuesday upon hearing that his son, his brother-in-law and his wife’s brother-in-law were kidnapped. The three were freed on Wednesday. MLB allowed the Rockies to place Torrealba on the restricted list (not a disabled list or a bereavement list), which allowed the club to replace him on the 40-man Major League and 25-man active rosters without losing another player. Conversations between the Rockies, MLB and the MLB Players Association led to the agreement to allow Torrealba to acclimate himself again to baseball after dealing with his special circumstances.

Torrealba has not indicated when he will return. The Rockies are standing by their statement at the time of the incident, saying Torrealba will get all the time he needs. Manager Jim Tracy said there is not a tentative date at this point, and he is aware of the rehab period.

“Because of the time he has been away, there is a window for us to involve him in some [Minor League] games, rather than bring him back and just put him in this dugout and think that he’d be ready to go,” Tracy said.

Also, Chirs Iannetta, who has been out since late May with a right hamstring strain, has completed his injury rehab assignment and will be activated Tuesday in Milwaukee if he passes the club’s physical examination.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.