Tag:Rockies
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:35 pm
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For Jimenez, Indians are 'like being in heaven'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The numbers tell one story.

The smile tells another.

It's too early in spring to know whether the numbers should be worrisome, whether it matters that Ubaldo Jimenez isn't throwing as hard as he once did, or whether it matters that he is giving up more hits and more runs.

It's not too early to realize that there was more going on with Jimenez and the Rockies than most of us realized last year.

Thursday, after Jimenez gave up two runs in an ugly first inning against the Angels, he spoke glowingly about his current employers (the Indians) and not as glowingly about the team that traded him to Cleveland last July.

"I feel happy here," Jimenez said. "This is like being in heaven for me."

As opposed to Colorado.

Jimenez wouldn't detail all of his issues with the Rockies, but he said they went back to his time in the minor leagues.

"It was kind of hard being with the Rockies," he said. "I went through a lot. People outside the organization don't know."

Jimenez told Foxsports.com earlier this spring that he wasn't happy that when the Rockies gave big new contracts to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, they didn't do the same with him. Jimenez signed an extension in January 2009, so he's making just $4.2 million this year and has a $5.75 million club option for 2013.

But Jimenez suggested his complaints went far beyond the contract, and the way he talks about the Indians hint at what those complaints were.

"You only hear good things about this organization," Jimenez said. "They treat everyone the same. They don't care how much money you signed for."

Jimenez's first two starts this spring haven't gone well. He gave up five runs in one inning Sunday against the Reds, although four of those runs were unearned. Thursday, he gave up two runs in a 31-pitch, two-walk first inning, then rebounded with a clean second inning.

Jimenez blamed his issues Thursday on a lack of command of his fastball, but his velocity was just 90-94 mph, a little low even in spring training for a guy who at his best is in the high 90s.

For Jimenez, getting through the second start of the spring healthy was an improvement over last year. He hurt his finger in his second start last spring, and the injury seemed to playh a part in his poor start to the season.

After going 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 21 starts for the Rockies, Jimenez was traded to the Indians in a deal that cost them two top pitching prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. Jimenez went 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 11 post-trade starts for the Indians.

White made news this spring by getting caught for drunk driving. Pomeranz has begun this spring with five scoreless innings for Colorado.

"[The trade] worked both ways," Jimenez said. "They're happy. I'm happy."

He's happy, and it doesn't even matter to him that the opening day assignment that belonged to him the last two years in Colorado will go to Justin Masterson this year with the Indians.

"He deserved it," Jimenez said. "He earned the spot."


Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:02 pm
 

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

The Rockies watched their promising 2011 season collapse because the rotation fell apart.

Not enough starters. Not enough dependable starters.

Jeremy Guthrie, acquired Monday from the Orioles for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, should be an improvement. But is he enough, and is he the right guy for the job?

The Rockies rotation is deeper and more dependable, with the addition of Guthrie, as well as Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman and Tyler Chatwood, acquired earlier in the winter. It's still shaky enough, however, that Guthrie could well end up as the opening day starter (Jhoulys Chacin is the other likely option).

That's Guthrie, whose main strength is that he can be depended on for 200 innings a season. It's Guthrie, who the Orioles dealt precisely because they didn't see him as the leader of a staff, someone for their talented younger starters to emulate and take after.

Guthrie is a better fit in Colorado than he was in Baltimore, though, for several reasons:

-- Moving from the American League East to the National League West should help, and even though he'll make half his starts in Coors Field, starting regularly in Petco Park, Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park should help a fly-ball pitcher. Guthrie made 15 career starts in New York and Boston, winning just three of the games.

-- Guthrie, who signed a one-year, $8.2 million contract as part of the trade, should be motivated in his final year before free agency. Also, he's pitching for the team closest to his Utah home. Guthrie already posted a picture of himself in a Tim Tebow Broncos uniform.

-- The Rockies should be a contending team. Guthrie went 30-48 in his last three years with the Orioles, with two 17-loss seasons. He should be excited to be with a team that actually has a chance.

It's a low-cost acquisition for the Rockies, who tried but failed earlier this winter on some free-agent starters (most notably Hiroki Kuroda). Hammel was so inconsistent last summer that the Rockies at one point removed him from the rotation, and while Lindstrom has a good arm, it hasn't translated into great success.

Between them, Hammel and Lindstrom were set to make even more money than Guthrie this year, so the trade fits the Rockies budget-wise, as well.

What do the Orioles get out of it?

That's harder to see, since neither Hammel nor Lindstrom figures to be part of the long-term plan in Baltimore (and the Orioles hardly have a short-term plan for contending).

One way to look at it: As long as Guthrie was there, he was going to be the veteran starter that Orioles kids like Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton would watch. As long as Guthrie was there, he was going to be the focal point of the rotation.

When Pat Gillick took over the Phillies, he traded away veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, in a move that allowed guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to become the dominant personalities in the clubhouse. The Orioles want Arrieta and Britton to lead their rotation, and that may not happen as quickly when there's a guy who has been there as long as Guthrie had.

Should the Orioles have gotten more for a 200-inning pitcher with a good arm? That's easy to say, but when they put Guthrie on the market last July, there were no takers. There was little trade interest in him this winter, either.

The Rockies had followed him since late last season, though, and they saw him as an upgrade.

He should be an upgrade. The question is whether it will make enough of a difference.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 4:26 pm
 

More kids to watch: Moore, Montero, Arenado

Heading to spring training 2010, Stephen Strasburg was the big new name, the guy everyone had to see . . .

Until people started talking about Jason Heyward, too. And Aroldis Chapman.

It was still the spring of Strasburg, but it really became the spring of the phenom.

This spring could be the same.

The early focus is again on the Nationals, who seem determined to give Bryce Harper a real shot at making the opening day roster (which they didn't do with Strasburg in 2010).

But there are tons of other names, tons of other young players with some shot at opening the year in the big leagues, and an even better shot at opening eyes this spring.

An early look at a few names to watch, besides Harper, who colleague Jon Heyman wrote about separately:

Matt Moore, 22, Rays. The situation has changed only a little bit since Moore got everyone so excited last September and October. Moore signed a long-term contract in December, which seemingly lessens the financial incentive for the small-budget Rays to have him begin 2012 in the minor leagues. But the Rays haven't yet traded any of their other starting pitchers, so there's not yet an open spot in the rotation. The decision on what to do with Moore will be closely watched.

Jesus Montero, 22, Mariners. He can hit, but can he catch? And can he hit enough to make a difference for the Mariners? Those questions will get better answers during the season than during the spring, but as the key player going to Seattle in the big Michael Pineda trade, Montero will be watched and discussed.

Jacob Turner, 20, Tigers. The Tigers tried for Gio Gonzalez and they tried for Roy Oswalt, but they still don't have a fifth starter. Turner is the most exciting name among many candidates. He's probably less likely to end up with the job than some of the others, but on a team that has no problem with promoting young talent (Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, Rick Porcello), he will get a chance.

Trevor Bauer, 21, Diamondbacks; Danny Hultzen, 22, Mariners; Sonny Gray, 22, A's. Who will be the first pitcher from the 2011 draft to make it to the big leagues? Bauer, Hultzen and Gray all go to spring training with some chance, and whether they make it or not, all three will likely excite people every time they're scheduled to pitch.

Nolan Arenado, 20, Rockies. Arenado won a lot of fans among scouts who covered the Arizona Fall League, with one saying: "He's Edgar Martinez at the plate, with the best hitting approach I've ever seen from a young player." The signing of Casey Blake no doubt lessens Arenado's chance to make the team this spring (for now, he's ticketed for Double-A), but if he hits in spring training the way he did in the fall, the Rockies will at least begin talking about it.

Julio Teheran, 21, Braves; Randall Delgado, 21, Braves. The Braves got a look at Teheran and Delgado last year, but with health concerns about Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, the look this spring may be more significant.

Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:57 pm
 

Geivett to interview for Astros GM job

Rockies executive Bill Geivett will interview in the next few days for the Astros' vacant general manager position, and one baseball executive said it's believed he has a "real legitimate shot" at getting the job.

Others familiar with the Astros search weren't so sure, cautioning that the team is still early in the process and is in the process of seeking permission to talk to many candidates.

Rays general manager Andrew Friedman is the Astros' preferred candidate, but one source familiar with the search said it remains "doubtful" that Friedman would make the move. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine was also considered a strong candidate, but he pulled out of the running on Wednesday.

Just as happened with the Orioles GM job last month, some people in baseball are questioning how desirable the Astros position is, particularly given the awkward timing of the process.

Because Jim Crane wasn't approved as the team's new owner until mid-November, the Astros didn't fire Ed Wade until this week, and now they're in the strange position of searching for a GM in the days leading up to next week's winter meetings (with a certainty that the search will stretch past the meetings). That makes it tough for candidates to leave prior jobs, and will make it next to impossible for whoever gets the Astros job to assemble a staff of assistants.

Geivett is interested in the job, has the Rockies' blessing -- even though it would be tough for them to lose him -- and is by all accounts a qualified candidate. The one question, one person familiar with the search said, was whether Geivett is aggressive enough for Crane's liking.

The 48-year-old Geivett is a former minor-league player who has been with the Rockies for 11 years, running the minor-league and scouting operations and most recently serving as assistant GM. His success in running both scouting and player development should be a benefit with the Astros, who will need to acquire and develop plenty of new talent.

"He's done everything," said one veteran scout who knows Geivett well. "He's ready."

And, at least for now, he's interested.

Other potential candidates may not be, and there were even rumblings Thursday that the Astros' treatment of ex-club president Tal Smith (fired by phone Sunday) had helped turn some people off.

Levine won't say why he didn't want the job, and didn't even mention the Astros by name in his statement Wednesday. He focused instead on how much he wanted to stay with the Rangers, where he is part of a management team that has had great success and also gets along extremely well.

Levine will remain in his current job with the Rangers, after some talk earlier that he would shift to overseeing the farm system. The Rangers have had an opening since Scott Servais left to work for new GM Jerry Dipoto with the Angels. Now, it's possible that job could go to ex-Astros GM Tim Purpura.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:56 pm
 

Rockies sign Hernandez, trade Iannetta to Angels

The Rockies have traded catcher Chris Iannetta to the Angels in exchange for pitcher Tyler Chatwood, and Colorado has signed free-agent Ramon Hernandez to replace Iannetta.

The teams announced the trade Wednesday night, and Rockies later announced that Hernandez had agreed to terms, pending a physical. Foxsports.com reported that Hernandez will get $6.5 million on a two-year contract.

The 35-year-old Hernandez hit .282 with 12 home runs in 91 games last year with the Reds. Iannetta, 28, hit 14 home runs in 112 games for the Rockies with a .238 batting average but a .370 on-base percentage.

The Rockies have been looking to add starting pitchers this winter.

Posted on: September 14, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Rockies' Alfonzo gets 100-game drug ban

First Manny Ramirez, now Eliezer Alfonzo.

Never thought you'd hear those two names linked, did you?

Ramirez retired this spring, when baseball told him he'd be suspended for 100 games for a second drug violation. Wednesday, Alfonzo became the second player to face a 100-game suspension, and the first to actually have his suspension enforced.

Rather than retire, he said he didn't do it.

In a statement released by the players' union, the 32-year-old Rockies catcher denied using drugs, even though baseball said he had tested positive for an unnamed performance enhancing substance.

"I am surprised by this positive test," Alfonzo said. "I learned my lesson in 2008 and have not taken any prohibited substances since then. With the union's help, I intend to fight this suspension and look forward to appearing before the arbitrator in the near future."

In drug suspensions, normal appeals are heard and ruled on before baseball makes an announcement. So Alfonzo has already presented his case once, and had it turned down.

Alfonzo has played just 25 games with the Rockies this year, after playing 31 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He previously played in the big leagues with the Giants and Mariners, and in the minor leagues with the Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs and Marlins.

His previous suspension, for 50 games, came in 2008 when he was with the Giants.

"I made a mistake and want to apologize to my family, my teammates, the fans and the Giants organization," Alfonzo said in a statement then. "I know what I did was wrong and now I will pay the penalty. As a father, I now have to look my children in the eye and explain to them that I have made a big mistake, one unfortunately that they are going to have to deal with as well as me."


Posted on: August 28, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2011 9:03 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Yankees start in Boston edition

Of all the pitchers who have ever made 90 or more career starts for the Yankees, A.J. Burnett has the worst ERA (4.82).

Of all the pitchers who have ever started 11 or more games in a season for the Yankees, Phil Hughes has the seventh highest ERA (6.46).

Good thing the Yankees don't really need to beat the first-place Red Sox this week, with Hughes and Burnett starting two of the three games.

Oh, they'll tell you that they do. They'll talk about the importance of winning the American League East, and of home-field advantage in the playoffs.

But the real importance of this week, and the real importance of every other week until the playoffs begin, is for the Yankees to figure out which of their shaky starting pitchers they can possibly hope to rely on in October. Boston is a good place to try to start figuring, in part because the Red Sox may be the team the Yankees eventually need to beat, and also because in 12 games against the Red Sox this season (10 of them losses), Yankee starters have a 7.54 ERA.

At the moment, Burnett would seem the least reliable, given his 11.91 ERA and 1.142 opponents OPS (Jose Bautista leads all major-league hitters at 1.092) in August.

In fact, with manager Joe Girardi once again promising that the Yankees will go from a six-man rotation to a five-man rotation after the series in Boston, Burnett is the leading candidate to be dropped.

The Yankees would like to think that Hughes is less of a concern, given that in five straight appearances heading into last week, he had a 2.08 ERA. Then Hughes was awful against the light-hitting A's (2 2/3 innings, six runs), and followed it up with the strange comment, "Hopefully I won't face the A's again for a while."

Instead, his next start is against the Red Sox, who lead the majors in scoring.

Hughes should know that; in three appearances against Boston this year, he has a 16.20 ERA.

Even when Hughes had good numbers, scouts weren't overly impressed.

"He was better," said one scout who watched him in a good performance. "But that's not the same Phil Hughes from when he was really good."

Hughes starts Wednesday night. Burnett, 0-4 with an 8.71 ERA in eight starts for the Yankees against the Red Sox, starts Thursday.

So the Yankees might want to win the first game of the series, behind ace CC Sabathia, on Tuesday.

And that, if nothing else, will make this feel just like a Yankee playoff series.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Diamondbacks ended the weekend with a four-game lead in the National League West (their biggest yet), which means they're guaranteed to enter September -- and next weekend's big series in San Francisco -- in first place. First, they'll play three games against the Rockies -- the team that was supposed to be challenging the Giants -- beginning with Rockies at Diamondbacks, Monday night (9:40 ET) at Chase Field. Monday's game also features Alex White, one of the two pitchers the Rockies got in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

2. At this point, it's probably worth pointing out that Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in his four starts against the Red Sox this year, and also that his 4.95 ERA in August is easily his highest for any month this year. But there's no doubt that the Yankees trust Sabathia about 10 times more than they trust any of their other starters, so they'll expect him to win, in Yankees at Red Sox, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. Sabathia faces the unreliable John Lackey, with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester going against Hughes and Burnett the next two nights.

3. The Yankees talk about home-field advantage, and it's true that they're 41-26 at Yankee Stadium this year. But that's nothing compared to the Brewers, who have a 50-16 home record, with 17 wins in their last 19 games. That record has helped the Brewers turn the National League Central into a runaway, and has greatly diminished the importance of this week's series against second-place St. Louis. The Brewer record for home wins in a season is 54, and they could get close in the series that ends with Cardinals at Brewers, Thursday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Miller Park. Yovani Gallardo, who is 9-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 13 home starts, will be on the mound for the Brewers. One more thing about the Brewers: Despite playing in the smallest market in the majors, they'll sell their 3 miilionth ticket sometime this week.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:49 pm
 

3 to Watch: The glimmer of a chance edition

Last Friday morning, the host of a morning talk show on the Angels' flagship radio station asked me if Mark Trumbo's dramatic home run the night before had given the Angels "a glimmer of a chance" in the American League West.

Good thing I said yes.

It would have been easy to say no. I was tempted to say no.

The Angels had just lost three of four to the Rangers. They still trailed the Rangers by six games in the American League West.

There was no way they were coming back. But maybe because I wanted to be nice, or maybe because I almost believed it, I said yes.

Good thing I did.

The Angels are in Texas this weekend, and if they win all three games they leave town Sunday night in first place. If they win two of three, they leave town one game out.

Even if they lose two of three, they're three games out, with a month to play.

They have at least "a glimmer of a chance."

Good thing, too, because baseball needs a pennant race in the American League West.

The Tigers have gone ahead by 6 1/2 games in the American League Central. The Brewers are so far ahead in the National League Central (10 games, as of Thursday morning) that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked if it's time for the Cardinals to start selling off players.

The Yankees and the Red Sox have known for weeks that they'll be in the American League playoffs. Same goes for the Phillies and Braves in the National League.

If the Rangers had pulled away, we could have been stuck with just the NL West, with the surprising Diamondbacks, the champion Giants . . . and the Rockies?

With five straight wins, the Rockies had pulled to within 8 1/2 games of the lead, before the Diamondbacks won Thursday to make it nine games.

"It's a longshot," Troy Tulowitzki told reporters. "But if anyone can do it, it's us."

The Rockies are 63-68, hardly contender-like. But it's only four games worse than they were after 131 games in 2007.

That year, they ended up with 90 wins. This year, 90 wins might win the NL West.

I'm not sure it's even a glimmer of a chance yet. But Tulowitzki is right.

If anyone can do it, it's them.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. You'd be surprised how many players talk about going back to finish their career where they started it. Jim Thome got the chance, when the Twins traded him to the Indians Thursday night. Thome, who last played for Cleveland in 2002, returns for Royals at Indians, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, which was known as Jacobs Field the last time he played for the Indians. Ubaldo Jimenez, last month's big Indians acquisition, will be on the mound.

2. The best thing the Angels have going for them is the top of their rotation, with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. And manager Mike Scioscia seems ready to use all three of those aces this weekend, even though it would mean using Santana and Weaver on three days' rest for the first time in either's big-league career. Santana would face Rangers ace C.J. Wilson in Angels at Rangers, Saturday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. Weaver would pitch Sunday night against Colby Lewis. Haren opens the series on regular rest, Friday against Derek Holland.

3. The Rockies' longshot run last year basically ended on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, when they took a 6-1 lead and ended up losing 7-6. And it fell apart completely a few nights later in Arizona. Their longer-shot run heads to Los Angeles and Arizona this week, including Rockies at Dodgers, Sunday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Dodger Stadium.



 
 
 
 
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