Colorado Rockies Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News
The Colorado Rockies finished in last place in the National League West in 2013, but that can be misleading given the injuries suffered by key players. Although they have a good core in place, the team needs to make a lot of moves in order to contend next year.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, center fielder Dexter Fowler and right fielder Michael Cuddyer all missed time with injuries. It's tough to contend when key parts of the lineup are missing, but the team still finished second in the NL in runs scored.
Pitching was the issue in Colorado. Coors Field isn't an easy place to pitch, but the numbers weren't pretty, especially in the bullpen. The Rockies bullpen finished last in the NL in ERA, which was the team's biggest issue.
Three starters who made at least 20 starts finished with an ERA below 3.50, so there is some talent in the rotation.
Look for the organization to go after pitching and a big bat for right field—assuming Cuddyer moves to first base.
While there probably won't be any huge deals for the Rockies, check back here daily to see what the latest rumors are surrounding the Rockies.
Colorado's Own Free Agents and Done Deals
Oct. 8: LHP Jorge De La Rosa's $11 million club option EXERCISED
Nov. 4: RHP Matt Belisle's $4.25 mutual option EXERCISED
Dec. 3: Acquired RHP Jordan Lyles and OF Brandon Barnes to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later, via the Rockies.
Dec. 4: Signed OF Jason Pridie
RHP Rafael Betancourt (Age 38)
2013 stats: 32 G, 28.2 IP, 2-5, 16 SV, 4.08 ERA, 26 H, 2 HR, 27 K/11 BB
Oct. 29: COL DECLINED $4.25 mutual option with $250,000 buyout
Arbitration Eligible Players
Joaquin Benoit: Rockies Talking to Reliever
In efforts to shore up their bullpen, the Rockies are talking to Joaquin Benoit, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.
The two sides haven't been able to agree on money yet. The Rockies had been rumored to be looking for a reliever via trade rather than free agency.
Benoit posted a 2.01 ERA and a 1.030 WHIP with the Detroit Tigers in 2013. He went 4-1 with 24 saves and struck out 73 batters in 67 innings over 66 games. He has posted an ERA below 3.00 in three of the past four seasons.
Detroit's bullpen was the club's weakness, but Benoit was the only reliever who the team could count on consistently.
Benoit has played for three teams in his 12-year career, and he is looking for a new team right now.
Dec. 10: Acquired LHP Brett Anderson from the Oakland A's
2013 Stats: 16 G/5 GS, 1-4, 3 SV, 6.04 ERA, 44.2 IP, 1.612 WHIP, 46 K/21 BB
Contract Status: Owed $8 million in 2014, $12 million club option for 2015
Colorado sent southpaw Drew Pomeranz and right-handed pitcher Chris Jensen back in return. Pomeranz, who was acquired for Ubaldo Jimenez, never lived up to expectations in Colorado.
There were talks in the past about a possible trade, but the talks seemed to be over. Earlier on Tuesday, Dec. 10, The Denver Post's Troy Renck tweeted that talks began again. It didn't take long for the two sides to reach an agreement.
However, the Rockies were cautious about the pitcher's health. He has had arm and foot injuries in the past, which explains why the Rockies were hesitant.
Anderson is 26-29 in his career with a 3.81 ERA and 1.283 WHIP. He has the potential to be a very good pitcher, and the Rockies are looking to improve its pitching.
Colorado's rotation tied for 26th with a 4.57 ERA in 2013. This move was made to add some depth behind Jorge De La Rosa.
Anderson is under team control for two more seasons. For an average of $10 million per season, he would be cheaper than most quality arms on the market.
Moving from Oakland's spacious park to Coors Field will be a challenge for Anderson. If he stays healthy, it could be a great move.
Rockies Are Looking to Improve Bullpen
The Colorado Rockies finished with the worst bullpen ERA (4.23) in the NL and 28th in the majors, so the club is looking for help.
*Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 8:59 p.m. ET
The Colorado Rockies are interested in Ryan Madson, according to The Denver Post's Troy Renck. Madson has not pitched since 2011, and he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012 and the Los Angeles Angels in 2013. He never threw a pitch (in a game) for either club.
However, the team is expected to get a reliever via trade, not free agency. The team has been linked to the Reds' Sean Marshall and free agent Joba Chamberlain today.
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*Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:29 a.m. ET
The Colorado Rockies are reportedly close to acquiring a reliever, according to The Denver Post's Troy Renck. The team is expected to get the reliever via trade, not free agency, and the Kansas City Royals are not the other team involved, via Renck.
---End of update---
*Update: Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 10:40 a.m. ET
As expected, the Rockies are looking at several options to improve their bullpen.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle lists Colorado as one of the teams interested in Grant Balfour. The closer had 38 saves with a 2.59 ERA last season. The 35-year-old has posted a 2.53 ERA in 199.1 innings over the past three seasons with the Oakland A's. He has been consistent since 2010, so he will draw a lot of interest on the market.
Veras split time between the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers this past season, and he was good for both clubs. He posted a 3.02 ERA in 62.2 innings. He allowed only 45 hits and 22 walks while striking out 60. His earned run average has declined in each of the past three seasons.
---End of update---
Rockies Show Interest in Joba Chamberlain
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Rockies are among the teams that have shown interest in Chamberlain.
The right-hander posted a 4.93 ERA and a 1.738 WHIP this past season for the New York Yankees.
This doesn't look like the best fit for Chamberlain. Pitching in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium did him no favors. His ERA was below 4.35 only once in the past five seasons. Moving to Coors Field would be just as unforgiving.
Colorado is looking to add arms to the bullpen, and Chamberlain has the potential to be a real force.
Sean Marshall: Trade Target
Cincinnati and Colorado have reportedly had multiple talks involving the veteran.
*Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 6:53 p.m. ET
The Denver Post's Troy Renck reported that the Rockies nearly acquired Marshall on Monday night. Even after Colorado acquired starting pitcher Brett Anderson on Tuesday, the talks with the Reds still has "some life."
---End of update---
Marshall is one of the game's best left-handed relievers after struggling as a starter. Unfortunately shoulder issues limited him to 16 games in 2013.
In 322 games as a reliever, Marshall has a 2.60 ERA, a 1.157 WHIP and 16 saves. The 31-year-old has held hitters to a .226 average when he has come out of the bullpen. Left-handed batters are hitting only .218 against him in his career.
Marshall has been dominant since coming over to Cincinnati. The southpaw has a 2.40 ERA and a 1.079 WHIP in two seasons, which is impressive considering that he has to pitch in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
The tall left-hander has struggled in limited action at Coors Field. He is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, and he has allowed three homers in 10.2 innings pitched.
Marshall is due $12 million over the next two seasons, and he would significantly improve Colorado's bullpen.
Jason Hammel: Free Agent Target
Hammel went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.457 WHIP in 26 games, including 23 starts, with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. The 31-year-old allowed 22 home runs in 139.1 innings.
The right-hander had a strong 2012 campaign. He posted a 3.43 ERA and a 1.237 WHIP, both of which were easily the best of his career.
He has a 4.80 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP for his eight-year career. Outside of the 2012 season, he has never had an earned run average below 4.30 in his career, which doesn't bode well for a place like Coors Field.
In three years with the Rockies (2009 to 2011), Hammel had a 4.63 ERA and allowed 56 home runs in 524.2 innings. He made 96 appearances, including 87 starts.
There may be a reunion in the works if the price is right.
Michael Morse: Free Agent Target
The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported that the Rockies are interested in Michael Morse.
With his power, he could thrive at Coors Field. He hit 31 home runs in 2011 for Washington Nationals.
The 31-year-old has also shown that he can hit for average. He hit .294/.343/.514 in four seasons with the Nationals. If he could get back to hitting that way, he'd be a great pickup for any team.
Rockies Interested in Veterans to Help the Bench?
The Rockies have made some moves this offseason, but they are not done yet. The Denver Post's Troy Renck tweeted that the club is interested in infielder Michael Young and outfielder Raul Ibanez.
Young hasn't lost anything at the plate. The 37-year-old hit .279/.335/.395 with eight home runs, 26 doubles and five triples with the Philadelphia Philles and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He has a career slash line of .300/.346/.441.
The infielder accepted a bench role with the Dodgers late in the season, and he played whatever position a team has asked him to.
Ibanez put up impressive power numbers in Seattle this past season. The 41-year-old hit 29 home runs and 20 doubles with the Mariners in 2013. He has hit at least 19 homers in seven of the past eight seasons.
Both players would provide the Rockies more offense, but it's not clear how much interest there is in either veteran.
Dec. 3: 1B Justin Morneau Signed a Two-Year Deal with the Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have signed first baseman Justin Morneau to a two-year deal worth about $13 million, via CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, with a mutual option for a third year, via The Denver Post's Troy Renck.
Renck had tweeted that Morneau is Colorado's top target. After missing out on a few free agents earlier this offseason, the Rockies were aggressive in order to get Morneau.
After spending more than 10 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Morneau is on his third team since August.
The 2006 American League Most Valuable Player is currently looking for a place to play. He played with the Minnesota Twins and the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, which allowed him to play in the postseason for the first time since 2010.
Morneau wants to go somewhere that he can get back to the postseason. The 36-year-old doesn't have many more chances at a ring, so look for him to go somewhere that will put him in contention.
The first baseman hit .259/.323/.411 with 17 home runs and 77 RBI in 2013. He still has a little bit of pop, so Coors Field would be a good fit for him. Playing in a hitter-friendly stadium will certainly help his numbers.
Morneau adds to an already talented lineup. With Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and now Moreneau, the Rockies have a middle of the lineup that few in the National League can match. However, all four of these key offensive weapons have to find a way to stay healthy.
This move was helped along when the Rockies traded away CF Dexter Fowler earlier in the day to clear some payroll. Now that the Rockies have their man, they can begin to set their roster.
Morneau will take over at first, which means Cuddyer will stay in right field. With the offense taken care of, Colorado can turn its attention to searching for pitchers.
Dec. 3: Acquired RHP Jordan Lyles and CF Brandon Barnes from the Houston Astros
The Colorado Rockies had been dangling outfielder Dexter Fowler on the trading block, and they finally found a deal that could help their pitching staff.
As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported, the trade gives the Rockies payroll flexibility. The team has made progress with free agent Justin Morneau, and this deal will help them stay aggressive.
RHP Jordan Lyles
2013 Stats: 27 G/25 GS, 7-9, 1 SV, 5.59 ERA, 141.2 IP, 17 HR, 93 K/49 BB, 1.511 WHIP
Jordan Lyles is a young pitcher who has quite a bit of experience in the majors. He made 72 appearances, including 65 starts, in three seasons with the Astros. The right-hander has a career 5.35 ERA with a 1.454 WHIP.
For now the Rockies plan to keep Lyles, but FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the right-hander is already drawing interest.
OF Brandon Barnes
2013 Stats: .240/.289/.346, 8 HR, 17 2B, 1 3B, 41 RBI, 11 SB
Brandon Barnes is older than Lyles, but he has a lot less experience in the majors.
This past season was his first full season with the Astros. He has appeared 179 games over the last two seasons, including 136 in 2013. He has a career slash line of .233/.282/.330.
Barnes' overall average hasn't been great, but he showed the ability to hit in clutch situations in 2013. He hit .287 with runners on, .329 with runners in scoring position and .323 with runners in scoring position in two outs.
Those numbers are very promising, so the Rockies could get him to develop into a more consistent hitter. Coors Field should be a great place for him to develop
LaTroy Hawkins: Agreed to One-Year Deal with Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have come to terms with LaTroy Hawkins, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The 40-year-old agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million to be the Rockies' closer. There is also a $2.25 million option, or a $250,000 buyout, for 2015, per Nightengale.
Hawkins posted a 2.93 ERA in 70.2 innings with the New York Mets in 2013. He went 3-2 with 13 saves in 72 appearances.
The right-hander has a career 4.37 ERA with 101 saves, so his experience makes him a good fit with the Rockies.
Colorado was looking around at closers, and they were able to get Hawkins for cheap.
This will be his second stint in Colorado. In the 2007 season, Hawkins had a 3.42 ERA in 55.1 innings in 62 appearances. He allowed only one run in five postseason innings as the Rockies made a trip to the World Series that year.
Hawkins has pitched for 10 teams in his 19-year career. It will be his fourth different team in the last four seasons.
Troy Tulowitzki: Will the Rockies Deal Their Superstar Shortstop?
*Update: Nov. 12 at 3:55 p.m. ET
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that the Rockies have told teams that Tulowitzki is unavailable.
---End of update---
*Update: Nov. 11 at 9:23 p.m. ET
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*Update: Nov. 11 at 10:59 a.m. ET
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Rockies still aren't likely to trade Tulowitzki. The general manager of an interested team believes Colorado is going to hang onto Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.
---End of update---
*Update: Nov. 10 at 11:17 p.m. ET
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote that officials from the Cardinals and Rockies may meet at the GM meetings this week to discuss a possible trade involving Tulowitzki.
This potential match has been thrown around a few times recently, but it looks like there might actually be some real talks this week.
St. Louis needs a shortstop, which is pretty much its only weakness. Colorado needs a first baseman/right fielder and pitching help. The Cardinals have plenty to offer.
In the field, the Cardinals could offer either Allen Craig, who can play right field or first base, or first baseman Matt Adams. Craig has proven himself, but Adams is more likely to be included.
St. Louis has plenty of pitchers to offer. Shelby Miller would likely be Colorado's main target, but Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn are also starters who are available. Carlos Martinez worked in relief this year but is transitioning to the rotation next season, so he'd be an interesting fit in Colorado. It's unclear if the Cardinals would be willing to part with hard-throwing closer Trevor Rosenthal.
If Colorado is looking to deal Tulowitzki, St. Louis would be the best fit.
---End of update---
Although Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post wrote that Rockies owner Dick Monfort has said that he won't trade shortstop Troy Tulowitzki or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez this offseason, expect at least Tulowitzki's name to get thrown around in trade rumors this winter.
The shortstop has a big contract, which would make it tough to move him. He is due $130 million through 2020, plus a $15 million team in 2021. If Colorado decided to move him, it would probably have to eat part of the contract.
Tulowitzki has hit .295/.367/.509 with 155 home runs and 187 doubles through the first eight seasons of his career. The 29-year-old has made three All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.
Matt Belisle: Mutual Option Picked Up
On Monday, Nov. 4, reliever Matt Belisle and the Colorado Rockies exercised his mutual option, according to the team's Twitter account.
By exercising the option, it gives the Rockies a reliable arm in the bullpen.
Belisle pitched in 72 games, covering 73 innings. He went 5-7 with a 4.32 ERA and shows that he can pitch whenever he is needed.
RHP Rafael Betancourt: Option Declined, Free Agent
The Rockies decided to decline Rafael Betancourt's option for next season, according to the team's official Twitter account.
It was a decision that many expected after the 38-year-old suffered a potential career-ending injury earlier this year. He completely tore his ulnar ligament, and it's unclear if he will ever pitch again.
When he was healthy, Betancourt was a very good reliever for the Rockies. He had a 3.08 ERA over parts of five seasons with the club, and he posted an ERA below 3.00 in consecutive seasons before struggling this year.
The right-hander's 4.08 ERA was his highest since his last full year with the Cleveland Indians back in 2008.
Unfortunately for the reliever, his injury made it an easy decision for the team.
Betancourt played for two teams over 11 seasons in the majors, and his injury could mean that we have seen the last of him in a major league uniform.
RHP Jorge De La Rosa: Option Picked Up
As the team confirmed on Twitter in early October, it exercised Jorge De La Rosa's $11 million option.
The 32-year-old had a breakout season for the Rockies, so this was a no-brainer.
It was the first time that he had made at least 10 starts in a season and finished with an ERA below 4.00. He matched his career high in wins and made 30 starts in a season for only the second time.
De La Rosa had bounced around to a few teams before finding a home in Colorado in 2008. He had always been an adequate starter, especially given that he has to pitch at Coors Field. After his latest campaign, picking up his option was one of the easiest decisions the team will make this offseason.