With his interests at heart, Rockies created opportunity in Rule 5 draft for Chris Frey

December 10, 2010 | 11:50 pm | 32  

The Rockies did centerfielder Chris Frey a favor.

They rewarded him for time served in the organization _ six seasons, the past three at Triple-A Colorado Springs _ and with his chances slim of rising to the Rockies allowed him to get an opportunity elsewhere by protecting Frey on a Double-A roster. That enabled a team, which turned out to be the Phillies, to draft Frey in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft for $12,000. The Phillies don’t have to put Frey on their 40-man roster or offer him back to the Rockies if he doesn’t make Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster.

And Frey, who can’t become a minor league free agent until after the 2011 season, isn’t faced with the prospect of returning to Colorado Springs yet again. The Rockies have Dexter Fowler, 24, and Carlos Gonzalez, 25, to play center field, a position Frey, 27, plays well but wasn’t going to play with the Rockies.

“Hopefully, they looked at that as maybe giving me a better chance somewhere else,” Frey said. “And if that’s the case, I really appreciate everything the Rockies have done. I’ll always look back and love everything about the whole Rockies organization. I don’t have one thing bad to say about anyone that I came in contact with.”

Frey, whom the Rockies drafted in the 11th round out of the University of Arizona in 2005, was working out at Coors Field when the Rule 5 draft was held Thursday to conclude the winter meetings. He wasn’t even aware the draft was that day. Frey was riding an exercise bike in the weight room during the draft. He happened to check his cell phone while passing his locker on the way to the batting cages and saw his brother, Jason, had called and texted him. And Rockies player development director Marc Gustafson left a message to call him.

So Frey began his workout as a member of the Rockies organization and finished it belonging to the Phillies.

“They have a lot of people to choose from in this draft and they picked me, meaning a scout or somebody liked what they saw in me and that’s why they’re taking a chance on me,” Frey said. “Hopefully, the situation is where I can play every day in center field in Triple-A and from there, you never know what can happen. Hopefully, it’s a situation where it is a little better opportunity than what I had here with the depth of young outfielders we have here.”

Ryne Sandberg left the Cubs organization after not being hired to manage the Cubs. He began his career in the Phillies organization and has returned to manage the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate. Frey welcomes the chance to play for and learn from Hall of Famer Sandberg and to spend time in the Northeast, where he has never been.

“I’m excited about all the aspects of it,” Frey said. “I’m getting to the point in my career where I feel in the next couple years, it’s either going to happen or not. Hey, maybe this is the break that gets me past the Triple-A level. If I get to be a part of (the majors) one day, I can’t imagine the feeling. Hopefully, that can happen for me one day, but if not, I’m going to know, hey, I gave it everything I got and now I have another opportunity with another team.

“I can’t really say, ‘Hey, I feel I just got blocked by the Rockies.’ I feel like, hey, if I can step away knowing I was with a couple teams and it didn’t happen, it didn’t work out. I can live with that a lot better than just being with one organization the whole time.”

Frey played 101 games last year for the Sky Sox, who also had Jay Payton, Cole Garner and Matt Miller in the outfield. He hit .288 with 20 doubles, one homer and 25 RBI along with a .351 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage.

In three seasons at Colorado Springs, Frey hit .283 with 54 doubles and eight homers in 1,029 at-bats, 69 walks and 158 strikeouts and 35 stolen bases in 44 attempts. He is suited to batting second or eighth in a lineup.

“I am the player I am,” Frey said. “And I’m going to try to get better at who I am and not try to become someone I’m not.”

Curiously, Frey will continue to be linked with Miller. They have been teammates every year going back to high Class A Modesto in 2006. Miller left the Rockies as a minor league free agent and recently signed a minor league contract with the Phillies. Not long after the conclusion of the Rule 5 draft Frey spoke with Miller.

“I was joking around with him like, Gosh, I can’t get rid of you,’ ” Frey said. “Hopefully, there’s a way we can both get a chance here. And you never know, crazier things have happened. At least I’ll know one guy going into camp, so that’ll be good.”

32 Comments »

  • Julian | December 11, 2010 | 7:49 am

    Class act by the Rockies to make Frey available so that he could get picked by another team.

  • Anonymous | December 12, 2010 | 6:58 pm

    If he has the ability to play in the majors with another team then why didn’t we trade him for a prospect instead of letting him go like that. There is no story here.

  • Doc | December 13, 2010 | 9:06 am

    Chances are slim he’ll even make the Phillies 40-man roster, much less make it to the bigs. As Tracy Ringolsby said in a previous post:”He’s depth for Phillies at Triple-A.”

    No one trades for players like Chris Frey. This way the Rockies get $12,000 and Chris Frey gets an opportunity in another organization. As Julian said, it’s a class act.

  • Eric G. | December 13, 2010 | 9:31 am

    I would hope every team would do this. It didn’t make sense keeping him. Is it surprising that the Rockies did this?

  • Rocky | December 14, 2010 | 8:36 am

    With my interests at heart, please post a new article. I’m having Rockies news withdrawl. It could be anything, Tulo gets a hangnail, Cargo cuts his mohawk. Anything…Whatever

  • Trip | December 14, 2010 | 9:11 am

    Rocky,
    I’m feeling the same way. grin*

    I come here every day looking for something new.

  • Rocky | December 14, 2010 | 9:31 am

    Here’s some news, not directly Rockies, but it will affect the Rockies. Just read that Cliff Lee is re-joining the Phillies! Krap. Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay,Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. What a rotation. I was hoping Lee would stay in the American league.

  • Julian | December 14, 2010 | 9:57 am

    Is there any news on Rockies or players in their system playing winter ball? That’s something that could be posted periodically.

  • Mike Raysfan | December 14, 2010 | 10:57 am

    I think the Rockies signed a couple of AAA guys yesterday

  • Mike Raysfan | December 14, 2010 | 11:01 am

    “The Rockies have agreed to terms on Minor League deals with one-time Yankees infield prospect Eric Duncan and Geno Espineli, a left-hander formerly in the Giants’ system.

    Both project to play at Triple-A Colorado Springs but could work their way into the big league mix.”

    Source: Thomas Harding

  • Wayne | December 14, 2010 | 11:16 am

    Rocky, et al I’m feeling the same way as you I need some Rockies news and I’m not sure I care what it is as long as we get a nice long thread out of it. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments on a daily basis and the last few days have been dry and boring.

    I hope Tracy, Steve or Jack can come up with something, even a long shot rumor, so that we can all start conversing again.

  • ProgMatinee | December 14, 2010 | 11:45 am

    Also in withdrawl. And open ended posting where we can ramble in various directions would be nice.

    Regardng the Lee signing. We all should be envious about the way the Phils organization operates these days. They lose a high priced player like Werth, they go out and get Cliff Lee. (Plus they have a budding star in Dominick Brown to replace Werth in the OF).

    I think that team has a real good chance to win 110 games.

  • Wayne | December 14, 2010 | 12:21 pm

    Yeah, may be the best 4 man experienced rotation in a long time, going back to 70′s Orioles and 4 20 game winners. SF has a good 4 man but not as experienced. I think the Phillies took their cue from the Giants winning WS. Doesn’t matter how many runs you score if your staff can keep the other team under 3. The whole NL has their work cut out for them, at least on paper. Nice thing about baseball is we can watch it transpire over a long summer.

  • Eric G. | December 14, 2010 | 2:02 pm

    This just in! Tulo’s hair has grown 1/8″ since his last haircut!

  • Karl | December 14, 2010 | 2:27 pm

    I like the mini-thread you all are on. Thinking the same thing. Points to Ponder would be a good thread to start…

    Sort of an offseason review discussion thread is I think what we are after perhaps every couple of days. Even if revisting old topics, always fun to discuss and read through others insights.

  • Mike Raysfan | December 14, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    SF does have a good 4 man rotation. Just remember this. Inspite of the HYPE regarding this new media ordained “fearsome foursome”, the Giants beat all of them to get to and win the WS.

    Just my own opinion and certainly open for debate but I would still take the Giants rotation any day. Yes, even over the Phillies.

  • Jon S | December 14, 2010 | 2:58 pm

    We need one of the guys to make us a forum. :)

    The Phillies rotation does look pretty scary. Keep in mind though their 3 experienced guys are all at least 32, and Hamels has melted down in the past. Odds are pretty good at least one of them underperforms, if only due to injury. So we’ll see how things go. As the Yankees have shown time and time again, simply having the most talented roster is no guarantee of getting a ring.

    Jon

  • Ryan | December 14, 2010 | 4:12 pm

    After the Crawford signing is Mike Cameron available? I think he would fit well in left, giving the Rox 3 outfielders with CF range, plus he would provide another right handed bat with some power.

  • Brett | December 14, 2010 | 4:13 pm

    To Mike Raysfan,

    Respectfully, you’re crazy! Giants rotation is obviously great, they just won the series. But over Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels? Noooo way is it even debatable which is better. Maybe down the road but for 2011, Phils have best rotation by a landslide.

    I agree with ProgMatinee in that the Phils are running the organization as fans would want. I know the Rockies have made huge strides in recent years and the last thing you want is to empty the farm system on someone who doesn’t pan out and we get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

    That said, I would like to see an effort from the Rockies that says we are interested in going all the way NOW, not DOWN THE ROAD. If that means parting ways with a few top prospects, am I the only one who would be okay with that? If we gave away some prospects before the year or during the year in exchange for a big bat at first base or an ace to go along with the U in the playoffs, I’d want that. Let’s do it now, instead of waiting for prospects to bloom.

  • Steve Foster | December 14, 2010 | 4:14 pm

    Following this discussion with interest. Like a lot of people, was shocked that the Phillies ended up with Lee. Things are pretty quiet right now. We’re getting the next farm report ready and starting to make plans for the site for next season. Sorry we’ve been so absent the past week or so, but hopefully the Lee signing will have a chain reaction through the rest of the offseason and things will start moving again. Everything seemed to grind to a halt after the winter meetings.

  • Julian | December 14, 2010 | 4:17 pm

    Ryan,

    I saw an article online that said that the Red Sox plan for Mike Cameron to become their #4 outfielder, so it didn’t sound like they plan to trade him.

    I suspect that the Rockies will focus their trading efforts on pitching first, and catching second, and that the outfield will be a lower focus of theirs. I suspect that they think that they can find a fifth outfielder either internally or via free agency.

  • Steve Foster | December 14, 2010 | 4:28 pm

    Between Giants and Phillies rotation, no contest as far as I’m concerned. That Phillies four is scary; Bumgarner isn’t quite there yet and Sanchez can still be hit or miss. I think what the Rockies do next will actually depend on what the Rangers do. If they go after Beltre and get him, Young becomes available and the Rockies are still interested. Short of that — calling an audible and going after a player they really like at a position they don’t necessarily need to fill — the focus is on pitching. My personal hope is that they do something with the back of the rotation, but as I’ve mentioned I don’t expect them to do so without moving Cook or Hammel.

  • Wayne | December 14, 2010 | 5:41 pm

    If the Rangers do get Beltre and Young is available could the Rox offer Cook in the package for Young as an offset of part of his salary. I know that leaves us short on an already short staff, and I think pitching is a major concern, but this would free up some salary space to go after some mid level free agent who might fit better than Cook.

  • Jeff S. | December 14, 2010 | 5:48 pm

    A few interesting things on the catcher front: First, Russell Martin signed with the Yankees. Maybe that short porch in right will help everyone remember when he was a top offensive producer. Second, former Rockie J.D. Closser signed with the Dodgers. Didn’t realize he was still playing, honestly (his last big league at-bat was with the Rox in 2006). But Dioner Navarro also signed with the Dodgers, too — returning to where he had some success in 2006-07. For the Rockies, I still like that Josh Bard is out there as a free agent – and I also see that Ryan Doumit could be expendable from the Pirates, although I don’t think his production warrants his salary.

  • Mike Raysfan | December 14, 2010 | 6:19 pm

    Brett, Not I’m resectfully crazy. Maybe just crazy. :>)

    Seriously though. I really would take the Giants pitchers over the Phillies. Wouldn’t give it second thought.

    “But over Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels? Noooo way is it even debatable which is better.”

    I agree with you. In my mind it’s not even “debatable”. When the money was on the line and the games mattered most, which rotation won? It’s not that I don’t think the Phillies rotation is good, they are, very. I just happen to have huge repsect for the Giants rotation. Hec, I even like Zito. If the Giants didn’t owe Zito so much I would probably be saying the Rockies need to get him.

  • steve c | December 14, 2010 | 6:38 pm

    For the slightly older crowd, this reminds me of the Braves in the early 90′s when Steve Avery was really good. They could go Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and Avery (R,L,R,L). Keep in mind, the Braves “only” won one World Series with that group.

    I see the Phillies and Giants actually being quite similar, because the Phillies offense is slipping. Werth (not worth 120M, but good), is gone. Rollins has been injured and/or ineffective for the last 2 years and isn’t young anymore. Utley has also become injury prone. Ibanez is getting old. They’re not offensively good at C, 3B, and at least one, maybe two, OF positions. So they’ll really be relying on those pitchers. Don’t get me wrong…….I rate them as the best NL team. But they’re not invincible.

  • Julian | December 14, 2010 | 7:15 pm

    I saw that the Phillies are looking to trade Joe Blanton. Would he be an upgrade for the Rockies? I don’t know what we’d trade the Phillies in return, and he’s probably too expensive, even if the Phillies picked up some of the salary.

    I noticed another article that said that there are 4 free agent catchers left, including Bengie Molina who might retire, and I noticed that one of them, Henry Blanco, might sign with the D-Backs. Josh Bard is one of the catchers left, and someone on the blog mentioned him.

  • Wayne | December 14, 2010 | 8:57 pm

    Bard would be a good person to have to push McKenry for the back up spot or to be the number 1 at the Springs.

  • Rich M | December 15, 2010 | 10:27 am

    Really like Josh Bard for the backup catcher role. He would create a natural platoon for the positiom that screams for a R/L hitting platoon. Local guy and he is very affordable. I told DanO to get this done two months ago. DanO the price is not going to drop much further.

    I too need my Rockies fix, really hope that Farm Report is in the Inbox?

  • Steve Foster | December 15, 2010 | 12:14 pm

    Farm Report should be Monday or Tuesday next week.

  • Julian | December 15, 2010 | 4:09 pm

    Looking forward to it. The Farm Reports have been great.

    Steve, is there any news on Rockies or minor leaguers playing winter ball?

  • Hazel Wilkinson | December 23, 2010 | 12:39 pm

    Really like Josh Bard for the backup catcher role. He would create a natural platoon for the positiom that screams for a R/L hitting platoon. Local guy and he is very affordable. I told DanO to get this done two months ago. DanO the price is not going to drop much further. I too need my Rockies fix, really hope that Farm Report is in the Inbox?