When the Rockies signed Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million -- we're being told it's to play first base, but there is speculation it could be part of a grand plan with more moves to come -- one fan comes to a sports writer for investment advice.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- It's a baseball holiday tradition. As the Winter Meetings ended Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft, the staff at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center gradually replaced baseball-themed placards with holiday decorations, and all the soft and hard sell that they entail.
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich understands the spirit.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rockies' reported deal with Ian Desmond -- the Rangers' center fielder last season -- raised a question: What are the Rockies planning to do with their center fielder, Charlie Blackmon?
Desmond, who agreed to a reported five-year, $70 million contract, is said to be switching to first base with the Rockies, but he represented the Rangers in last year's All-Star Game in center field, and he was an All-Star shortstop in 2012 during his seven seasons with the Nationals (2009-15). Desmond has been streaky throughout his career, but his .743 career OPS is solid for the positions he played.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In a Winter Meetings surprise, the Rockies on Wednesday agreed with free-agent slugger Ian Desmond to fill their first-base opening -- or make other deals possible -- for five years and $70 million, according to multiple reports. The deal, which is pending a physical, has not been confirmed by the club.
Desmond, who played center field for the Rangers last season and hit .285 with 22 home runs and 86 RBIs while making the American League All-Star team, received a qualifying offer from Texas, so Colorado will forfeit the 11th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Entering next season with aspirations of contending, the Rockies could field a starting rotation of young pitchers who have never been in the postseason and a catching tandem of a rookie and a second-year player. But they have a unique example-setter in manager Bud Black.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
CarGo, Arenado commit to playing in World Baseball Classic
By Chad Thornburg
With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.
Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Winter Meetings interview with Bud Black
Q. How much input have you had and do you expect to have during the offseason with Jeff? BUD BLACK: You know, it's been great with Jeff, even for the last -- well, since I've been hired, because he's been open about where he sees this team going. And I think from my vantage point, I think he likes the fact how I saw the team from the other side and what I do know now about the players and the group. He's asking me a lot of questions.
Again, I think I'm just part of the decision-making group. And there's some really talented guys in that room that I've come to find out, experienced guys, Bill Smith, Danny Montgomery, a bunch of guys who have been around a long time, and the younger guys who are bright and creative. So just another one of those voices that lends an opinion.
DENVER -- Lefty reliever Jake McGee, whose first season with the Rockies was hampered by a left knee injury in June and a subsequent slump, reached a one-year, $5.9 million contract with the club on Friday to avoid arbitration.
McGee, 30, went 2-3 with 15 saves in 19 chances, and he had a 4.73 ERA in 57 games. He'll return as a late-innings option for new manager Bud Black. McGee's signing was first reported in a tweet from Today's Knuckleball.
DENVER -- Even though Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado tied for the National League lead in home runs with 41 in 2016, Coors Field actually lowered his totals. Higher fencing in right-center field blocked three fly balls that would have been homers previously -- a development Arenado greeted with a smile and a shrug.
"I didn't know how many home runs I lost, but at the same time, you can get some home runs if you hit the ball in the air to left field that you don't normally get," Arenado said. "But, hey, I tied for the home-run lead. I would have had it if those balls had gone. But we need pitchers to have some success, and it's OK to help them out."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal
New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series
By Richard Justice
IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides.
At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.
DENVER -- A frustrating beginning to the 2016 season made Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles open to a new idea that just may be a ticket to a successful future. More important to Lyles, the move from the rotation to the bullpen could he a way to be a part of the team's winning future.
Lyles saw improvement in his velocity and the action of his pitches, and gradually more success, over 35 relief appearances covering 38 2/3 innings from June 22 to season's end. He was 2-3 with an 8.55 ERA in five starts, but went 3-3 with one save and a 4.42 ERA out of the bullpen after returning. Eager to see it continue, the Rockies signed Lyles on Wednesday to a one-year, $3.175 million contract to avoid arbitration.
While some current ballplayers take fire-breathing cars or horses into Spring Training, back in 1993, a 26-year-old Larry Walker threw on some old hockey gear, started up his hog and rolled into Expos camp. Look at him -- he's probably humming Steppenwolf. Just dripping in I'm-gonna-mash-me-up-some-dinger-pie-today swag:
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich acknowledged Tuesday the team has talked to free-agent closer Mark Melancon and lefty reliever Mike Dunn in an effort to improve what was the weakest part of the club in 2016.
Melancon, a Colorado native, earned 98 saves over the last two seasons with the Pirates and Nationals, while Dunn had 103 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings for the Marlins over the same period. Both are highly sought relievers -- Melancon has been linked to the Giants in recent weeks -- and pursuing them shows that the Rockies are serious about improving the Majors' worst bullpen in '16.
The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.
We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.
Mark Trumbo just hit 47 homers with a high strikeout rate and limited defensive value, and after receiving a qualifying offer from Baltimore, he's probably going to get something like $60 million this offseason while headed into his age-31 season. Chris Carter just hit 41 homers with a high strikeout rate and limited defensive value, and after Milwaukee imported Eric Thames from Korea, Carter is reportedly going to get … non-tendered and set free, heading into his age-30 season.
No one will give Carter $60 million. No one would consider it or come close. But is there really that much of a difference between these one-dimensional sluggers? And if there's not, shouldn't there be more than a few teams that would much prefer to go with Carter for a fraction of the cost and without losing a Draft pick?
Jeff Bridich, embarking on his third season as the general manager of the Rockies, admits the team is at a crossroads. Colorado is looking to become a factor in the National League West, and at the age of 39, it is a challenge he welcomes.
Bridich discussed his road to becoming a GM in this week's Q&A:
DENVER -- Back in June, play-by-play broadcaster Jack Corrigan let Rockies fans know why he's thankful. More importantly, he hasn't stopped.
Before a Father's Day game in Miami, Corrigan arranged for broadcast partner Jerry Schemmel to interview him on the Rockies Radio Network and Corrigan revealed that he was battling prostate cancer. But it was an uplifting interview because Corrigan was letting the world know his prognosis was good because he caught it early. Root Sports reporter Jenny Cavnar also brought Corrigan's diagnosis and progress to light.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Riley Pint doesn't miss the carefree days at all. Of course, those old days were just last year for Pint, 19, who the Rockies selected with fourth-overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft in June out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan.
Pint, who is ranked No. 3 among Colorado prospects, went 1-5 with a 5.35 ERA in 11 welcome-to-pro-ball starts at Rookie-level Grand Junction. The learning continued in instructional ball in October. Now, Pint is working out with older prospects and a good handful of Major Leaguers at the Rockies' complex at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitching prospect Rayan Gonzalez can stop conversations with his 96 mph cut fastball and 12-to-6 curveball.
Last week, at an Arizona Fall League game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, new Rockies manager Bud Black paused his conversation right after Gonzalez's first pitch in his relief outing for the Salt River Rafters. Zach Wilson, Colorado's senior player development director, turned to Black, nodded his head and offered a "told-you-so" grin.
DENVER -- Former Marlins manager Mike Redmond was named the Rockies' bench coach Wednesday.
Redmond, 45, is the first hire under new manager Bud Black, who was introduced Nov. 7. The Rockies kept three coaches from the staff of former manager Walt Weiss -- third-base coach Stu Cole, pitching coach Steve Foster and bullpen coach Darren Holmes.
DENVER -- Baseball fans, coaches and players have reason to look forward to social media, thanks to Jerry Weinstein, a veteran instructor in the Rockies' organization.
On Monday, Weinstein treated his more than 16,300 (and counting) Twitter followers (@JWonCATCHING) to six seconds of baseball done fundamentally right, by posting Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel's "load and go" delivery from the stretch.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Bud Black takes over as the Rockies' manager, it's a good time to examine the intangible traits that make him special.
Connections run deep
Black, 59, was a left-handed pitcher for the Royals from 1982-87 when Rockies special assistant and pitching expert Rick Mathews managed, scouted and coached in the system. When Black was with the Giants from 1991-92, Rockies Minor League hitting coordinator Duane Espy managed and coached in the system.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Arenado, Blackmon earn Silver Slugger Awards
Third baseman becomes eighth Rockies player to win multiple honors
By Thomas Harding
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado grabbed his second National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award and center fielder Charlie Blackmon won his first on Thursday night.
Arenado, 24, who won the award in 2015, became the eighth Colorado player to win multiple Silver Sluggers. The others were Vinny Castilla, Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Hampton, Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and Larry Walker.