Rockies face tough choices with free agents
The Rockies have a number of free agents and arbitration-eligible players this offseason:
: The Rockies picked up De La Rosa as the player to be named later in a 2008 trade that sent reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Kansas City Royals. In two-plus season with the Rockies, De La Rosa is 34-23 with a 4.50 ERA. With some uncertainty in the rotation, the Rockies could use him and De La Rosa has said we would like to stay in Colorado. But whether he returns will depend on what the free-agent market does to his value. He currently projects as a type A free agent, meaning the Rockies would receive the first- or second-round pick of the signing team plus a supplemental pick if they offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere.
: Coming off a season in which he played far more first base than was expected. He earned $1.75 million and has been a valuable bat off the bench and figure in the clubhouse. But if the Rockies pursue a right-handed bat to pair with at first base, resigning Giambi seems like a longshot.
: Took over as the regular third baseman down the stretch and put together a solid season bouncing from third to second to first. He earned $1.275 million and he could return to fill the same role he did in 2010 depending on what other moves the Rockies make.
: He signed with the Rockies late in the past offseason when he didn’t find a multiyear deal elsewhere. He had a solid season, but showed fatigue down the stretch and was replaced by as the late-inning lefty. With Reynolds a near lock to be in the bullpen next year and another lefty, 2009 draft pick , coming on fast, a Beimel return is unlikely unless the price is right.
Jay Payton: The Rockies like their veteran September callup and could look at bringing him back depending on what other moves they make. Payton, however, has said he isn’t interested in signing a minor-league contract as he did before the 2010 season.
FREE AGENTS WITH OPTIONS
: One of the winningest pitchers in franchise history, Francis is in the final year of a four-year contract and earned $5.75 million in 2010. The Rockies have a $7 million option on Francis, but will decline it given his slow comeback from shoulder surgery. As a free agent, Francis does not project as either a type A or B, so the Rockies have no incentive to offer him arbitration. Francis, who was 4-6 with a 4.93 ERA during a 2010 season interrupted twice by injury, could yet return at a lower salary.
Octavio Dotel: A late addition in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later, Dotel didn’t have much impact on the team as it faded in the week after he was acquired. He has a $4.5 million option for 2011 which the Rockies will likely decline. But if they have room in the budget, the Rockies could take a chance and offer him arbitration. If he accepts, they have another setup arm in the bullpen to pair withand . If he declines, the Rockies would pick up a supplemental first-rounder as Dotel currently projects as a type B.
: The Rockies have a $2.7 million option that increased from $2.5 million and became a mutual option after Olivo played in 110 games. Olivo wants to stay in Colorado and the Rockies have a choice to make at catcher, where Olivo and Iannetta would earn a little over $5 million between them if both players return. The Rockies have plenty of depth arriving from the minor leagues and may elect to let Olivo go or trade Iannetta. Olivo does project as a type B free agent, but it’s unlikely he would reject arbitration and sign elsewhere given his stated desire to remain with the team.
: Will be entering his final year of arbitration after earning $3.3 million in 2010. . took over at second base over the last month of the season as the Rockies sought more offense and speed from the position. With Young, and all candidates for infield jobs in 2011, Barmes is almost certain to be non-tendered by the Rockies.
: Entering his second season of arbitration eligibility. He earned $1.9 million in 2010 and will in line for a modest raise after a solid season. The Rockies are likely to retain him as they try to settle other questions in their rotation.
Manny Delcarmen: The Rockies paid a fairly steep price — promising right-hander Chris Balcom-Miller — in a trade at the end of August for the right-handed reliever and have thus far seen little return. His numbers — 0-2, 7.36 — are somewhat distorted by an awful first appearance, but even after that debut, he struggled with his command, the same problem that chased him out of Boston. He earned $900k in 2010 and will be in his second year of arbitration. Given the price they paid for him in the trade, the Rockies likely will try to sign him to a reasonable deal and avoid arbitration to give him a shot at rediscovering the command that made him a dominant setup man for the Red Sox in 2007 and 2008.
Matt Belisle: The workhorse of the Rockies pen this season will be in line for a good raise and possibly a multiyear extension after earning $850k in 2010. The former starting pitcher seems to have found his role with the Rockies and is a lock to return.
: The Rockies third baseman could end up as a Super Two after this season, giving him an extra year of arbitration. If so, the Rockies will have to pony up for their promising slugger, who had a solid season but showed little progress from 2009.