Notes: Rockies to pick up Cook's option

Notes: Rockies to pick up Cook's option

DENVER -- The Rockies announced Wednesday that they will exercise their 2008 club option on right-hander Aaron Cook, and pay him $4.5 million.

Cook , who turns 29 on Feb. 8, was the club's starting pitcher in the first and last games of the season. He earned the Opening Day start and went 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 29 starts before suffering a left oblique strain that cost him the rest of the regular season and the first two playoff rounds.

Cook returned for Game 4 of the World Series and held the Red Sox to three runs in six innings -- by far the Rockies' best starting performance of the Fall Classic. But the Rockies fell, 4-3, as the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep.

In other actions, the club announced that the entire coaching staff under manager Clint Hurdle will return for 2008, and they made official the decision to decline the mutual 2008 option on right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins and pay him a $250,000 buyout, rather than a $3.75 million salary. However, the Rockies and Hawkins are expected to attempt to negotiate a new contract.

Hurdle signed a two-year extension on Opening Day that will keep him with the club through 2009. And after winning the National League with a team that set an all-time record for fielding percentage (.9893), led the league in hitting (.280 batting average) and set a club record for ERA (4.32), Hurdle is retaining all of his coaches.

The coaches are Bob Apodaca (pitching), Alan Cockrell (hitting), Mike Gallego (third base), Glenallen Hill (first base), Rick Matthews (bullpen) and Jamie Quirk (bench).

Hawkins went 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA over 62 relief appearances, and has appeared in 60 or more games for eight straight seasons. After returning from a strained forearm early in the season, Hawkins went 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in his final 53 games.

Left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt, right-handed reliever Jorge Julio, right-handed starter/reliever Elmer Dessens, right-handed starter Rodrigo Lopez and catcher Yorvit Torrealba have filed for free agency. Second baseman Kazuo Matsui is eligible to file.

Lopez suffered elbow ligament and tendon damage in late July and may miss 12 months. Although he is a free agent, the Rockies are monitoring his rehab program and are open to re-signing him when he's healthy.

Awards time: Hurdle was chosen NL Manager of the Year and left fielder Matt Holliday was chosen NL Most Valuable Player in the 2007 Internet Baseball Awards, presented by Baseball Prospectus -- respected for its research and content in its New York Times best-selling annual, "Baseball Prospectus" and its Web site.

A press release from Baseball Prospectus said Hurdle, who engineered a 14-game improvement over 2006, narrowly took the honor over the Diamondbacks' Bob Melvin and the Nationals' Manny Acta.

Holliday, who batted .340 with a .405 on-base percentage and a .607 slugging percentage, topped the Mets' David Wright and the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins for his honor.

The awards keep coming: ACTA Sports announced that the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki has won a Fielding Bible Award at shortstop.

It's the second year of the awards from the group, which has put forth extensive and original research on fielding the past several seasons. Tulowitzki is the only rookie to receive a Fielding Bible Award this year.

The awards are based on voting by a panel of experts. Other ways in which they differ from the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, which are chosen by managers and coaches, are that they aren't separated by league and they're chosen at nine distinct positions (rather than outfielders grouped together.

Complete voting details and the panel of experts are published in the "Bill James Baseball handbook 2008," which is available now.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.