The Rockies have filled their left-handed bullpen need by obtaining Joe Beimel from the Nationals for two Minor League pitchers. Those names have not been revealed, but a source close to the talks said the Rockies were able to hold onto speedy second baseman Eric Young Jr.
According to a baseball source, the Rockies still have interest in acquiring Nationals left-hander Joe Beimel. The Nationals asked for infielder Eric Young Jr. in return, but the Rockies quickly said, “No thanks.”
Colorado is hoping that the Nationals will knock their price down in order to acquire Beimel, who has a 3.40 ERA in 45 games.
— Bill Ladson
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.
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.
The Cubs currently have one lefty in the bullpen in Sean Marshall and wouldn’t mind adding another. Two pitchers the Cubs’ radar are Washington’s Joe Beimel and Pittsburgh’s John Grabow. The Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald reported Monday that Beimel and Grabow have drawn interest from the team. Left-handed hitters are batting .233 against Beimel, while Grabow has fared better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .243 average.
Several of the Cubs say the team doesn’t need to make a move. Lou Piniella deferred to GM Jim Hendry.
“That’s Jim’s department,” Piniella said Monday. “He always likes to do something if he can at the trading deadline. I know he’s been talking to quite a few teams but that’s his area. I get paid to manage.”
— Carrie Muskat