DENVER -- Rockies right-hander German Marquez's cellphone tells the story, in words and motion pictures, of a rapid climb that he hopes lands him in the big leagues for good when the 2017 season starts.
Two seasons ago, while still with in the Rays' organization, Marquez would type notes from each start into his phone, and at times augment the entries with video clips. He continued last year, after he joined the Rockies in a four-player trade.
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado calls money "one of my least-favorite topics ever." And with the two-year contract worth $29.5 million he signed on Friday to avoid arbitration, he doesn't have to worry about it as he prepares for 2017.
"Money doesn't do anything; I'm going to be putting pressure on myself because I want to be the best and be good at this game," Arenado said. "I take pride in it. I don't like to let the fans down, and I don't like to let my teammates down. That's why I'm my hardest critic."
Reyes overtakes Giolito for top spot, Glasnow remains at No. 2
By Mike Rosenbaum
MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.
DENVER -- The Rockies have signed veteran right-handed-hitting outfielder Chris Denorfia to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Friday.
Denorfia, 36, who played for new Rockies manager Bud Black with the Padres from 2010-14, has also spent time in the Majors with the Reds, Athletics, Mariners and Cubs during his 10-year career. He has a lifetime .272 batting average, .330 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage.
DENVER -- General manager Jeff Bridich thus far has held onto the Rockies' long-term future, even though he has permission to spend more money in 2017.
The biggest moves have been free-agent signings of Ian Desmond, for five years and $70 million to play first base, and lefty pitcher Mike Dunn, who helps the bullpen at three years and $19 million. But noticeably absent from Bridich's 2017 strategy has been a trade that gives up prospects or young big leaguers for established stars.
DENVER -- Jerry Weinstein, who has been in college and professional baseball since 1966 and is currently managing Team Israel for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, was named manager for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, the Rockies announced Thursday.
Weinstein, 73, is beginning his 11th season in the Rockies' system -- a stint that includes two seasons at the Major League level (2012 and '13) as catching and defensive positioning coach. He spent the 2016 season as the Rockies' special instructor to player development.
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich confirmed Tuesday that the club is exploring the possibility of a contract extension for right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, although nothing is imminent.
"There's not a whole lot to say there," Bridich said in a conference call with beat reporters. "We've contemplated the possibility of an extension with him. We're hopeful we can at least explore that further. We feel like there's a good chance we'll be able to at least explore it further. After that, there's really not much to say."
In the opening days of December 2000, the Rockies went on a free-agent pitching splurge, initially signing Denny Neagle to a five-year, $51.5 million deal, and then giving left-hander Mike Hampton a record-setting eight-year, $121 million deal.
"We added a horse," then general manager Dan O'Dowd said in reference to Hampton, who had racked up a National League-leading 22 victories in 1999 with the Astros while going 63-31 from 1997-2000.
If the Rockies weren't serious about their 2017 effort, they wouldn't have given a five-year, $70 million contract to Ian Desmond that also cost them the No. 11 overall Draft pick. With a new manager in Bud Black, one of the great young players in the game in Nolan Arenado, an improving young rotation and a lineup that, because of the Coors Field conditions, is a good bet to score five runs a game again in '17, this is a club that believes it can make waves in the National League West.
But it still needs another piece, and that piece is Jose Quintana.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced
Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.
The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs.
DENVER -- Do the Rockies have another fearless, avant-garde move in them before Spring Training starts next month? With a bullpen that could still used some shoring up, there seems to be a move in the offing. A big contract for a slugger or a trade to shake up the roster also are possible, but far less likely.
Last month, the Rockies had folks thinking -- or scratching their heads -- when they signed Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million, and announced he would convert to being a first baseman. After playing shortstop, often with distinction, for the Nationals from 2009-15, he converted to the outfield with the Rangers last year and made an All-Star Game appearance. Now he'll take first base, and he could be a valuable bat toward the middle and bottom of the order.
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jon Gray loves searching for paranormal activity, and doesn't even mind finding it. But he wants to leave it right where it is.
"I go chase ghosts all day," Gray said during a wide-ranging and somewhat whimsical interview with MLB Network Radio's Casey Stern on Thursday. "But I don't know if I want them coming back to where I'm at."
Nolan Arenado and his cousin, Rockies Minor Leaguer Josh Fuentes, were together for New Year's Eve on Saturday, so they did what any family featuring two professional ballplayers would do: They played a game of baseball in the street and live-streamed it on Instagram.
DENVER -- Catcher Tony Wolters joined the Rockies as a waiver claim last February, but by the end of his rookie season in the Majors, he had become a folk hero in the science of pitch-framing.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Wolters finished fifth in the Majors in called strikes above average at .017. That means out of every 100 pitches, his ability to handle borderline pitches amounted to just under two extra strikes. But Wolters, who was claimed from the Indians at the start of Spring Training last year, sees pitch-framing as a flesh-and-blood act, not just a soulless calculation.
DENVER -- The Rockies' 2016 was mostly a year of hope. While it's true that disappointment and discord marred the final months of the season, the Rox finished the calendar year sparking even more hope.
The 2016 season in Major League Baseball was one of inspiring feats of athleticism, ballparks packed with ecstatic fans and the undeniable drama that comes with America's pastime. At the end of the 162-game push and an amazing October, one team was standing: the Chicago Cubs, who broke a 108-year championship drought and won the World Series for the National League.
But 14 other NL teams played all season and had their own pinnacle moments. In consultation with each club's beat reporter, here is the game of the year for each club in the NL in 2016:
DENVER -- The Rockies have "checked in" with free-agent right-hander Greg Holland -- one of the game's top closers before missing 2016 because of a right elbow injury, general manager Jeff Bridich acknowledged on Wednesday.
BSN Denver, citing a source, reported that the Rockies have approached Holland with a multi-year contract. Bridich did not confirm anything beyond monitoring Holland, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2015.
The Rockies have agreed to a one-year Major League contract with veteran utility player Alexi Amarista, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. The club has not confirmed the deal.
The 27-year-old Amarista was non-tendered by the Padres after hitting .257/.295/.271 in 65 games last season. In six seasons with the Angels and Padres, Amarista hit .230/.276/.320. He's played both middle-infield positions, and he has also spent time at third and in the outfield.
DENVER -- Happy Holidays all. Before I get to your Rockies questions, I'll highlight one of the issues I'll watch closely this spring.
Gerardo Parra signed a three-year, $27.5 million contract last winter, but hitting struggles and a high ankle sprain that cost him 46 games made him a forgotten man by season's end. But if the scenes he is posting from his workouts are any indication, he's off to a good start toward delivering a reminder.
DENVER -- During the holidays, we share trinkets and joy, but this is the story of a gift presented on Sept. 24.
Rockies star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez watched with pride from the visitors' dugout in Los Angeles as the Dodgers presented corner-infield prospect Edwin Rios, who hit 27 home runs at three levels in his first full pro season, with their Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year Award. The performance was Rios' thank you for all Gonzalez gave last winter, and continues to offer.
DENVER -- April shaped up to be uncertain for the Rockies.
For the first time since late in the 2006 season, the regular shortstop would be someone other than Troy Tulowitzki, who was dealt to the Blue Jays in July 2015. And his replacement, Jose Reyes, was in limbo and on his way to an MLB suspension for an off-field incident. But Trevor Story turned out to be the brightest April flower.
DENVER -- The Rockies' recognition that they needed more than one hitting coach, and their acknowledgement that they had a lot of internal coaching talent, drove the four additions they made to the staff.
Manager Bud Black and general manager Jeff Bridich announced the following assignments Thursday morning:
DENVER -- Because shortstop Brendan Rodgers and second baseman Forrest Wall are recent Rockies first-round Draft picks, the expectation is that they will be forces at the Major League level. So they spent the weekend giving back like big leaguers.
Rodgers, 20, the third overall pick in 2015, and Wall, 21, selected 35th overall in '14, along with Royals lefty pitching prospect Foster Griffin, 21, a first-round pick in '15, recently sat down with their agent, Jason Romano, a former Major League utility man. Romano, who played for five teams from 2002-05, was surrounded by players who enjoyed community work, and figured it's not too early for these prospects to start.