DENVER -- It's not clear how the Rockies will improve the top of their pitching rotation, but there's nothing wrong with looking at possible free-agent targets.
The Rockies haven't paid top dollar since the signings of Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle, for a total of $172.5 million before the 2001 season, went sour. Also, pitchers who believe they can hit the contract jackpot now and another time after this contract rarely choose Coors Field as a home.
Outfielder Brandon Barnes agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Rockies on Friday, leaving the club with five remaining arbitration-eligible players.
Barnes, 29, put up a .251/.314/.341 line with two homers and 17 RBIs in 106 games after being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque last season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Barnes was entering arbitration for the first time.
Veteran reliever John Axford was designated for assignment by the Rockies on Friday amid a flurry of roster moves to set their 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft deadline.
The Rockies selected the contracts of right-handed pitchers Carlos Estevez and Antonio Senzatela, infielder Trevor Story and outfielder Raimel Tapia, adding them to the 40-man roster so they won't be eligible to be selected in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 process.
DENVER -- One could say Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes wears his passion on his sleeves, thanks to an impressive array of tattoos -- some self-applied -- detailing the depth of his feelings for family, religion, peace, art and (of course) the wonder of baseball.
But one doesn't have to examine his ink to get a picture of who Barnes is. Just observe his seemingly limitless energy. Whether in the dugout or on the field, Barnes is break-neck motion personified. Energy plays such as full-speed dashes to make catches or take an extra base, and unbridled celebrations after wins or big plays, have been Barnes' trademarks in his two seasons since arriving in a trade with the Astros.
Freeland ends AFL regular season with fourth straight win
Rockies prospect extends hot streak with five scoreless innings against Scottsdale
By William Boor
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Finishing the season strong and entering the offseason with momentum is always a goal, and it's exactly what Rockies prospect Kyle Freeland was able to accomplish.
The left-hander was dominant in his final outing of the Arizona Fall League, as he threw five shutout innings and led the Salt River Rafters to a 4-2 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions on Thursday afternoon at Salt River Fields.
DENVER -- Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson has suddenly become the second-most famous case of plantar fasciitis on the Denver sports scene. But it's a pain he doesn't wish on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Dickerson began experiencing pain in his left heel in Spring Training and endured time on the disabled list -- 23 games in May and June, 29 more in late June and July. A broken rib he sustained on July 30 was in a way fortunate, since it also allowed him to rest the heel for 37 games. He returned Sept. 8 to finish the season.
DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez believes a lighter attitude is better. The tighter the situation, the bigger his smile. Third baseman Nolan Arenado approaches the game with grinding intensity. He feels good times can turn bad, and bad times can worsen if he lets up.
The two players' personalities, however, blend. Balancing each other off the field, as well as in the lineup, they achieved powerful offensive seasons that resulted in each winning a National League Silver Slugger Award.
DENVER -- The Rockies saw too many 2015 games turn sour while the last note of "The Star-Spangled Banner" still rung in the air.
The Rockies are exploring trades and free-agent acquisitions, and are counting on young pitchers developing and injured pitchers returning at a high level. No matter who is doing the throwing, it will help to perform well from first pitch.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Freeland's first Arizona Fall League start was one he'd like to forget. He couldn't get out of the first inning against the Scottsdale Scorpions, giving up two homers and six runs while recording just two outs on Oct. 14.
Since then, however, the Rockies left-hander has been the most effective starting pitcher in the AFL. That continued Friday afternoon when Freeland, the Rockies' Rockies No. 9 prospect, pitched the Salt River Rafters to a 5-3 victory over the Surprise Saguaros. He allowed just one run and five baserunners in 5 2/3 innings, and he has gone 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA since his rough introduction to the Fall League.
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said the team's approach of exploring all avenues for improvement, with pitching topping the list, even includes a strategy the team has rarely employed -- parting with prospects in trades.
"When I say we're open to whatever, I mean it," Bridich said to reporters on a conference call Wednesday, after returning from the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "I don't think we'll ever be in a 'sell the farm' mode. I don't think that's a wise decision for us. But you have to be open minded to things that can improve your ballclub."
Rockies star adds Wilson honor to growing collection of defensive awards
By Thomas Harding
DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado claimed his second honor in as many nights on Wednesday by winning the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, which picks one player at each position, regardless of league.
The Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, given since 2012, are determined using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as the data logged by baseball experts working for the scouting service Inside Edge. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was named overall Wilson Defensive Player of the Year, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were named Wilson Defensive Team of the Year.
DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's Rawlings Gold Glove Awards are not just decorations. They tell a story.
His third in as many Major League seasons, awarded Tuesday night, represents a level of durability -- 157 games played, all but one of them as a starter at third base -- that was his goal entering the season. He became the second third baseman and fifth player overall to earn the defensive honor in each of his first three seasons.
DENVER -- The Rockies have used the MLB Draft to build a highly regarded farm system, so the picks are gold to them. But general manager Jeff Bridich said the club will consider giving up a pick if it finds the right pitcher on the free-agent market and reach a deal.
Bridich, at the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., said the Rockies, like other teams, are "still trying to figure out the free-agent reality of the free-agent market." At least for the Rockies, the penalty for signing a free agent who received and turned down a $15.8 million qualifying offer from his former club isn't as high as for other teams.
DENVER -- From the balletic bat-drops that accompany his home runs to the glove he insisted on designing to his style-conscious movements in right field, it's clear the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez likes being seen.
But he also likes to watch and observe. And if his findings are correct, he and the Rockies are in for better days. Of course, that's provided the team improves its pitching and he's not dealt to get it.
NEW YORK -- Under new voting rules established this summer by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot was released Monday on the earliest date in recent history.
Ken Griffey Jr. and his 630 homers and Trevor Hoffman and his National League-record 601 saves are the top candidates among a bevy of first-time qualifiers for the Class of 2016. Billy Wagner, who had 422 saves in 16 seasons for five teams, is another significant new name on the ballot.
MLB's Joint Domestic Violence Policy could be put to use for first time
By Thomas Harding
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested on Oct. 31 and charged with abuse of a family and/or household member, according to a Maui Police Department report released Tuesday.
Reyes and his wife, Katherine, were arguing in their Four Seasons Wailea Hotel room when, according to the report, the situation "turned physical and resulted in injuries. Mrs. Reyes was treated by medics at the scene and later transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for further treatment."
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Paulsen hopes to bulk up, carry first-base load in '16
Slugger looks to keep pounds on, seize chance after Rox decline Morneau's option
By Thomas Harding
DENVER -- Playing time wasn't all that melted away late in the 2015 season for Rockies first baseman Ben Paulsen. Paulsen himself shrunk over the course of the year.
The 6-foot-4 Paulsen reported to Spring Training at 218 pounds, knowing the activity in the desert would put him at his preferred playing weight of 210-212. But during a year that saw him receive regular starts after veteran Justin Morneau suffered a neck injury and concussion symptoms in May, Paulsen dropped to around 195 pounds.
DENVER -- After second-place finishes the past two seasons, the Rockies' Nolan Arenado has won his first Fielding Bible Award at third base, publisher ACTA Sports announced.
The Fielding Bible awards one player, regardless of league, at each position. Arenado has won the National League Rawlings Gold Glove Award each of the past two seasons and is a finalist for his third. But the past two years he finished second in the Fielding Bible Awards -- to the Orioles' Manny Machado in 2013 and the Athletics' Josh Donaldson last year.
DENVER -- The Rockies have third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is beginning his big earning years this winter as he enters arbitration eligibility, and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez as stars. They have solid players all around the diamond.
DENVER -- Adam Ottavino expects to complete rehab from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and relive what he called "the time of my life" -- closing games for the Rockies. But since May, when he underwent the surgery, he has spent a lot of time either alone or with Rockies rehab coordinator Scott Murayama.
This week, Ottavino shared that lonely time with the world through a video, "16 Weeks," posted on The Players' Tribune website. It's the best 6 minutes and 7 seconds on some of the worst five months of his baseball life.
DENVER -- Despite trading the game's best two-way shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, to the Blue Jays in July, the Rockies will enter 2016 with one of the Majors' best lineups and a solid defense.
But still, the story hasn't changed. The need for frontline starting pitching screams, and the lack of it could once again leave the Rockies possessing a top-tier offense but occupying the bottom of the National League West.
DENVER -- The Rockies declined their end of a $9 million mutual option for 2016 on first baseman Justin Morneau, which makes him a free agent after two years with the club.
Morneau, 34, joined the Rockies as a free agent and won the National League batting championship in 2014 by hitting .319, with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs. Injuries limited him to 49 games in 2015, but he finished respectably, average-wise, at .310, with three home runs and 15 RBIs.
DENVER -- Two weeks after announcing that manager Walt Weiss would return for 2016, the Rockies announced Tuesday that the entire coaching staff also will return.
Weiss is returning for his fourth season and the final year of a three-year contract, but next year will be his first without a major staff change. Under Weiss, the Rockies went 68-94 in 2015, and are 208-278 in three seasons. Last year the Rockies made a major front-office change, promoting Jeff Bridich to general manager in place of the team of Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett.
DENVER -- The Rockies lost right-handed relief pitcher Brooks Brown, who was claimed off outright waivers by the Dodgers on Wednesday. The Rockies also outrighted three other players -- including catcher Michael McKenry, who underwent left knee surgery late in the 2015 season -- to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Brown, 30, was limited to 36 appearances with a 1-3 record and 4.91 ERA because of right shoulder inflammation that kept him out of the Majors from mid-July until early September.
DENVER -- Vinny Castilla, one of the Rockies' earliest stars, was chosen Tuesday to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted during the 52nd annual banquet on April 19, 2016, at the Denver Marriott City Center.
Castilla, who played nine of his 16 seasons with the Rockies and represented the team twice in All-Star Games, will be joined by former Colorado Avalanche hockey star Milan Hejduk and former Denver Rockets/Nuggets basketball star Ralph Simpson as professional athlete inductees.