Kouzmanoff opts for free agency

Kouzmanoff opts for free agency

Kouzmanoff opts for free agency
DENVER -- Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff elected to pursue free agency after being outrighted from the Rockies' roster, the club announced on Thursday.

Kouzmanoff, 30, hit .235 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in a combined 76 games with the Athletics and Rockies in 2011. With the Rockies, Kouzmanoff, who went to high school in nearby Evergreen, Colo., hit .255 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 27 games. Kouzmanoff would have been eligible for arbitration.

The Rockies also outrighted five players who will remain with the club under Minor League contracts. Most notable among them are right-handed relief pitcher Matt Daley, who had a standout year in 2009, but has dealt with shoulder injuries since and is coming off surgery; and 2006 No. 1 Draft pick Greg Reynolds, a right-handed pitcher who has battled to stick at the Major League level, but is being viewed as a long-relief option for next season.

Also outrighted were catcher Jose Morales, who missed most of last season with a fractured right thumb and suffered a left-wrist injury during his comeback attempt; right-handed relief pitcher Jim Miller, who finished last season in the Majors; and right-hander Cory Riordan, who has not appeared in the Majors.

The moves reduce the number of players on the 40-man Major League roster to 35. But there are five players on the 60-day disabled list who aren't currently counting toward the limit.

In other developments:

• The Rockies have yet to complete the trade of left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales to the Red Sox. The team could receive cash considerations or a player to be named. The Rockies are likely to receive cash.

• The Rockies and the Grand Junction (Colo.) City Council are in negotiations that could result in the team's Rookie-level team in Casper, Wyo., moving there for next season, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported on Wednesday. The team has been in Casper since 2001.

"We met in executive session regarding the future of a [Minor League] baseball team moving to Grand Junction," Grand Junction mayor Tom Kenyon said during the council's open meeting. "We authorized the city manager to move forward with the negotiations.

"We're excited about the opportunity, and will be hearing more about it in the near future."

The paper, citing a statement from Grand Junction city manager Laurie Kadrich, said a vote will be taken at the Oct. 17 council meeting.

The Monfort Investment Group, owned by Rockies general partners Dick and Charlie Monfort, owns the Casper franchise. The paper reported that, in order to break its lease at Mike Lansing Field in Casper, the group would have to reach a settlement with the city of Casper, which owns the stadium, and the Casper American Legion baseball program, which subleases the stadium.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.