Just wanted to update everyone about the Rockies and their trade possibilities. I’m pulling my information from a few sources, Mostly twitter updates of Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal , ESPN’s Jason Stark and Buster Olney , and the Denver Post’s Troy Renck . Also Steve Foster of Inside the Rockies has been following these as well. I also have a personal inside connection to the Rockies as well.
It looks like there have been some interest in Brad Hawpe. However, according to Jason Stark, the Rockies are now telling teams that they will have to keep Hawpe to play first base for the rest of the season. I’d point out, I mentioned that as possibility (told you so!).
Helton has not looked good in rookie level competition in Casper, and the Rockies will need a first baseman. Manager Jim Tracy and the Rockies have liked what they’ve seen of Hawpe at first, where he’s shown good instinct and surprising agility. They’ve talked about Hawpe, like he’s a natural...surprising that, given the fact that he’s a natural first baseman.
Hawpe is border line Type A free agent, which would bring back two high draft picks but even if he falls to B that brings back a first round supplemental pick which seems to be of higher value than anything any team has offered the Rockies. To get that draft pick the Rockies in the offseason, will have to buy out the option on Hawpe’s contract, then offer him arbitration, which he would have to turn down. That last little bit might get tricky. If he accepts the arbitration, the Rockies might end up with Hawpe at near his current contract is now, and no draft picks.
The St. Louis Cardinals came calling about Aaron Cook. Cook would be owed about $12 million dollars on his contract from this year and next year if he’s traded. That includes the contract kicker that if he’s traded his contract goes up $1 million per year. He would be owed closer to $10 remaining if he stayed a Rockie. Those numbers are important as you hear what the Cardinals proposed.
Their basic pitch from what I’ve pieced together is the Cardinals would take Cook off the Rockies hands, if the Rockies picked up about $7-8 million dollars of the $12 million owed Cook. Which would mean the Rockies would be spending $7-8 million to save $10 million the cost of if he would be staying. It would only be a net savings of $2-3 million. Which the Rockies didn’t exactly find enough. Also the Cardinals didn’t offer anything as far as prospects back. The Rockies want a near MLB ready prospect.
The Cardinals have moved on to the Indians Jake Westbrook. Interestingly enough a very similar pitcher to Aaron Cook who is not overpowering and features a sinker and induces ground balls. Westbrook missed all of '09 with injury and struggled earlier in the season with consistency, but seems be in a flow again recently. Unlike Cook, who has looked like he’s throwing batting practice (GEE…I wonder why would the Cardinals want a pitcher doing well versus one that is throwing BP? hum).
The Rockies plan B with Aaron Cook is to pass him through waivers. If a contender needs starting pitching this next month, Cook will be one of a few available to trade for in the post-trade deadline trading period (hey, I didn’t make the crazy MLB rules up). Supply and demand could make Cook more attractive post-deadline.
A good start from Cook would also help his value. After his last start where Cook gave up five runs on six hits and couldn’t get out of the third inning, the Cardinals were scared off Cook at about any price. The Rockies are hoping Cook can give them a good start or two, which might help generate interest and thus demand for Cook.
I’ve heard nothing on starter Jeff Francis. I think he has more value to the Rockies right now. He’s had three quality starts in a row, which as of this writing no other Rockie can claim, not even Ubaldo. Francis is coming back to form and is looking right now like he did in 2007. If he can do that this year, and next Francis could be that No. 2 pitcher the Rox need in 2011.
At $7 million dollars he’s owed for next year, that is in line for what the Rockies could pay for a No. 2 and less than they’d pay for a free agent. I don’t think other teams are looking at Francis in the same light, which means he’s worth more to the Rockies than another team right now.
The Rockies want to re-sign Jorge De La Rosa, and they don’t want to trade him. They want him to think of the Rockies as his home team. JDLR bounced around before finally landing in Denver. George of the Rose has teams interested, but like Francis, the interest is no where near what the Rockies value him at. This could be a little bit of a gamble on the Rockies part. If JDLR doesn’t re-sign, the Rockies could lose out on getting a return on the biggest trade chip they have right now.
Seems the New York Yankees have kicked the tires on Ryan Spilborghs as well as Melvin Mora. The Yankees would like some bench depth. Both these players would fit.
Several teams have inquired about the Rockies bullpen arms. Left-handers Joe Biemel and Randy Flores as well as right-hander Rafael Betancourt have been the focus of attention. The pattern goes like buying a used car, “Hey we like Biemel and we will give you squat from him”…and the Rox response, “Hey for that price we can’t sell you Biemel, but have you seen Randy Flores, he’s more that price range.”
Several teams have contacted the Rockies about relievers. The most notable tire kicker was the Boston Red Sox. There has been some bad trading blood between Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd and Boston’s GM Theo Epstein. Seems Epstein is more than a little tight when it comes to trading (Did I put that nicely enough?).
Seems the offer from the Red Sox for Betancourt went something like this: “Hey we'll give one of your players the wonderful chance to be a Red Sox which is of course the dream of every player where baseballs are covered in diamonds and the outfield smells like Lilacs, and we’ll do that out of the kindness of our hearts, which means no player in return."
Another team that have talked to the Rockies about their relievers have been the New York Yankees. I wonder if the Yankees might offer more just to keep some relievers from going to their rival the Red Sox? Yes…yes they would.
There are rumors out there that the Red Sox want Chris Iannetta. They do, but both sides will wait until the offseason to really hammer that deal out. But reading between the lines, it seems both sides have a date to talk, which is kinda odd.
Surprisingly I’ve not heard anything on Clint Barmes. I think he’d be a starter in San Diego, San Francisco, and a regular contributor in Minnesota. Barmes is one I had thought would be traded. A utility guy that is at the starter level at two positions is actually valuable. With the Rockies having Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr., and Jonathon Herrera in the organization, Barmes is expendable.
I still think a deal will happen for either Betancourt and/or Biemel. Again the Rockies are looking at near MLB ready prospects in return for either. This is a high asking price for many teams as they are valuing their prospects more and more. I think the natural fit is with the New York Yankees, taking a reliever and Melvin Mora, for one prospect.
POST DEADLINE UPDATE: Yankees did call. Their offer was based on salary relief, and taking on salary. However, Beimel, Flores and Betancourt all have very good salaries. The Rockies had no need to "dump" good salaries. Kerry Wood had a worse salary, and that was of value to the Indians more than to the Rockies.
Also the Braves called as well about relief pitching.
Rosenthal said the Red Sox backed away cause the Rockies were asking too much. Funny. I guess we know which side Rosenthal "source" is located on. Mine, on the Rockies side, was the Red Sox were offereing NOTHING, and wanted a pitcher for basicly nothing.
Denver Post Troy Renck Twitted this: Rox still unlikely to make move Hawpe and cook not going anywhere. Hawpe could be 1b next yr.
The last part is the interesting part. Lots of stuff to read into that last line, like Helton won't be the the Rockies first baseman. Also the Rockies could pick up Hawpes option for next year which right now is a $10 million dollar option.
First Baseman Free Agent class has several fading big names like Lance Berkman, Derrick Lee, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, and some dude named Pujols (who ever he is)
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