The Rockies haven’t closed the door on their attempts to acquire Orioles lefty Mark Hendrickson or Nationals lefty Joe Beimel for their bullpen need. Both teams asked for seocnd base prospect Eric Young Jr. originally. We’ll see if the asking price comes down before 2 p.m. MT, the deadline. The Jays’ Scott Downs is a possibility, but there is a heavy salary burden this year and next that must be addressed before a deal can be completed.
Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd said yesterday he doubts the team will make a deal, even though it could use one more bullpen lefty. Sometimes, a GM saying nothing will happen is a guarantee something will. Then again, sometimes he says it because, well, nothing will happen.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported today that the Rockies have thus far refused the Orioles’ requests for two prospects — first speedy second baseman Eric Young Jr., then left-hander Matt Reynolds. Young seems useful as a baserunning threat in September. Some have speculated that Reynolds, who has been dominant at Class A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa, could help the Rockies this year.
But Stark reports that the teams continue to talk.
One report had the Rockies interested in Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson as a lefty bat off the bench, but ESPN’s Peter Gammons is reporting the Marlins are moving closer to acquiring him.
Talked with Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd who said he doesn’t expect to land a lefty reliever or make any other deals before Friday afternoon’s deadline. But FoxSports.com’s Tracy Ringolsby is reporting that the Rockies, in addition to continuing their pursuit of Orioles lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson, are attempting to get Nick Johnson from the Natoinals as a lefty bat off the bench.
The Dodgers have acquired Orioles lefty closer George Sherrill to shore up their left-handed setup situatoin, according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com is reporting that the Cubs are in on Pirates lefties John Grabow and Tom Gorzelany.
So where does this leave the Rockies, who have only Franklin Morales throwing from the left in the bullpen?
The Denver Post mentions the Orioles’ Mark Hendrickson and the Blue Jays’ Scott Downs as possibilities. The Jays, trying to trim payroll, would be happy to part with Downs, who is due the remainder of his $3.75 million salary this year and $4 million next year. Hendrickson is more economical. He is making $1.5 million this year, and is not signed beyond.
The Rockies, however, are not wanting to disturb the Major League roster, and have been unwilling to deal prospects like second baseman Eric Young Jr. We’ll see if an offer they like comes.
— Thomas Harding
Last week’s trade with the Indians for right-handed eighth-inning guy Rafael Betancourt brought the Rockies close to a bullpen that can be considered a strength. Despite his struggles in Monday night’s 7-3 loss to the Mets, Juan Rincon is more suited for a role other than primary setup guy. Rookie Matt Daley has more room for error.
But there’s still the case of the missing lefty.
Franklin Morales is all the Rockies have from the left side. He is electric, but he also has some growing to do. His pitch sequence before giving up a grand slam to the Mets’ Fernando Tatis was an example of a guy learning on the job. But that might have been a good spot for a more experienced pitcher. (Of course, it could’ve been just one of those things that happen: Tatis has a .219 average against lefty pitchers.)
It would be nice, though, to have one more guy with a history of matching up with key left-handed hitters who can also handle the righty pinch-hitter. Some of the relievers have problems with lefties.
Lefties hit .260 with nine walks agaisnt 10 strikeouts against Daley. They hit .250 but with six walks agianst five strikeouts against Rincon. From a batting average perspective, the best option is Josh Fogg, who has held them to a .185 average. But the Rockies have used him sparingly because he is a long reliever on a staff that has its starters going deep in games.
The Orioles’ George Sherrill has been floated as an option, but it’s unlikely the Rockies could give up the pacakage the Orioles want. The Denver Post citing other clubs executives, point to the Orioles’ Mark Hendrickson and the Nationals’ Joe Beimel as possibilities. The paper noted the Rockies have gone after both in the past.
The ultimate for the Rockies would be to land one of them or another useful lefty by parting with a prospect, rather than disturbing the roster. They have to think long and hard before giving up outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, who is a strong clubhouse presence and more importantly has a history of providing exactly what the club needs offensively and defensively. Third baseman Garrett Atkins has been speculated about since the end of last season and lost his job to Ian Stewart during an ealry slump. But the at-bats have cleaned up to the point that he is a stategic weapon for manager Jim Tracy.