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News » Colorado Rockies Roster Report 2009-02-27

Colorado Rockies Roster Report 2009-02-27

Colorado Rockies Roster Report 2009-02-27
The Rockies were proactive in trading LF Matt Holliday, who can be a free agent after this season, to the A's for three players in November, knowing there would be a glut of corner outfielders on the market and it behooved them to move quickly. They traded disappointing RHP Luis Vizcaino to the Cubs for RHP Jason Marquis, a move that added $5 million to their payroll but gave them a durable starter at the back of their rotation.

In light of the uncertainty surrounding LHP Jeff Francis, the acquisition of Marquis could shore up an even bigger need. The Rockies couldn't replace closer Brian Fuentes, who left as a free agent, but they signed veteran LHP Alan Embree to bolster their bullpen.

ARRIVALS: RHP Huston Street (trade with A's), LHP Greg Smith (trade with A's), OF Carlos Gonzalez (trade with A's), RHP Josh Fogg (minor league free agent from Reds), OF Matt Murton (trade with A's), RHP Jason Marquis (trade with Cubs), LHP Alan Embree (free agent from A's), RHP Matt Belisle (minor league free agent from Reds), LHP Randy Flores (minor league free agent from Cardinals).

DEPARTURES: LF Matt Holliday (traded to A's), CF Willy Taveras (non-tendered, signed with Reds), LHP Brian Fuentes (free agent, signed with Angels), RHP Luis Vizcaino (traded to Cubs), OF Cory Sullivan (free agent, signed with Mets) and RHP Matt Herges (free agent, signed minor league deal with Indians), C Adam Melhuse (free agent, signed minor league deal with Rangers), RHP Livan Hernandez (free agent, signed minor league deal with Mets).

SPRING FOCUS: RHPs Huston Street and Manuel Corpas will compete for the closer's job. Both have held that role. Street had 94 career saves while with the A's. Corpas has 23 career saves, for the Rockies from July 2007 through April 2008.

1B Todd Helton underwent arthroscopic back surgery Sept. 30. He's recovering well and will use spring training as a proving ground to some degree for the regular season.

The Rockies must decide on a left fielder. Candidates include Seth Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, Ian Stewart, Matt Murton and Dan Ortmeier.

LHP Jeff Francis needs shoulder surgery and is out for the season, so the Rockies will have to find a fifth starter.


1. RHP Aaron Cook

2. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

3. LHP Jorge De La Rosa

4. RHP Jason Marquis

5. LHP Greg Smith

Cook won 16 games last year and likely will be given the Opening Day assignment. It might not be long before Jimenez, who has the best stuff on the staff, passes him as the Rockies' most reliable starter. Francis' injury will test what the Rockies believe to be better depth in their rotation this year. De La Rosa's strong finish earned him a spot in the rotation, but questions about his consistency linger and the Rockies are eager to see if he can get off to a good start and essentially put two good halves together.

Smith made 32 starts and threw 190 1/3 innings as a rookie with the A's last year but is by no means a certainty for the fifth spot. LHP Franklin Morales, whose ceiling is higher than anyone competing for this spot, seemed to regain his control in winter ball. He'll need a lights-out spring to make the team and even if he pitches well, the Rockies might be inclined to let him open the season at Class AAA, but Morales could be in the rotation at some point this season.

Other candidates for the end of the rotation are LHP Glendon Rusch, RHP Jason Hirsh, RHP Greg Reynolds, RHP Josh Fogg and RHP Matt Belisle.


RHP Huston Street (closer)

RHP Manuel Corpas

RHP Taylor Buchholz

LHP Alan Embree

LHP Glendon Rusch

RHP Jason Grilli

RHP Ryan Speier

Street and Corpas will compete in spring training to see who will replace departed LHP Brian Fuentes as the closer. Buchholz got fully acclimated to relief work last season. Rusch, who can pitch multiple innings and work in a long-relief role, is a good bet to win a spot in the bullpen and give the Rockies a second left-hander to go with Embree. Grilli, who allowed one homer in 61 1/3 innings, quietly had a good season in middle relief after being acquired from the Tigers at the end of April. Speier, who is out of options, offers hitters a different look with his low three-quarters delivery.


1. CF Ryan Spilborghs

2. SS Troy Tulowitzki

3. 1B Todd Helton

4. 3B Garrett Atkins

5. RF Brad Hawpe

6. C Chris Iannetta

7. LF Seth Smith

8. 2B Clint Barmes

Spilborghs will bring more punch to the top of the lineup than the departed Willy Taveras. He has less speed but has a better chance of getting on base. Tulowitzki is fully recovered from the serious leg injury that caused him to miss 46 games in the first half of last season and slowed him in the second half. He thrived in the No. 2 spot in 2007 and seems ready to do so again, particularly if followed by a healthy Helton, which if that's the case, would go a long way to making the lineup click. Atkins provides necessary right-handed balance in the middle of the lineup, which has the potential to be productive one through eight.


C Yorvit Torrealba

INF/OF Ian Stewart

OF Scott Podsednik

INF Omar Quintanilla

OF Jeff Baker

Stewart and Baker both have good power, although pinch-hitting hasn't come easily to them. Podsednik can play all three outfield positions and gives the Rockies a base-stealing threat off the bench. Quintanilla is very sound defensively, and while he lacks power, he did hit 17 doubles in 241 at-bats last year.

Torrealba has been passed by Chris Iannetta for the starting job, and while he's a pricey backup at $4 million, counting a $500,000 buyout on a mutual option for 2010, the Rockies are a better team if he's filling in for Iannetta rather than playing regularly.

TOP ROOKIES: CF Dexter Fowler, who turns 23 in March, hit .335 at Class AA Tulsa last year with nine homers, 64 RBIs and a .431 on-base percentage. The switch-hitting Fowler was recalled by the Rockies in September and went 4-for-26 (.154) in 13 games. Fowler played in the Futures Game and for Team USA in the Beijing Olympics during his whirlwind 2008 season. The Rockies view him as their center fielder of the future, which might not be too far away.

The spindly Fowler added 12 pounds of muscle this winter, and he'll get a good look in spring training, although he seems likely to open the season at Class AAA, where he has yet to play. However, it's realistic to expect to see Fowler with the Rockies at some point this season.

RHP Jhoulys Chacin, 21, led the minor leagues with 18 wins last year, all at the Class A level, where he split time with the Rockies' two affiliates. He'll open this season at Class AA Tulsa. Chacin has excellent command of a fastball that sits at 92 mph and an exceptional changeup, which has become his out pitch, particularly to left-handed hitters. Chacin's curveball is developing, but he has a very sound delivery, which he repeats with ease. General manager Dan O'Dowd said that primarily because of Chacin's fastball command and solid delivery, it's possible he could end up in the Rockies bullpen at some point this season and ease into the big leagues.


LHP Jeff Francis (left shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to undergo surgery Feb. 25 and will miss the entire season.

1B Todd Helton (arthroscopic back surgery in September 2008) had the procedure to relieve pressure a bulging disk was putting on his nerves, causing pain in his left leg. He was hobbled badly last season when he made two pinch-hitting appearances after July 2. Helton has progressed well over the winter. The Rockies will monitor him carefully this spring, when he's expected to play sporadically, with an eye toward having him ready to begin the regular season. The Rockies won't know until then how Helton's back withstands the daily grind.

C Yorvit Torrealba (left knee surgery in September 2008) played winter ball in Venezuela and is expected to be fine for spring training.

LHP Greg Smith (left elbow surgery in October 2008) had loose bodies removed during the procedure. He's not expected to have any problems in spring training, as the Rockies likely will be cautious at the outset.

LHP Randy Flores (left shoulder surgery in September 2008) might not pitch until June.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: February 27, 2009

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