Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

October 29, 2009 | 6:43 am | 21  

THINGS ARE in place for the Rockies management team to return in 2010. To no one’s surprise, three-year deals are being fine-tuned for general manager Dan O’Dowd and manager Jim Tracy.

THE ENTIRE coaching staff is being invited back. While none of the coaches were hand-picked by Tracy, the manager became very comfortable with the staff during his four months in charge, and he did not pressure for any changes.

FOUR CONTRACT options will require quick attention from the Rockies. Right-handed pitcher Rafael Betancourt has a $5.4 million option but no buyout. First baseman Jason Giambi has a $6.5 million option but no buyout. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba has a $4 million opion with a $500,000 buyout. Left-handed pitcher Alan Embree has a $3 million option with a $250,000 buyout.

Rockies will decline the options, most likely. The biggest deicsion will be Betancourt, who they have targeted to bring back and will attempt to come to terms on a two-year deal that will lessen the financial guarantee for 2010.

Torrealba could return but it will be closer to a $1 million deal. As much as the Rockies liked Giambi’s addition in the clubhouse his left-handed bat doesn’t really fit into the Rockies needs. There does not appear to be support for Embree’s return.

GARRETT ATKINS won’t be back next year. The question is how soon will he be gone. The Rockies don’t figure to tender Atkins a contract by the December 20 deadline. With his $7.05 million salary in 2009 the maximim cut is 20 percent so he would have to be offered at least $5.64 million. That works against teams trading for him, too, because they would inherit the contract.

Teams might feel once Atkins was on the open market his value would come down. If the Rockies don’t feel he has a trade value they could decide to not even put him ont he 40-man roster which has to be filed next month. That would allow them to protect another player they wouldn’t want to risk losing for $50,000 in the Rule V Draft at the winter meetings.

A YEAR AGO the Rockies were pursuing left-handed free agent Joe Beimel, but he opted to take a simliar offer from Washington. The Rockies eventually traded for Beimel, who now says he would like to return to Colorado in 2010. More likely, however, the Rockies will take a less expensive approach and go with Franklin Morales and Randy Flores in left-handed roles.

And don’t overlook lefty prospect Matt Reynolds, who has a combined 2.29 ERA between High-A Modesto and Double-A Tusla in 2009. Reynolds appeared in 60 games, working 74 2/3 innings, and allowed only 55 hits and 17 walks while striking out 87.

BRAD MILLS becomes third former Triple-A Colorado Springs SkySox manager to get a big league job with his hiring in Houston.
Mike Hargrove and Charlie Manuel both managed the SkySox when they were affiliated with Cleveland. And you can add Mike Scioscia to the list, with an asterisk. The Rockies had hired Scioscia to manage the SkySox in October of 1999, and days later the Angels asked for permission to interview Scioscia for their big-leauge managerial job, which he received. So he was a SkySox manager, although he was never introduced to the public and never wore the uniform.

21 Comments »

  • JMoore | October 29, 2009 | 7:57 am

    Tracy,
    What are your feelings on Atkins, Hawp? Will Atkins be tendered? Will Hawp be traded?

  • Tracy Ringolsby | October 29, 2009 | 8:24 am

    JMoore, Atkins won’t be tendered and in fact, another decision the Rockies have to make is if they think he has any possible trade value. If they think teams will just wait for him to be non-tendered I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to leave him off the 40-man roster so they can protect a player they don’t want to lose. I don’t see Hawpe being traded. It would have to be a deal Rockies feel makes them better. And they feel Hawpe’s value in the clubhouse is every bit as strong as what he does on the field. Hawpe is “a great teammate” and that is importnat to the Rockies. It’s a factor that even weighs in the thoughts about Street. They want guys who understand the team concept. They feel it’s why they have reached post-season twice in three years.

  • Karl | October 29, 2009 | 8:38 am

    I know this is off the wall, but what about a person like Adam Dunn? Seeing as he is a veteran bat that can play the outfield and also could spell Helton at first is there any market for him on trade value in the Nats system with Hawpe? Hawpe would give the Nats someone to build around and at a relatively cheap price.

    What right handed bats do you see the Rockies targeting? Or are they just hoping that Iannetta can pull out of his slump and hit for a better average and then with Tulo and Barmes that is enough righties esp with Fowler’s switch hitting.

    The random time of year as speculation is part of the fun for fans like me.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 29, 2009 | 10:06 am

    The problem with Dunn, if you could acquire him, is that he’s a horrible fielder. He also makes $4.5M more than Hawpe in 2010, then is a FA. And given his clubhouse rep (read: lackadaisical), I really don’t think the Rockies would be interested.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 29, 2009 | 11:24 am

    Tracy, do you have a list of players that need to be added to the 40-man roster by Nov 20 if the Rockies don’t want to risk losing them to the (ML phase of the) Rule 5 draft? I wouldn’t have known Everth Cabrera was even eligible to be selected.

  • Ryan | October 29, 2009 | 12:29 pm

    I’d like to see the club bring back both Betancourt and Beimel. Morales/Flores is certainly the cheaper option, but it’s also the worse option. Having a bullpen of Street/Beimel/Betancourt/Morales/Corpas/Buccholz for next year is pretty great sounding.

    I’d say let Torrealba and Giambi go. Giambi’s role was pivotal for a team in a pennant race, but do they really need him all year with his limited abilities? (That is, can’t really run or field.) Torre has come through in big moments in both of the playoff years, but that doesn’t really make up for how mediocre he’s been otherwise. It’s time to just give the job to Iannetta once and for all.

    Any word on the team’s plans for Chacin? Are they waiting to see how he does in Venezuela? Is he in the mix for the rotation next year?

  • Tracy Ringolsby | October 29, 2009 | 1:38 pm

    Ryan, right now I’d say the rotation projects to open the season as Jimenez, Cook, Francis, De La Rosa and Hammel.
    Chacin will star the year, most likely, at AAA where the rotation should be a promising one for the Rockies future — Chacin, Esmil Rogers, Greg Smith, Samuel Deduno, Greg Reynolds, and Chaz Roe would be among likely candidates with the SkySox.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | October 29, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    f/k/a Mike, I will try and piece something together in next couple of days on the 40-man roster issue.

  • Neil | October 29, 2009 | 1:40 pm

    I agree with Ryan with regards to bringing both Beimel and Betancourt back. I simply do not trust Morales or Flores to be able to fill the lefty roles out of the pen for a full season with consistency. Betancourt is a no-brainer and I trust Beimel’s stuff a lot more than Morales and Flores.

    Tracy, what righty bats will be out there for the Rockies to take a look at? Also, I understand the thinking behind Hawpe and the fact that he is considered a “team player” but I feel that he is the fourth best outfielder on the team right now. I’d like to see what Smith does with regular ABs.

  • Andrew | October 29, 2009 | 2:10 pm

    Tracy,
    What is the plan if Francis isn’t close to the pitcher he was in 2007? I would expect that the Rockies won’t be re-signing Marquis.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | October 29, 2009 | 3:11 pm

    Marquis is not going to be back. The Rockies won’t know what level Francis will reach until they get into the season. If they had to find an alternative at that point, they would first look to Colorado Springs. There, however, is every expectationt hat Francis will be fine. There appeared to be no lingering arm problems based off his efforts in the instructional league, which opens the way for him to focus this off-season on getting baseball ready.

  • dave | October 29, 2009 | 3:48 pm

    The Rockies bullpen looks strong with the probable return of Corpas and Buchholtz. Belise and daley really stepped up last year and are young and cheap. Morales and Street are in for sure.One more lefty would be nice Biemel/Flores. Betancourt would need to restructure for a lower average cost to bre economically viable for the Rox’s.

    But you can never have too much pitching.

    Tracy are there other left handers the Rockies might be interested in?

  • Rockpile | October 29, 2009 | 6:53 pm

    Tracy and f/k/a Mike mentioned the Rule 5 Draft here. Can anyone here explain the Rule 5 draft for me? I have never understood it.

    I know the Rule 5 has something to do with the 40-man roster. But does the draft mean that the Rockies will put an 18-year-old draftee like Maztek on their 40-man just to protect him?

  • Agbayani | October 29, 2009 | 7:04 pm

    Betancourt is a no-brainer re-signing, whether it’s picking up his option or restructuring a new deal. Then again, couldn’t they decline the option and offer him arbitration? If that’s the case and he declines, you get draft picks, right? Still, I think he’s too steady/too valuable to let go.

    Not sure about Randy Flores. Maybe you don’t want to pay Beimel, but there’s got to be better LOOGY options than Flores, who just isn’t very effective against lefties. Morales? Now that’s a lefty-killer. But you’d love to see Morales play a larger role than that. If he can handle it.

    Matt Reynolds? There’s a guy who flew under the radar. I’ve got to say I had no idea he put up those fine component stats.

    And Tracy, I’m pretty excited about the Colorado Springs staff. Chacin, Rogers, and Deduno — and Greg Reynolds, if he’s ever healthy enough — all have big-league talent.

    I think Atkins does get left off the 40 man. After this past season, I can’t see him getting more than a 1 year/$3 million type deal. I’m watching a club right now — the Phillies — who could use a RH corner man/bat off the bench like that. I really don’t see Atkins getting a chance to start anywhere other than a really rotten team. Too bad. I always liked him as a player, and I hope he’s able to reestablish himself somewhere.

  • Dustin | October 29, 2009 | 7:27 pm

    Gotta bring betancourt back. Morales will continue to improve and I think the club could probably do without biemel. I think morales just got tired towards the end of the season. Remember, this was the first time morales worked out of the bullpen and for the most part was remarkable. His fastball was approaching the mid to upper 90′s and his stuff was electric. I think he has better stuff than biemel’s and he’s not reached the top of his game yet.

    It’s too bad about atkins. He has been a bug part of this club until this season. It would be nice to see him get a fresh start.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 30, 2009 | 1:04 am

    Tracy: thanks, re. the roster issue. If you address the Rule 5 draft, I wonder about requirements like

    ” were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or

    - were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.” (As per Wikipedia).

    How do they mark years…from the anniversary of signing the contract? What’s the deadline, by the Nov 20 deadline to set the reserve lists (40-man)? I assume that’s how Everth slipped under the fans’ radar; he was likely signed but didn’t play in a visible (i.e., US) minor league for couple years.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 30, 2009 | 1:19 am

    Rockpile, I’d post some links until Tracy has a chance to explain, but it’s kind of tough to post URL’s due to anti-spam measures. I’d try the Wikipedia article, or the mlbtraderumors article for starters.

    There’s a minor league and major league phase, so it gets complicated, but basically to be eligible for/unprotected from the draft, players need to have been signed with their team for several years and not included on the 40-man roster. So recently-drafted high school guys like Matzek don’t need to be on the 40-man for a while.

    What keeps most players from being drafted is the requirement that they spend an entire year on the MLB active roster. So he’s got to be worth the MLB spot. Usually players who’ve never played above A ball are safe, but like Everth Cabrera and Johann Santana, sometimes you lose them.

    Minor league levels have their own version of the reserve list and draft (40-man roster being the MLB team’s “reserve list”), and so AAA teams can draft AA players, AA draft A ball. Not sure of how extensive all that is.

  • Rockpile | October 30, 2009 | 5:19 pm

    f/k/a Mike, Thanx.I appreciate that info. And I looked it up at wikipedia and B. America. It’s easily the most complicated draft in pro sports.

  • Dale | October 30, 2009 | 11:33 pm

    Tracy,

    Just wondering how Corpas and Buchholz are progressing.

  • Mark | October 31, 2009 | 12:08 pm

    Hey Cowboy, it was great seeing you during Rox pre and post game shows. Will we be so lucky next year?

  • Tracy Ringolsby | October 31, 2009 | 10:30 pm

    Mark, thanks for the kind words. Hopefully i’ll be back on the pre and post shows.