Rockies balk at price for Garland, trade for Contreras

August 31, 2009 | 10:22 pm | 52  

The Colorado Rockies spent much of Monday trying to acquire starting pitcher Jon Garland from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but a potential deal fell apart over what the Diamondbacks wanted in return. Garland, who still is owed a sizeable salary this season and has a $10 million mutual option with big buyouts for 2010, eventually landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tracy Ringolsby reports that the Rockies ownership had agreed to the finances of the deal and were willing to take on a significant chunk of what Garland is owed, but the team balked at including one of their top pitching prospects in the deal as well. The Diamondbacks wanted right-hander Juan Nicasio, who is 8-3 with a 2.75 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings for low Class-A Asheville.

The Rockies instead turned to the Chicago White Sox acquired starting pitcher Jose Contreras in exchange for min0r-league pitcher Brandon Hynick. The White Sox also will send cash to the Rockies in the deal.

Contreras, who is 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts with the White Sox this season, likely will fill the hole in the Rockies rotation left when Aaron Cook went on the disabled list. He could either remain in the rotation when Cook returns or move to the bullpen.

Hynick, who was 10-9 with a 3.83 ERA for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, was considered a candidate to start in Aaron Cook’s spot in the rotation Saturday. Despite a quick rise through the Rockies organization after being drafted in the eighth-round of the 2006 draft, Hynick has slowed the past two seasons at Double A and Triple A. Whether Hynick could pitch in Coors Field with a high-80s fastball remained a question in the organization.


  • Townie | August 31, 2009 | 10:31 pm

    If the name I’m hearing the Rockies gave up is true, this deal is a disaster.

  • Dustin | August 31, 2009 | 10:36 pm

    well townie, please share, I couldn’t find much via the web.

  • Townie | August 31, 2009 | 10:39 pm

    That’s the name I read. Hynick.

  • Steve Foster | August 31, 2009 | 10:41 pm

    Chicago Tribune reporting it is Hynick.

  • Dustin | August 31, 2009 | 10:43 pm

    My bad, I mis-read what you posted. I thought it was someone else you were referring to.

    I think it is a little bit of a disaster regardless of who you send over considering what contreras’ numbers are this year.

    this could be an interesting september :/

  • Steve Foster | August 31, 2009 | 10:44 pm

    I would hold back calling it a disaster, because despite a quick rise through the Rockies system early on, Hynick has yet to pitch for the Rockies. However, I share a concern that Hynick might be a high price for a month rental. That said, it’s too early to call it one way or another because to date neither Contreras nor Hynick has pitched a game in Colorado.

  • Jeff | August 31, 2009 | 10:47 pm

    I don’t like giving up Hynick and I don’t like Contreras compared with Penny or Garland.

  • Townie | August 31, 2009 | 10:52 pm

    To me it just seems like a panic move. The Giants get Penny, which may or may not have been a moment of regret for O’Dowd. Then you fail to acquire Garland, whom I WOULD trade Hynick for. I don’t know what Arizona’s asking price was, but if you’re willing to give Hynick for Contreras, Arizona must have asked for Chacin or something.

    I hope I’m wrong about all this. O’Dowd has done a great job with these trade, but the streak has to end sometime.

  • Dustin | August 31, 2009 | 10:56 pm

    Dealin Dan has done a great job this year, but I’m with Townie on this one. Contreras scares me a bit.

    This year has been a MAJOR struggle for him.

  • Don | August 31, 2009 | 10:59 pm

    and Jim Thome and Jon Garland to the dodgers, brad penny to the giants. the strong get stronger. according to the MLB network discussion tonight, Jose Contreras will be a good pickup and is a good family man and should fit right in. does anyone know how many years are left on his contract?

  • Brian H | August 31, 2009 | 10:59 pm

    The main concern around Hynick is he’s an overwhelmingly flyball type pitcher. I could see the logic of him being traded, but I do share everyone’s concern about the man we got in exchange.


    New league. Different batters and opponents. Contreras obviously has impressed O’Dowd or this move would not have been made.

    There’s a month (or hopefully more) of baseball left. Let’s not start playing Taps until the season is over.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | August 31, 2009 | 11:05 pm

    First of all, the Rockies had been working on Garland for some time. Ownership signed off on the finances but the Rockies were not going to pick up a sizable chunk of Garland’s money, which includes a major buyout on next year, and give up Nicasio, who their people rate very highly.

    Secondly, on the subject of Penny. Only thing I can say is Jim Tracy had Penny before so he had to have had major input on that decision, particuarly if Penny really did want to come here.

    Third, Contreras seems like a definite gamble. Rockies, however, must feel he can be of more help than Hynick because what the decision came down to was whether Hynick or Contreras was going into the rotation. The Rockies opted to trade Hynick to add Contreras.

    Hynick is a guy who will always have to prove himself. He is not going to overpower by any stretch of the imagination. He has to have his command and be very fine.

    As for next year, I’d say that Hynick was behind Rogers, Chacin, possibly Roe and Deduno in Rockies list of hopes.

    Can the Rockies catch a break with Contreras? Is he competitive enough to find an extra gear in a post-season race? Will the lack of familiarity of NL hitters be a help for him?

    We will see.

  • Steve Foster | August 31, 2009 | 11:08 pm

    To echo what Tracy just said, even though Hynick was at Triple-A, he falls into sort of the same realm as Connor Graham. The Rockies might regret letting him go one day, but on the list of pitchers likely to crack to staff in some way next season, Hynick was probably pretty far down.

  • Drew S. | August 31, 2009 | 11:18 pm

    This move makes me a little nervous

  • Flood21 | August 31, 2009 | 11:25 pm

    Does this remind anyone of the Livan Hernandez experiment a year ago?

  • reader f/k/a Mike | August 31, 2009 | 11:26 pm

    Steve updated the story to note that Ringolsby said the D-Backs wanted Juan Nicasio. I’m sure they offered Hynick.

    Hynick’s fungible–plenty of 5th starter candidates knocking around the organization. Now, whether Contreras is worth anything is another question. He’s better than his ERA, but won’t get many chances to show it with the season dwindling. He pitched well in his 3 interleague games this season, fwiw.

    They had to give up something to get the White Sox to kick in money–hopefully, all of it. Contreras is in the last year of his deal, $10 million salary for this season, which probably means around $2 million remains.

  • Don | August 31, 2009 | 11:26 pm

    what is Contreras contract for next season? how many years are left on it?

  • Tracy Ringolsby | August 31, 2009 | 11:29 pm

    Contreras is a free agent after the season. This is the final year of a three-year deal.

  • reader f/k/a Mike | August 31, 2009 | 11:39 pm

    Is there confirmation on who the Sept callups will be, and what roster moves will be made to make room for Contreras, Giambi, and Paul Phillips (who’s supposedly coming up)?

  • tj | September 1, 2009 | 12:51 am

    You know, I was initially very skeptical of this move, but I think thtat this is the time wo take some chances and am now kind of intrigued.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | September 1, 2009 | 6:54 am

    The Rockies do have some flexibility.
    You can start with the idea that if they do not recall Adam Eaton and Edwin Bellorin, those are two spots they could open.
    Also with season-ending injuries to Chris Nelson, Greg Reynolds and Greg Smith, the Rockies could recall them and move them to the 60-day disabled list, which would allow spots to open.

  • Karl | September 1, 2009 | 8:00 am

    So if Hynick was not the answer, I am guessing they thought Ortiz in AAA was not either. Intriguing move after hearing good things about Hynick. More of a playoff caliber person in Contreras than an untested rookie. Still just one of those you hope their is something in the tank.

    Hope he can reach back for one more moment in the sun.

  • Rich | September 1, 2009 | 8:25 am

    Can someone enlighten me, there is all the talk about the trading deadline that is in last week of July. What is the significance of this date because lots of trades go on past this date? Thanks.

  • WillM | September 1, 2009 | 8:36 am

    Rich, After July 31, a player has to clear waivers before they can be traded.

  • nick | September 1, 2009 | 8:54 am


    Not much. After August 31st a traded player cannot play in the post season.

    (I probably messed up those tags)

    As for the trade, I like it a little more after Steve and Tracy’s input, however I can’t forget that Hynick threw that perfect game!

  • nick | September 1, 2009 | 8:55 am

    this is what I meant to point towards:

    After the July 31 deadline, any player on a 40-man roster must clear Major League waivers before being traded. That is, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings. If he is claimed by any club, the club that made the waiver request can either withdraw the request and keep the player or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player and be obligated to that player’s current contract.

    A waiver, which is a permission granted for certain assignments of player contracts, can get complicated if more than one team makes a waiver claim. If more than one club in the same league makes a claim, then the club currently lower in the standings gets the player. If clubs in both leagues claim the player, preference goes to the club in the same league as the club requesting waivers.

  • Josh | September 1, 2009 | 9:53 am

    I have one other question. The Rockies said that the asking price for Garland was too high. But didn’t the Dodgers get Garland off of a waiver claim (i.e. – they didn’t give anything up to get him)? Shouldn’t the Rockies have had priority on the waiver claim considering that they’re further down in the division?

  • Eric | September 1, 2009 | 10:00 am

    Speaking of September call-ups, back in the day I was hoping to see Esmil Rogers get the call. However, has anyone checked up to see how he’s been doing since being promoted to AAA? What’s going on with that guy? I’m sure he’ll be fine, but a mid-eight ERA?!?!

    As a side question to any of the authors, any thoughts on the Rockies plans with Greg Reynolds and Greg Smith next year?

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 10:25 am

    Josh: if multiple teams were negotiating with the D-Backs, Garland must have cleared waivers. The rumored price for Garland is AAA 2nd baseman Tony Abreu, who is 24 and played 59 games in LA in 2007.

  • Steve N | September 1, 2009 | 10:47 am

    Most White Sox fans seem happy to see Contreras go making the Rox seem a bit desperate with this move here. :(

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 11:16 am

    The Rockies are desperate, in a way. They were looking to acquire a starting pitcher without giving up much value or spending much money.

  • Steve N | September 1, 2009 | 11:26 am

    I suppose with Ortiz and Contreras they at least have some veteran options regarding starters now…could be worse. Fingers crossed. :)

  • roxnsox | September 1, 2009 | 11:43 am

    To me, it smacks too much of the Rockies’ old penchant for scraping the bottom of the barrel (Ortiz and Contreras). But I’m willing to hope that Jose’s experience will mean something and that his (former?) talent will come through for us.

  • Karl | September 1, 2009 | 12:09 pm

    Ok so Jose is on the 40 man roster but not the active 25 man roster, is this intentional or an oversight on their website? I thought he had to be on the active roster as of 10pm last night. If so, who was removed from the 25 man?

  • Agbayani | September 1, 2009 | 12:30 pm

    Whoever said that this reminds us of the I’ll-advised Livan Hernandez move last year: right.

    Contreras at this age (45?) is pure replacement level. Which is probably what Hynick is, although Hynick has some potential. Whoever said every organization has a Hynick or two: right. We had some Chris Gissels and Justin Hampsons in our past. Savvy young control artists with subpar stuff. No huge loss.
    So the “loss” here is the lost opportunity to do better. Maybe not Garland, but Penny for sure. There’s kind of a weak case to be made that Contreras may be able to fool NL hitters with his junk repertoire the first time around, but it’s a weak case indeed …

  • WillM | September 1, 2009 | 12:49 pm

    The way I look at it, we’re only trying to get a fifth guy that does “OK” for four starts relative to Penny. How likely is it that Penny goes 4-0 and our guy(s) goes 0-4? We just need someone (anyone) serviceable to keep that from happening. It’s not worth paying a premium, because even if some hypothetical super stud fifth starter went 4-0 for us, Penny probably falls out of bed and goes 2-2, so how much are you willing to pay for that CHANCE at 1-2 wins? And, oh by the way, you don’t get to keep this super stud fifth starter, because you can’t afford him next year. Bottom line, we’ll do fine – it’s just a fifth starter. We’re just trying to limit the damage that can be done there.

  • Mike | September 1, 2009 | 12:55 pm

    While I always read Ringolsby’s management propoganda with a grain of salt, there is some truth to his reporting here. Hynick was not a top prospect. He will be a guy pitching to contact at the big league level and that is not good at Coors Field with all the room in the outfield. They couldn’t just throw him out in the fire this season where every game means so much right now. Contreras gives them a better chance of winning. And if Contreras fails, then they really haven’t lost much because there are other pitching prospects in the organization who will likely have more success than Hynick at the MLB level.

  • Townie | September 1, 2009 | 12:56 pm

    Steve N.,

    You’re right. There’s a lot of relief amongst White Sox fans that Jose Contreras will not make another start for them. There’s also a lot of disbelief that another team actually wanted him. As a guy who sees a lot of White Sox games, I share their disbelief.

    The things you’ve all said about Hynick are true, but I think Rotoworld said it best in their analysis of this trade. Hynick was not just a throwaway piece. He may have never had real great value to the Rockies, but he could have netted them more, maybe in a package deal.

    They project him as a solid reliever for the Sox by 2010. Guess we’ll see how it all shakes out. I’ll be pulling hard for Jose in his first start.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 1:24 pm

    Agbayani – I take it you don’t see any hope in Contreras’s K rate as evidence that he can still fool hitters, and that his horrible record this season with runners is destiny, rather than something that could revert to career norms?

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 1:58 pm

    Ok so Jose is on the 40 man roster but not the active 25 man roster, is this intentional or an oversight on their website?

    What’s odder is that there’s no listed corresponding move to make room on the 40-man. I count 41 players, incl. Contreras, but not counting those on the 60-day DL.

    Aug 31/active roster is the deadline for eligibility for the playoff roster. However, there’s the loophole made famous by K-Rod/the Angels. You can replace a player on the 60-day DL with a player of the same position, provided that the player was in the organzation on Aug 31.

    So, if Contreras knocks our socks off, he could take the “place” of one of the 60-day DL players (e.g., Corpas, Francis) on the playoff roster.

  • Agbayani | September 1, 2009 | 2:01 pm

    Mike, you may be right about Contreras’ bad situational luck etc this year. What’s his FIP look like? (I can’t check right now)

    But “revert to his career norms?”. At his age? That’s like expecting Giambi to revert to his career norms. If we get something like 4 serviceable “he kept us in the game for 5 innings” starts and a couple “save the pen” mop-up appearances, we should all be thrilled.

  • Agbayani | September 1, 2009 | 2:12 pm

    Tracy R: I know you say management “signed off” on the financial part of acquiring Garland. But he has a 2.5 million buyout. And apparently the trade price for Garland was Tony Abreu. Whenever someone says “it’s not about the money,” rest assured that it’s about the money. So maybe a teensy bit more investigation is in order here?

  • Greg Stanwood | September 1, 2009 | 2:14 pm

    Karl and Reader FKA Mike,

    The moves simply haven’t been announced yet, so they website cannot update until it knows what happened. Contreras is active (as will be Giambi and phillips by the end of the day), meaning by the time the game starts tonight, we will know what moves have been made.

    Three 40 man roster changes need to be made for these three players to be activated.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | September 1, 2009 | 2:29 pm

    Maybe some of it has to do with Josh Byrnes running things in Arizona. I don’t know. He seems to have hard feelings toward O’Dowd ever since he went to Boston, and don’t forget he was the central figure when the Bigbie fiasco came about. I have noticed that when lengthy pieces about Byrnes are written in different cities he will talk about how much he owes the folks in Boston and Cleveland, but never mentions a word about O’Dowd, even though O’Dowd gave him his first job, helped him earn promotions in Cleveland and then brought him to Colorado as the assistant GM.

    I also can tell you that from Arizona people I was told that the money was not the issue with the Rockies, but rather the issue was the player the Dbacks wanted and the Rockies refused to part with.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | September 1, 2009 | 3:02 pm

    Is it management propoganda or rather trying to put information together and see a big picture overview? Would it be better to you if I were to write one week that the wild-card race is over and the Rockies have clinched it, and two weeks later write that they can’t win the wild card because of their offense? And of course all of that comes three months after I could have written that the season was over and the Rockies were a disappointment.
    Now would that be better balanced because it was based off emotional reactions as opposed to try and sort through infomation, present it and allow you as a reader to draw a conclusion without feeling that I have to tell you how to think?

  • WillM | September 1, 2009 | 3:23 pm

    Contreras FIP = 4.2

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 4:59 pm

    Agbayani–I meant career norms in terms of the difference with bases empty vs. runners on. He’s always been worse with runners on, but not like this year.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 5:04 pm

    Greg, isn’t it odd to have the transaction posted that Contreras was acquired via trade on the 31st, and have him appear on the 40-man, but not to have the corresponding 40-man move posted?

    It makes sense the roster moves that correspond to adding Giambi and Phillips weren’t announced until today, as those two were added to the roster today.

    In fact, the 3rd roster move still hasn’t posted. Am I just counting wrong?

  • Tracy Ringolsby | September 1, 2009 | 5:28 pm

    The folks at update that roster without any guidance from the teams or major league office so when Contreras was acquired he was put on the roster. That is not an official Major League roster. Understand the Rockies do not have to create a roster spot for Contreras until he arrives, which will be tomorrow. As a result nothing has to be done ot create a roster spot for him until then.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | September 1, 2009 | 5:46 pm

    Ah, thanks Tracy.

  • Agbayani | September 1, 2009 | 8:20 pm

    Thanks, Tracy, for the comments about Byrnes and O’Dowd. I think you may be onto something there.

    At any rate, I think there is a baseball justification for the move. But of course money has something to do with it. If Contreras and Garland project to be pretty darn equal for September 2009 (and, to my surprise, they pretty much do), then why blow $2.5 million on either one? I’m just urging Rox management to tell it to us straight rather than peddling the “money wasn’t a consideration” line. We Rockies fans are big boys; we can handle the truth.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | September 2, 2009 | 6:22 am

    Agbayani, even a source other than myself, a source that is constantly critical of the Rockies fianncial efforts, has changed its direction on Garland, and pens today:

    “The Rockies made an aggressive push for Garland, but couldn’t agree on the player to be traded. Garland will start Thursday against his former Arizona Diamondbacks teammates.”

    This same media entity on Monday night and Tuesday morning was claiming the deal fell through over finances. Maybe for once there is truth to the report.