DENVER -- The Rockies made the expected move Friday by exercising their $2.25 million option for 2015 for right-handed closer LaTroy Hawkins, who reached his 1,000th career appearance this past season and continued to pitch effectively.
DENVER -- It's been a busy time for new Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich, who is still building his front office. But the task people care about most is building the 2015 roster. Here is a look at the decisions facing the new Rox regime.
DENVER -- The start of free agency leaves the Rockies with a decision regarding offensively productive first baseman/outfielder Michael Cuddyer.
As free agency began with the conclusion of the World Series this week, Cuddyer certainly didn't have a prediction to his future, which almost certainly will involve a nice payday. Free agents may sign with other clubs starting Monday at 10:01 p.m. MT.
DENVER -- Fans have a chance to make Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau's 2014 comeback performance, outfielder Corey Dickerson's impressive offensive year and Nolan Arenado's defensive work even more special by helping them earn MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards.
By winning the National League batting title and earning a Rawlings Gold Glove Award nomination, Morneau was deemed worthy to be nominated the Bounceback Player, Dickerson is up for the Breakout Hitter award and Arenado is chasing the Defensive Player award as part of this year's GIBBY Awards.
DENVER -- The Rockies and right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino would rather not have gone through a disappointing performance in June. But the way Ottavino bounced back could be valuable information for his future.
Ottavino, who has grown into a dependable bullpen member since being claimed off waivers from the Cardinals at the start of the 2012 season, endured an out-of-character June -- 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA and a .446 batting average against in 11 2/3 innings over 13 outings. But Ottavino posted a 2.22 ERA and a .231 average against after July 1. Remove June from his season, and he had a 2.05 ERA and .220 batting average against in 62 games covering 52 2/3 innings.
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Christian Bergman's nowhere-to-the-cusp-of-somewhere story keeps getting better, even if he believes it's dangerous to enjoy it too much.
A 24th-round pick in 2010 and Spring Training afterthought this year, Bergman pitched his way to the Majors in 2014, and his good fortune continues in the Arizona Fall League, which on Monday named him as a member of the East Division squad for Sunday evening's Fall Stars Game (6:08 p.m. MT on MLB.com and MLB Network).
Days before the season ended, Rockies manager Walt Weiss thought back to those hopeful days of Spring Training, April and May. Back then, phrases like "if all goes right" and "barring injury" had not been rendered meaningless by misfortune and pain. With the season now over, Weiss is happy those caveats have meaning for 2015.
Yes, there are personnel areas that need to be improved for the Rockies' dreams of being a contender to come true. But soon, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will go from names on the disabled list to flesh-and-blood -- and, yes, rehabbing -- stars. They may be subject to trade rumors, but more likely they'll be around in 2015.
Professional athletes know better than to rest on their laurels if they care about sustaining strong performances. Anyone who excels at the highest level can never be fully satisfied.
Rockies infield prospect Trevor Story understands this. At the same time, the Rockies' No. 11 prospect can't help but feel good about spending half the 2014 season in Double-A at age 21.
DENVER -- A Rockies franchise known for its bats has had a nice tradition with the glove. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, second baseman DJ LeMahieu and first baseman Justin Morneau could add to the growing reputation.
Arenado, LeMahieu and Morneau were named Thursday as finalists for the National League Rawlings Gold Glove Award at their respective positions. Last year, Arenado and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez won the awards. Since 2010 (their last winning season) the Rockies have carried home six.
DENVER -- The Rockies' on-the-field changes began Thursday, when the team announced that it has parted ways with pitching coach Jim Wright and assistant pitching coach Bo McLaughlin.
The moves came after a season in which the Rockies went 66-96 and finished last in the Majors in several categories -- ERA (4.84), WHIP (1.44) and save conversions (24 for 49). Their .276 batting average against was the Majors' second-highest.
DENVER -- Rockies catcher Michael McKenry knows better than to believe his solid 2014 season automatically means bigger and better in 2015.
McKenry underwent left knee meniscus surgery in July 2013 with the Pirates, and he began this season at Triple-A Colorado Springs while completing his recovery. When ready, he hit a career-best .315 in 57 games, including 45 starts. But he remembers the last time he had a similarly encouraging performance.
SCOTTSDALE -- Just when it looked like the Salt River Rafters were on the verge of dropping a second straight game to the Glendale Desert Dogs, the bats came alive and pulled out the victory. The Rafters, who had been shut down for the bulk of the evening, scored five runs in the eighth inning on their way to a 5-1 win Thursday night at Salt River Fields.
Thursday night's matchup was also the second game to feature the 20-second pitch clock, which Major League Baseball's Pace of Game Committee is testing -- along with other time-saving measures -- in the Arizona Fall League. The game lasted two hours and 28 minutes, making the average of "pitch-clock games" a swift two hours and 21 minutes.
DENVER -- Rockies left-handed reliever Rex Brothers' control deserted him -- in the form of three walks and a wild pitch -- during the ugly eighth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Padres at Petco Park on April 14. But the aftermath was even more damaging.
"Did I necessarily leave it alone and move on?" Brothers said. "No, I didn't. That one stuck with me longer than it should have. You look up and you've had a three-week or a month bad stretch instead of a day or two bad stretch. You have to truly get it behind you and move on."
DENVER -- Here are some items to watch in the early days of Jeff Bridich's time as the Rockies' general manager, based on conversations with various sources familiar with the situation:
DENVER -- Former Rockies star first baseman Todd Helton watched as analysts at this year's American League Championship Series postgame show raved about how they'd never seen a postseason run from an off-the-radar team like the Royals.
Uh, Helton and the 2007 Rockies lived it.
As the Giants bid to win their third World Series title since 2010, most of the other members of the National League West have been busy restructuring in attempt to find the mix that might bring them the kind of consistent success San Francisco has gained with its stable and tenured management structure.
While Giants general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy both stand as the longest-tenured National League employees in their respective roles, three other NL West members -- the D-backs, Padres and Rockies -- have all recently hired either a new GM or manager.
DENVER -- The move of the Rockies' lanky, switch-hitting prospect Rosell Herrera from the infield to center field switched into high gear during the Rockies' recent fall instructional program, and manager Walt Weiss likes the early results.
Weiss spent several days at the Rockies' training center in Scottsdale, Ariz. He also left impressed with the top pick this year, left-handed starting pitcher Kyle Freeland, and a quartet of hitters who helped lift Asheville to the Class A South Atlantic League championship -- David Dahl, Correlle Prime, Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon.
DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon recalls joining a group of Minor Leaguers on a lazy extended Spring Training day. Well, the day wasn't lazy as much as the players were -- until then-senior player-development director Jeff Bridich stepped among the guys in uniform.
Since graduating from Harvard University in 2000, Bridich built a career in professional baseball -- first in the office of the Commissioner of Baseball and since 2004 with the Rockies analyzing statistics, crunching payroll numbers and coming up with instruction. But a part of Bridich -- who was named Wednesday to replace Dan O'Dowd as the Rockies' general manager -- never stopped being the gritty catcher and outfielder who earned the honor of being a tri-captain his senior year.
DENVER -- Dan O'Dowd knew it was time to move on.
Every job as a life expectancy. His tenure as the general manager of the Colorado Rockies had reached the end.
Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less
DENVER -- Former Rockies Minor League outfielder Chandler Laurent was killed Wednesday night when a car he was driving collided into the back of an 18-wheeler that had slowed in traffic on Interstate 12 near Covington, La., the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper reported Thursday, citing a Louisiana State Police report.
Laurent, who was to have turned 27 on Oct. 17, was a Rockies 21st-round pick out of Delgado Community College in New Orleans in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He played in the Rockies' system through 2012, splitting that season between Class A teams Asheville and Modesto. Laurent appeared in four games last season with Sioux Falls of the independent American Association. In five total Minor League seasons, Laurent appeared in 273 games and batted .255 with 31 home runs and 143 RBIs.
DENVER -- Deciding to be careful with upper back and shoulder pain that showed up during his final 2014 start, Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler pulled out of his planned Arizona Fall League assignment after meeting with the club's training staff.
Butler, the No. 2 prospect in the Rockies' system, arrived in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday, set to pitch for the Salt River Rafters in an effort to regain pitching mechanics that had gone awry. But after a long year that included a stint on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain and the pain at the end of the year, the plan was changed to a rest and rehab regimen at the Rockies' training center, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
DENVER -- Jeff Bridich, who has spent 10 seasons in the Rockies' front office, was promoted to general manager on Wednesday. Dan O'Dowd, the general manager since 1999 who in addition became chief baseball officer during the 2012 season, and Bill Geivett, who has been with the club since 2000 and became senior vice president of Major League operations in 2012, resigned.
"We are very fortunate to have an extremely bright, energetic and talented group of individuals currently within our own organization that are ready and eager to utilize their skills and experience," Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort said. "I know Jeff is anxious to begin working on the goal of putting a championship team on the field that the Rockies staff, our fans and our region deserve."
Two of baseball's top hitters and one of its brightest young stars have been added to the roster of Major Leaguers that will represent Major League Baseball in the Japan All-Star Series in November.
The league announced on Tuesday that American League batting champion Jose Altuve, National League batting champion Justin Morneau and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper were added to the roster, which already includes Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols.
Over its 23-year history, the Arizona Fall League has developed a reputation as a finishing school for baseball's top prospects. This year, once again, many of the game's best young players will gather in the desert, hoping to prove themselves in the same league that helped catapult Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Trout to stardom.
When the AFL opens play Tuesday, the concentration of talent will again be readily apparent. Two of the three Opening Day games feature premium pitching matchups, and the third game is highlighted by two of the best shortstops in the Minor Leagues.
The number of injuries, and the strangeness of some of them, are well-documented factors in a Rockies season that started promising, but descended into a fourth straight below-.500 season. But manager Walt Weiss realizes that much losing turns reasons into excuses in the eyes of fans.
"We've got to earn the benefit of the doubt around here," Weiss said. "The last couple years, finishing in last place, you don't get the benefit of the doubt. We've had a lot of injuries, obviously, but we tried not to focus too much on that."
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau began this year in a big-hitting lineup but ended it without his heavy-hitting friends. Still, he won his first National League batting title.
Morneau grounded out as a pinch-hitter in his only at-bat Sunday to finish with a .319 batting average. It is the ninth batting title in club history, by the seventh different player, and the Rockies' third in the last five years.
LOS ANGELES -- Four batters into the bottom of the first inning, Matt Kemp launched a two-run homer into the left-field stands at Dodger Stadium. For one final time in 2014 -- and too many times, frankly -- the Rockies were merely guests at someone else's party.
The National League West champion Dodgers slammed the Rockies, 10-5, to complete a season-ending three-game sweep. Although the Rockies avoided last place in the NL West after consecutive basement finishes, their 66-96 record is second worst in the club's 22-season history. Their 21-60 road mark was a franchise low, as were the 255 road runs.
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander LaTroy Hawkins has achieved a dependability that makes calling upon him routine. But Hawkins has fulfilled his routine so long and so well that the latest outing was a special occasion.
By retiring the only batter he faced on Saturday night's 6-5, 12-inning loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Hawkins became the 16th pitcher in Major League history to appear in his 1,000th game. He is two games out of 15th place, held by Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.
LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies nearly made a milestone night for relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins one to savor, but fellow reliever Franklin Morales' wildness in the 12th inning made it another loss -- 6-5 to the Dodgers in 11 innings.
After Hawkins forced a Darwin Barney fly ball to end the eighth and became the 16th pitcher in history to make 1,000 appearances, pinch-hitter Ben Paulsen tied the game with a first-pitch homer off Paco Rodriguez -- Paulsen's fourth homer of the season and second in as many nights -- to lead off the top of the ninth.