Spring cleaning: Rockies gear shipped

Clubhouse-operations staff clears out Coors Field for annual trip to Arizona

Spring cleaning: Rockies gear shipped

DENVER -- Tyler Sanders finished his Friday walking through the eerily empty clubhouse and storage areas of Coors Field, knowing that baseball and all its paraphernalia would greet him by the time he landed in Scottsdale, Ariz., Saturday afternoon.

Sanders, Colorado's assistant to the director of clubhouse operations, was responsible for making sure that when the final truck pulled out for the trip to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick -- the Rockies' Spring Training home -- there was nothing left behind. That meant every piece of baseball equipment, every jacket and coat, every pen and pad and desk calendar, even every bicycle and game console for the staff and their families.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

No set roles in Rox bullpen with plenty of power arms

Bullpen coach Holmes envisions a situation similar to his time with 1995 club

No set roles in Rox bullpen with plenty of power arms

The Rockies are heading back to the future.

Bullpen coach Darren Holmes knows the script. He has been there, did well and is eager to take a page out of Rockies pitching history and revise it this season.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen power, fielder versatility key to Rox plan

GM Bridich appears on MLB.com Statcast Podcast to discuss moves

Bullpen power, fielder versatility key to Rox plan

DENVER -- Bullpen power, with command, and versatility for position players are two keys to building a roster for the Rockies, general manager Jeff Bridich said during an appearance on the MLB.com Statcast™ Podcast that was posted on Thursday.

Righty Jason Motte and lefty Jake McGee, two of Colorado's key offseason additions, ranked first and second in the Majors in fastball usage (95.5 percent and 94 percent, respectively). Righty Chad Qualls, also acquired this winter, is a fastball-slider pitcher not known for offspeed pitches.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Hughes looks back at signing DeShields, Elway in Q&A

Veteran baseball executive renowned for signing multi-sport athletes

Hughes looks back at signing DeShields, Elway in Q&A

Gary Hughes was the left fielder on a Serra (Calif.) High School team in the late 1950s that featured future All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi. In addition to being a star shortstop, Fregosi was the star quarterback on Serra's football team, as well as a standout in basketball who also set the California high school record in the triple jump.

Hughes never forgot. As one of the higher-profile scouts in baseball, Hughes always had Fregosi in his mind when he evaluated players, and has become known over the years for his willingness to take a chance on multi-sport stars.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lefty Friedrich claimed by Angels

Lefty will compete for bullpen role; Featherston DFA'd

Lefty Friedrich claimed by Angels

ANAHEIM -- The Angels claimed lefty reliever Christian Friedrich from the Rockies on Friday and designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster. Friedrich, who is out of options, will compete for a bullpen role in Spring Training. Featherston could be lost to another club, 14 months after getting selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

The 28-year-old Friedrich has posted a 5.81 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 2.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 167 1/3 innings in the Majors from 2012-15, but those numbers are likely inflated by the hitter-friendly conditions of Coors Field. Left-handed hitters have posted only a .678 OPS against him, compared to .908 for righties.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Home wins key to 2016 success, Weiss says

Rockies manager hopes team cashes in on Coors' advantages

Home wins key to 2016 success, Weiss says

DENVER -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss is hoping his club returns to its former dominance at Coors Field.

Weiss, appearing on MLB Network's "High Heat" with Chris Russo, was asked about the team's road performance. But Weiss pointed out that the problem last season, when the Rockies finished last in the National League West, was its 36-45 home mark. The franchise has just once had a winning record on the road, but has made three playoff appearances in its 23 seasons by dominating at home.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perkins' growth takes next step at WBC

Rockies prospect strives for improvement with Australia

Perkins' growth takes next step at WBC

DENVER -- Australian catcher Robbie Perkins' defensive leadership began to match his notable throwing arm last year at Class A Asheville. His confidence can only grow when he suits up for Australia in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round Feb. 11-14 at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia.

In 40 games last year, Perkins threw out 31-of-76 (40.8 percent) would-be basestealers in his first full Minor League season. Granted, stolen-base attempts in the low Minors can be astronomical compared to the Majors, but among Major League catchers who appeared in at least 100 games last year, just three -- the Blue Jays' Russell Martin, the Nationals' Wilson Ramos and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina -- had a higher percentage than Perkins.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How does trade for McGee fit big picture?

An overview of Rox roster, and their hopes for 2016

How does trade for McGee fit big picture?

DENVER -- By receiving left-handed reliever Jake McGee in a trade that sent outfielder Corey Dickerson to the Rays on Thursday, the Rockies have a roster they can theoretically take into the regular season.

The trade was praised in some circles as another building block in a powerful bullpen, and pilloried in others as a head-scratching swap of a low-salaried slugger for a $4.8 million late-inning guy on team not seen as a contender until young starting pitching matures.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Helton eyes role in Colorado organization

'I'm forever a Rockie,' says legendary first baseman

Helton eyes role in Colorado organization

DENVER -- Former first baseman Todd Helton would love to return to the Rockies -- the only team he knew during a decorated 17-season career -- in some capacity.

Helton, whose No. 17 is the only retired number in club history (Jackie Robinson's No. 42 is retired under MLB mandate), ended his playing career after the 2013 season. During a Tuesday interview with the MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM "Inside Pitch" show with Casey Stern and Brad Lidge, Helton said he discussed a desire to lend his influence.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Groundhog Day grin for ex-Rockies GM

O'Dowd can smile -- now -- over dealing Chone Figgins

Groundhog Day grin for ex-Rockies GM

DENVER -- Away for a year from the fray of building a Major League organization, former Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd can laugh at his pratfalls during a 12-year term -- which, to be fair, included a World Series appearance and an additional playoff trip.

"It's a long list of them," O'Dowd said, chuckling good-naturedly into the telephone.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies place 6 on Top 100 Prospects list

Rockies place 6 on Top 100 Prospects list

DENVER -- The Rockies' attempt to build a strong future can no longer be called a quiet one.

Led by the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, shortstop Brendan Rodgers, and right-handed pitcher Jon Gray, Colorado placed six players on the MLBPipeline.com 2016 Top 100 Prospects list, announced Friday night.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Parker remains with Rockies, sent to Triple-A

Parker remains with Rockies, sent to Triple-A

DENVER -- The Rockies were able to hang on to former first-round Draft pick Kyle Parker, a right-handed-hitting outfielder and first baseman, by outrighting him to Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday.

Parker was designated for assignment on Jan. 20, and was not claimed by another club off waivers or traded, so the Rockies were able to keep him in the organization as a Minor League player and clear a spot on the 40-man Major League roster for outfielder Gerardo Parra, who signed a three-year, $27.5 million deal.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Swift reflects on MLB career, coaching in Q&A

Former pitcher discusses post-playing days as Arizona Christian College's head coach

Swift reflects on MLB career, coaching in Q&A

Bill Swift is a baseball lifer. And right now he is enjoying life under the national radar.

The second player selected in the 1984 Draft, Swift spent 13 years in the big leagues, pitching for the Mariners, Giants and Rockies. He led the National League with a 2.08 ERA with the Giants in 1992 and won 21 games for them the next year.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies receive reliever McGee in four-player swap

Colorado also acquires RHP Marquez, sends Dickerson to Rays

Rockies receive reliever McGee in four-player swap

DENVER -- New Rockies left-handed relief pitcher Jake McGee, acquired Thursday from the Rays in a four-player trade that sent outfielder Corey Dickerson to Tampa Bay, has no concerns pitching at altitude.

He learned to pitch in the Rocky Mountains in Reno, Nev. And his last two appearances at Coors Field were smooth. On May 3, 2013, the Rockies sent Troy Tulowitzki up with two on and one out in the eighth. McGee walked Tulowitzki intentionally, then struck out Eric Young Jr. and Jordan Pacheco. Two days later, he fanned Carlos Gonzalez, the only batter he faced in an 8-3 Rays victory.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

CarGo at first base? Rox could try it this spring

CarGo at first base? Rox could try it this spring

DENVER -- Rockies star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez might want to pack a first baseman's mitt for Spring Training, just in case.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said nothing extreme is happening. The club isn't planning to move Gonzalez from the outfield, where he has won three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and appeared in two All-Star Games. But the club has discussed opening that as a possibility.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Rockies collecting fastball specialists in McGee, Motte

Pair of new relievers threw highest percentage of fastballs over 2014-15

Rockies collecting fastball specialists in McGee, Motte

Rockies fans have spent the offseason vocally wondering what the team's long-term plan is, since the teardown that seemed likely to follow last summer's Troy Tulowitzki deal never really happened, and the minor moves around the edges the club has made hasn't left it in a position much different than the way it ended the 2015 campaign. As the D-backs and Giants have made steps forward, and the three-time defending division champion Dodgers loom over everyone, the Rockies seemingly find themselves stuck between contending and rebuilding.

But perhaps that's not completely fair, because in at least one way, some of the moves the Rockies have made do seem to be indicative of a larger plan. Let's take a look at the 632 pitchers who faced at least 100 batters over 2014-15, sorted by fastball percentage (grouping four-seam, two-seam, and cut together), and something striking emerges:

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Return of Chatwood, Lyles could spur Rockies

Colorado may rely on young righties to stabilize struggling rotation

Return of Chatwood, Lyles could spur Rockies

DENVER -- The Rockies have their fingers crossed that a couple of their pitching answers have been with them all along, only stuck on the disabled list.

Right-hander Tyler Chatwood was 10-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) at Coors Field from 2012-14 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in July '14. Righty Jordan Lyles has shown flashes while going 9-9 with a 4.56 ERA since joining the Rockies in '14. However, he was limited to 22 starts that season because of a broken left hand and 10 starts in '15 because of a right big toe injury that required surgery.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Rodgers makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

Dodgers' Seager tops list, Philly's Crawford and Brewers' Arcia next up

Rodgers makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Even with Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell graduating to the big leagues, shortstop remains the glamour position for up-and-coming talent. Corey Seager, J.P. Crawford and Orlando Arcia rank among the elite prospects in the game, while Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman and Brendan Rodgers were the first three picks in the 2015 Draft. Interestingly, the top six shortstop prospects and eight of the 10 best belong to National League clubs.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies draw record number of fantasy campers

Instruction set to begin, with Helton headlining coaching staff

Rockies draw record number of fantasy campers

DENVER -- More baseball dreamers than ever (104) will descend on Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., starting Wednesday, and they will work and play for five days and four nights. Part of the draw is the presence of the Rockies' greatest player, Todd Helton, as a coach.

But another draw is the chance to rub elbows with Lew Dunlap. Just don't cross Mr. Dunlap.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McMahon No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

Rangers' Gallo grabs top spot, Boston's Devers leaps to No. 2

McMahon No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Miguel Sano and Maikel Franco claimed four of the top five spots on last year's list of the top third-base prospects, and together they combined to hit 64 big league home runs in 2015. Gallo retained rookie eligibility and headlines this year's crop of top prospects at the hot corner, which, as a whole, stand out more for overall hitting ability than power. And as it's so often the case with young third basemen, only time will tell how many of these guys will be able to remain at the position long term.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blackmon reaches one-year deal with Rockies

Blackmon reaches one-year deal with Rockies

DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon should be OK on gas money.

The Rockies and Blackmon agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million contract to avoid arbitration Monday. The deal leaves second baseman DJ LeMahieu as the team's lone unsigned arbitration-eligible player. The contract came in slightly above the $3.3 million midpoint between Blackmon's filing and the club's offer in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Helton happy for SB-bound friend Manning

Rockies superstar was Univ. of Tennessee QB alongside football legend

Helton happy for SB-bound friend Manning

The criticism burned Todd Helton.

"It's hard to listen to people kick a man when he is down," said Helton. "People love to see the best fail. I guess that's human nature. But it is tough to listen to. It kind of makes you mad to hear people in Denver ever say some of the things that were said."

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Wall makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

Boston's Moncada leads list, followed by Reds' Peraza at No. 2

Wall makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

There has been quite a bit of turnover from last year to the 2016 edition of the Top 10 second-base prospects, with six new names joining the list, thanks to two graduations and four who dropped off the list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies GM downplays Gallardo talks

Rockies GM downplays Gallardo talks

DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Saturday called reports of the team's pursuit of right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo "fairly overblown," and while he acknowledged talks, Bridich stopped short of saying the sides are negotiating.

Gallardo's agents at Octagon acknowledged Thursday and Friday that they were talking to the Rockies, and that the Orioles and Astros also are involved.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arenado assumes mantle as face of franchise

Rockies 3B notices difference in fan interactions at Rockies Fest

Arenado assumes mantle as face of franchise

DENVER -- Familiar and new faces flashed before Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado on Saturday at Rockies Fest. All greeted him with more enthusiasm than in years prior. Such is the case when folks see a player as the new face of the franchise.

Arenado enjoyed the recognition and banter on a mild winter day at Coors Field -- possibly the only place in Denver that folks were not wearing blue and orange and talking about Broncos playoff football.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pain-free De La Rosa in unfamiliar situation

Winningest pitcher in Rockies history used to dealing with series of injuries

Pain-free De La Rosa in unfamiliar situation

DENVER -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa felt discombobulated Friday morning.

In town for Rockies Fest -- a festival for fans all day Saturday at Coors Field, open for season-ticket holders at 8:30 a.m. MT (free) and the public at 12:30 p.m. ($20 for fans 13 and over, $1 for fans under 13) -- De La Rosa wanted to throw a bullpen session, but it turns out he forgot to pack his glove for the flight from his Scottsdale, Ariz., home.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Butler buzzing to bring back old ways in new season

Rockies right-hander vows return to form from subpar 2015

Butler buzzing to bring back old ways in new season

DENVER -- Even phone calls to his family back home in Virginia were difficult for Rockies pitcher Eddie Butler during a rough 2015 season.

"It was the first time I'd ever really had failure," Butler said. "Before, after I'd pitch, it was, 'You did real well,' and we'd want to talk about what happened. But last year, it was pretty much always after a bad day, 'Do you want to talk about what happened?'"

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.