Rockies beef up bullpen, add vets to lineup

McGee, Motte, Parra and Reynolds bring talent, experience to young club

Rockies beef up bullpen, add vets to lineup

DENVER -- In our first installment of the Spring Training preview, we looked at Rockies On The Rebound. Now we take a look at The New Guys.

General manager Jeff Bridich took a slightly unexpected route toward building the 2016 squad. Instead of adding experienced starting pitchers to a staff that has struggled mightily the past two years, Bridich beefed up the bullpen and added a couple of hitters -- one a contact-and-speed guy, another with power. The hope is the young starters drafted and acquired will mature, and the moves this offseason will make a difference in close games.

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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.

Prospects invited to Rockies' big league camp

Dahl, McMahon, Hoffman among 24 players on list

Prospects invited to Rockies' big league camp

DENVER -- Rather than have their non-roster invitees to Spring Training largely populated with veterans from other organizations looking for big league jobs, the Rockies' list released Thursday weighs toward prized homegrown players.

All but three of this year's 24 invitees spent last season in the Rockies' organization. The list includes three of MLB.com's Top 100 overall prospects -- center fielder David Dahl (No. 46), third baseman Ryan McMahon (No. 48) and right-hander Jeff Hoffman (No. 52) -- plus catcher Dom Nunez, who was rated the seventh-best prospect at his position by MLBPipeline.com.

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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.

Hale poised to bounce back after rough '15

Hale poised to bounce back after rough '15

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher David Hale has a degree in economics from Princeton and is quite capable of learning, but last season tested his aptitude.

Hale suffered a left oblique injury just before the start of the season, and it cost him a potential spot in the starting rotation. After his third promotion from Triple-A Albuquerque on June 8, he landed on the disabled list again, this time with a left groin strain suffered July 9.

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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' pitching needs to take step forward in '16

Both rotation and bullpen must improve if Colorado is to contend

Rockies' pitching needs to take step forward in '16

DENVER -- It's time to begin looking toward the Rockies' 2016 season. Today begins a series of snapshots to set up where the team has been, where it is and where it hopes to go.

"On the Rebound" is a fitting place to start. The Rockies' biggest problem last season, and for years before that, has been pitching, so it stands to reason that pitchers mostly populate the list of folks needing to erase the poor taste of 2015.

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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

Lyle Spencer

5 bats could shape how NL West is won

5 bats could shape how NL West is won

The Dodgers and Giants have ruled the National League West in recent seasons with dominant pitching, but the division also houses some serious offense. The Rockies and D-backs scored the most runs in the league in 2015, with the Giants coming in fifth.

Let's zero in on five pivotal NL West bats heading into Spring Training.

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Lyle Spencer is a columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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.

Young: Ozzie inspired me to be All-Star every day

Rox coach played with Smith during his last Midsummer Classic

Young: Ozzie inspired me to be All-Star every day

I could say my choice is Jackie Robinson. I can talk about growing up in New Jersey and following Willie Randolph with the Yankees, or watching the Mets and Darryl Strawberry. But throughout my career, there was one guy, and that was Ozzie Smith.

Before I got to the Majors, I watched Ozzie, and followed him while I played. I wanted to express myself in the same manner that Ozzie expressed himself on the field -- with class, flair at times, enthusiasm, every day playing the game the right way. Finally, I got a chance to pick his brain at the 1996 All-Star Game in Philadelphia.

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MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

5 potential impact arms in wild NL West

5 potential impact arms in wild NL West

Remodeled pitching staffs make the National League West one of the most unpredictable and fascinating of the six divisions as Spring Training approaches. Any number of arms could prove pivotal in a lively race. Here are five to watch:

1. Kenta Maeda, Dodgers
Division champions three years running with dominant starting pitching, the Dodgers can't replace what Zack Greinke gave them with one arm. But Maeda, polished and experienced on the international stage, is one of several who can help ease the impact of Greinke's move to Arizona.

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Lyle Spencer is a columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. 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 multisport 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 multisport 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.