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Updated: 2017-12-11T11:39:02-07:00


MLB free agency: Rockies are interested in Carlos Santana



They are among a number of teams interested in the first baseman.

As they look to address their need for a power bat, the Colorado Rockies are interested in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Patrick Saunders reports that the Rockies are among a number of teams interested in the switch hitting Santana’s services, including the Cleveland Indians.

Santana would represent a clear upgrade for the Rockies at first base. He would be a good fit because of his profile as a hitter, one that has translated to consistent power numbers over the last number of seasons. Santana also has strong on-base skills and can handle the position defensively. Presuming a reasonable price, Santana would be a great fit and a better deal than a more expensive option, such as fellow free agent Eric Hosmer.

It might be that Santana is not such a bargain, however. If there are a number of teams involved, his price might go up. Not only that, but Santana has a qualifying offer attached to him. If the Rockies sign him, they’ll have to give up either their second round pick or their Competitive Balance Round A pick.

It remains to be seen what the Rockies’ threshold is in that regard, and if they can make a competitive offer for Santana.

MLB Trade Rumors: Rockies ‘aggressively pursuing’ Rays closer Alex Colomé



Rockies next closer might come through trade instead of free agency

Update: The Rockies are also still engaged with talks with Greg Holland to come back as closer, according to Patrick Saunders. This week should give us a sense of how the market is shaping up for Holland and just how expensive he would be in terms of years and dollars for the Rockies.

The 2017 MLB winter meetings are underway and the rumors are already beginning to flow. Bob Nightengale is reporting that the Rockies and Cardinals are both in active pursuit of a Alex Colomé. The Tampa Bay Rays closer is one of the top closers available on the trade market this offseason. The Rockies’ pursuit of him could signal that the top free agent closers have priced themselves out of Colorado’s range (pun intended).

Colomé saved 47 games for the Rays last season while posting a 3.24 ERA in 6623 innings. He also struck out 58 against only 23 walks. While his 2017 was solid, it pales in comparison to the season that he had in 2016 for the Rays. In 2016, Colomé had a 1.91 ERA and 71 strikeouts against 15 walks in 5623 innings.

With a December 31 birthday Colomé will turn 29 before next season, but he is just now entering his first season of arbitration. While his price tag will climb over the next three offseasons, whichever team obtains him will have three years of team control.

MLB free agency: Rockies ‘look into’ Logan Morrison, reliever market takes shape


Rockies news and links for December 11, 2017 Free Agency What are each team’s interests entering Winter Meetings? | Boston GlobeNick Cafardo reports that the Rockies “have been looking into” Logan Morrison, presumably as a first base option. Morrison looks like he would be a fine addition. He’s 30 years old and is coming off of a 135 OPS+ season, during which he hit a career high 38 home runs. The lefty has never hit for a high average, but he does know how to work a walk. He’s an above average hitter who could take advantage of the short wall in right field, especially if the league uses the same type of baseball in 2018 as they did in 2017. And he should come at a decent cost as well. MLB Trade Rumors predicts he’ll get a three-year contract worth $36 million. What do you think about Morrison? There’s a poll at the end of this post. Heyman | Cubs closing in on deal with Brandon Morrow | FanRag SportsMLB Trade Rumors predicted that Brandon Morrow would land with the Rockies on a three-year/$24 million deal. If my math is right, that breaks down to $8 million a year. Jon Heyman is reporting that the Cubs have signed Morrow to a contract worth around $10-11 million a year, although the number of years is still unknown. Cardinals sign Luke Gregerson to 2-year deal | MLB Daily DishAnd in other news about relievers signing for a lot of money, Luke Gregerson is headed to St. Louis on a two-year $11 million contract. If the Rockies want to sign a free agent reliever, it'll be costly. When the offseason started, it looked like role-playing relievers like Tony Watson, Pat Neshek, and Tommie Hunter would get contracts like the one Gregerson just got. They're all better than Gregerson, so expect those other guys to get even larger deals. On the Rockies Sunday Notes: Mike Fiers is a Tiger who trusts his stuff | FanGraphsIn a mini follow-up to his conversation with Rockies farm director Zach Wilson about Riley Pint, David Laurila talks to Pint here. It appears that Pint and the Rockies are on the same page. Laurila asked Pint about his underwhelming statistics in Low-A, and Pint replied that he doesn’t “give a crap about the stats.” He continues and says that the most important part of the first years as a pro is adjustment to pitching coaches and the organization. The Rockies and Pint do seem to be a good fit. And while it’s true that we shouldn’t give a crap about Low-A stats, it’s still easier as a faraway observer to not give a crap about good stats. BSN Rockies Podcast: Signing Chris Iannetta was actually goodJake Shapiro talks about the Rockies' acquisition of Chris Iannetta, as well as the departure of the guy they got in exchange for Iannetta, Tyler Chatwood. Colorado Rockies win by Stanton, Ohtani signing outside division | Rox PileIn an alternate universe, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani both ended up on NL West teams, thus terrorizing the Rockies for the next decade. While that universe might have some perks—maybe that’s the one where Larry Walker is in the Hall of Fame—in this universe we can be in awe of these great players while they terrorize the American League. Winter Meetings and the NL West Arizona Diamondbacks Winter Meetings preview | AZ Snake PitAZ Snake Pit has a nice preview of the Diamondbacks' offseason so far, as well as what the club's needs are as the Winter Meetings begin. What will define this winter meetings for the Dodgers? | True Blue LAEric Stephen takes a look back at what characterized the Dodgers' past two Winter Meetings. It's not really a question of activity with the Dodgers. Instead, it's a matter of intensity and direction. [...]

MLB free agency: Bryan Shaw could help the Rockies’ bullpen


Rockies news and links for December 10, 2017 Two Teams Have Made Offers To Bryan Shaw | MLB Trade RumorsOne of those two teams appears to be the Mets, but the other is a mystery. There’s no indication at all that it’s the Rockies, but since the Rockies are in the market for relievers, let’s look at Bryan Shaw and how well he might fit with the Rockies. Shaw is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who relies heavily on a cut-fastball but complements it with a slider about a fifth of the time. Prior to 2016 Shaw’s fastball averaged around 93 mph; however, over the past two seasons he’s added a tick and a half to his cutter. It now averages about 94.5 mph. The reward has been more strikeouts. Over his first five seasons, which he spent with Arizona and Cleveland, he struck out 7.6 batters per nine innings. But over the last two seasons he’s upped that to 8.9 strikeouts per nine. Shaw has been especially good over the past four seasons, as he’s posted ERA+’s of 151, 146, 140, and 130. And while Shaw isn’t an extreme groundballer, 55% of the balls in play he induced in 2017 were on the ground. That was a career high for him. In other words, he’s been as good over the past four seasons as Holland McGee were in 2017. So, yeah, he could fit with the Rockies. MLB Trade Rumors projected Shaw to earn a three-year contract worth $21 million. Rockies hot stove needs include a closer like Wade Davis, power at first | Denver PostShaw is one of the few big reliever free agents Patrick Saunders doesn’t mention here, as he goes through the Rockies' major remaining needs. It doesn't sound like Saunders thinks the Rockies are going to bring back either of their bullpen free agents, Holland, McGee, and Pat Neshek. He notes that the Rockies have already talked to free agents Wade Davis and Brandon Kintzler, and he mentions guys like Addison Reed, Tony Watson, and Brandon Morrow as other free agent possibilities. Zach Britton and Alex Colomé are possible trade targets. The funny thing about relievers is that Scott Oberg very well might end up the Rockies' closer and end up having a better season than all of these admittedly enticing names. As far as the "power at first" tease, Saunders only mentions Jay Bruce, who has been linked to the Rockies. Giancarlo Stanton is accepting a trade to the Yankees, not the Dodgers | McCovey ChroniclesRockies and Giants fans can agree that it's a good thing Giancarlo Stanton isn't going to play for the Dodgers. Still, it's sad that Stanton won't make an annual visit to Coors Field as a visitor anymore. Free agency rumor grade: Eric Hosmer meets with Padres | SBNation.comDo it, Preller. [...]

Colorado Rockies unlikely to make big move at Winter Meetings


Rockies news and links for December 9, 2017 Rox big splash didn't pay off in '01 Meetings | You remember the time that then-general manager Dan O’Dowd signed Mike Hampton? Of course you do. It’s a deal that will continue to be referred to as a cautionary tale for the Colorado Rockies. It is the case against overspending on free agents, especially pitchers, for a franchise that can’t afford to be saddled by those contracts when they go sideways. You know who else remembers signing Hampton and realizes it was a bad idea? Dan O’Dowd. I guess he felt like he hadn’t made Rockies fans mad in a while, so here he tells Thomas Harding that he “didn’t feel great” about signing Hampton at the time. Woof. Jeff Bridich has obviously gone a different route building organizational depth. Between this retrospective and Harding’s previous reporting about the Rockies being “calm and calculated” at the Winter Meetings, we shouldn’t expect a lot of big spending or juicy rumors. And that’s just fine. Giancarlo Stanton reportedly traded to the New York Yankees The Miami Marlins have a deal to send the slugger to New York, according to Jon Heyman. Noteworthy here, of course, because if Stanton approves the deal it means he will not be coming to the NL West. MLB Trade Rumors has a breakdown of the different moving pieces before a deal is done. We can almost breathe a sigh of relief. Colorado Rockies: Why is a poor record predicted for 2018? | Rox Pile Projection systems might not necessarily be sold on the team’s success last season. Kevin Henry takes a look at one poor projection for next season and what it might say about the state of the team heading into the Winter Meetings. Chris Iannetta signing a good start, but Rockies not yet done with catcher position | BSN Rockies With his on-base skills and veteran savvy, Iannetta should generally be met with positive reviews upon his return to Colorado. Rich Allen offers a different perspective here, arguing that the Rockies still need to make another move to strengthen the catcher position. Larry Walker Week Here’s a look at our week dedicated to why Walker should be in the Hall of Fame, in case you missed it or want to revisit it. The one big difference between Larry Walker and these 3 Hall of Fame talents - looking at how Walker stacks up to guys who are already in or who will get in. Larry Walker’s 1997 MVP season embodies the all-around Hall of Fame player that he was - it’s always fun to remember just how great Walker was that season. Larry Walker had a Hall of Fame personality - looking back at some of the amusing anecdotes and personality quirks from Walker’s career. 33 reasons why Larry Walker is worthy of the Hall of Fame - self-explanatory. Guest posts from Earth Two: Larry Walker is already a Hall of Famer - also self explanatory. Larry Walker belongs in the Hall of Fame - yes he does, and here’s an in-depth look at why. [...]

Colorado Rockies sign catcher Chris Iannetta to a two-year deal



An old friend is returning to Coors Field.

Old friend Chris Iannetta is returning to the Colorado Rockies on a two-year, $8.5 million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. FanRag’s Jon Heyman was the first to report the specific terms of the contract.

Iannetta, who will turn 35 in April, hit .254/.354/.511, a 120 wRC+, in 316 plate appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017. The right-handed catcher also spent the first six seasons of his career in Colorado. During his first stint in Denver from 2006-11, he posted a .235/.357/.430 slash line in 1,733 plate appearances, good for a 101 wRC+.

One particular positive that Iannetta brings to the Rockies is his on-base ability. He walked in 11.7% of his plate appearances in 2017 and has a 13.6% walk rate in his career. The only returning Rockie with a better walk rate in 2017 was Tony Wolters, though he doesn’t bring nearly as much power as Iannetta.

Defensively, Iannetta has generally graded out well below average. Baseball Prospectus rates him 89 runs worse than average for his career, but he is coming off a season in which he rated 6.5 runs above average, so perhaps he’s improving as a pitch framer late in his career.

As it stands now, Iannetta appears slated to be the primary starter behind the dish for the Rockies with Tony Wolters serving as the backup. Of course, it remains possible that the Rockies will bring in another catcher—the Rockies have also shown interest in Jonathan Lucroy—in which case Iannetta would likely slide into a backup role.

33 reasons why Larry Walker is worthy of the Hall of Fame


How do we love Larry? Let us count the ways Today we wrap up the first ever Purple Row Larry Walker Week. The goal was to raise awareness and appreciation for perhaps the greatest player to wear a Rockies uniform and to push his case for Hall of Fame induction. After wishing him “Happy Birthday,” we compared him to other notable Hall-of-Fame-caliber outfielders. We reviewed his 1997 MVP season and explored an alternate timeline in which he was already inducted into the Hall of Fame. We also discussed his Hall-of-Fame worthy personality and made the definitive case for his Hall of Fame induction. But there are, understandably, a few things still missing if we’re going to properly tell the story of Larry Walker. There are other things that were mentioned but must be further emphasized. In honor or his fascination with the number three, here are 33 reasons to love Larry Walker. 1. Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric attempts to measure how a Hall of Fame candidate measures up with current Hall of Famers at his position. Larry Walker’s career WAR, peak WAR, and JAWS score all show is he worthy of enshrinement. Unfortunately, last year, his seventh on the ballot, he accrued just 21.7% of votes, well short of the 75% required. That is why Larry Walker Week exists (and may, be forced to continue for another two years). 2. The biggest knock against Larry Walker is that he didn't play enough. Between injuries both minor and season threatening, he logged only an average of 124 games per season (if you remove his 20 game cup-of-coffee in 1989). If he played just 10 more games per season, that would be the equivalent of an entire extra season, in which case he’d likely have had the numbers to put him in the Hall of Fame already. And yet he still has a better rWAR, and JAWS score than the average Hall of Fame right fielder. 3. Larry is rightly remembered for facing Randy Johnson in the 1997 All-Star Game in Cleveland, but did you know he also finished second in the Home Run Derby that year? Of course, he hit three more home runs overall than champion Tino Martinez, but lost to Martinez in the finals 3-1. 4. Not only was he a five-time All-Star, he was also a four-time starter. 5. There is an entire generation of baseball fans from the Denver area who know Ozzy Osbourne not because he bit the head off of a bat but because of the song that played when Larry Walker went up to bat. 6. Larry Walker was born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. That makes him Canadian. And everyone knows Canadians are awesome. Seriously, if you’ve ever met a bad Canadian, check their passport. And birth certificate, just in case. 7. The only Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame is Ferguson Jenkins. He was inducted in 1991. The Anti-Canadian bias has gone on for far too long. Larry needs to be in. 8. He also was developed by Canada’s first Major League Baseball team, the now defunct* Montreal Expos. So that’s pretty cool. 9. These next few come courtesy of Hot Stove Stats on twitter. The most impressive: There have been 19,180 players to play Major League Baseball. Just one of them has 350 HR, 200 SB, .300 BA, and .400 OBP in their career. His name is Larry Walker. #WalkerHOF— Hot Stove Stats (@HotStoveStats) November 22, 2017 31) He was on the coaching staff that led Canada to it’s first ever PanAm Gold Medal by defeating Team USA 7-6 in extra innings (in a game that Jeff Francis pitched in!). Walker was excited. 32) During the 2013 World Baseball Classic, a brawl broke out between Teams Mexico and Canada. Canadian first base coach Larry Walker, a former NL MVP, said he held back Mexico star Adrian Gonzalez during the altercation. The solidly built Walker also tried to restrain Aceves. "I had a hold of him and I thought I saw Satan in his eyes," Walker said. 33) One of the fun features on is that every player that has a nickname has it listed at t[...]

Larry Walker belongs in the Hall of Fame


Walker has not gotten nearly the respect he deserves in Hall of Fame voting. In his eighth year on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, Larry Walker again appears unlikely to receive the 75% of the vote he’ll need. In fact, he’s unlikely to even be close. This doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, as Walker had a career that was clearly Hall of Fame-caliber. He had a career comparable to Reggie Jackson and other right field Hall of Famers, his MVP season is one of the best we’re ever likely to see, he had a personality that helps the “fame” part of his case, and over on Earth Two he’s already a Hall of Famer! Let’s dig in to the definitive case for Larry Walker, Hall of Famer. First and foremost, we should take a look at Walker’s career numbers. In his 17-year career, Walker hit .313/.400/.565, a park-adjusted 141 OPS+, with 2,160 hits, 471 doubles, 62 triples, 383 home runs, and 230 stolen bases. Walker also won seven Gold Gloves in right field and was rated 94 runs better than average defensively by Baseball-Reference. He was a five-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and won the MVP in 1997 on the strength of an absurd .366/.452/.720 slash line (178 OPS+), 33 stolen bases, and defense that rated 10 runs better than average. When all was said and done, Walker had a career 72.6 rWAR, a seven-year peak rWAR of 44.6, and a JAWS (the average of total and seven-year peak rWAR) of 58.6. This all looks impressive, but how does it compare to other players already in the Hall of Fame? There are 24 right fielders currently in the Hall of Fame. This group has an average of 73.2 career rWAR, an average seven-year peak rWAR of 43, and an average JAWS of 58.1. These are remarkably similar to Walker’s numbers. Out of that group of 24, Walker would rank 12th in rWAR and 10th in seven-year peak rWAR and JAWS. It may not sound great on the surface, but remember we’re comparing him to quite the elite group here. Coming out slightly better than average in the context of a comparison with only Hall of Fame players means he wasn’t just good, he was great. That said, he doesn’t need to beat out the players already in the Hall of Fame. He needs to beat the players currently on the ballot. How does he stack up there? Among players on the Hall of Fame ballot, Walker comes in seventh in career rWAR. Even on a ballot limited to only 10 players, Walker should comfortably make his way onto the majority of them. Instead, there are currently six players with a lower career rWAR who have made their way onto as many or more of the ballots released to the public than Walker. Maybe WAR isn’t telling us the whole story here. Instead of WAR, let’s look at win probability added (WPA). Here, Walker comes in sixth. It’s important to note, though, that WPA doesn’t factor in defense. According to Baseball-Reference, Walker also places seventh in fielding runs among players on the ballot. Pretty much any way you slice it, Walker is deserving of strong consideration for any voter’s top 10. These numbers show us a bit of it, but what truly made Walker a special player was his ability to contribute in all facets of the game. He was a legitimate five-tool player. Of players currently on the Hall of Fame ballot, Walker is one of only two with a career OPS+ of 140 or better, 90 or more runs above average defensively, and 35 runs or more above average on the bases. The other is someone you may have heard of—Barry Bonds. In fact, Walker is one of only four players all-time who can boast that impressive set of numbers. The other two—Willie Mays and Hank Aaron—are also players you may be familiar with. Here is a list of Hall of Fame-eligible players with 2,000+ hits, 450+ doubles, 50+ triples, 350+ home runs, 200+ stolen bases, and defense rated at least average who are not in the Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds Larry[...]