12/07/08 9:00 PM EST
Rox ready to get ball rolling at Meetings
General manager O'Dowd looking for lefty help in bullpen
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Left-handed relief pitching tops general manager Dan O'Dowd's shopping list. There's a good chance the club will re-sign Glendon Rusch for a long-relief and spot-starter role, but the Rockies also want to sign a late-innings lefty.
The Rockies also figure to be prominent in trade rumors, and possibly action.
However, odds have shifted toward them holding onto their biggest possible trade chip, third baseman Garrett Atkins. Last season, Atkins, a right-handed hitter who drives in runs, shifted to first base when veteran Todd Helton suffered a serious back injury in July. Helton underwent surgery after the season, but his health is a question. The need to have a proven bat in the lineup, and the need for protection in case Helton's health isn't pristine, seem at this point to outweigh the possibility that Atkins could be used to deal for a front-of-the rotation pitcher.
The biggest carrot the Rockies could dangle is their newest. The Rockies acquired right-handed reliever and onetime Athletics closer Huston Street as part of the Holliday deal. But the presence of Manuel Corpas puts the Rockies in position to look for a deal. Several reports listed the Mets as a possibility, with righty reliever Aaron Heilman going to Toronto in a three-team swap.
The Rocky Mountain News late last week identified Twins right-handed-hitting outfielder Delmon Young as a possibility, since, the paper said, the Twins have inquired about Street.
The Rockies also have two former regulars, catcher Yorvit Torrealba and center fielder Willy Taveras, who could be dealt, since homegrown catcher Chris Iannetta is coming off a strong offensive season and the Rockies believe Ryan Spilborghs is ready for regular outfield duty.
The Nationals have been identified as wanting Taveras, but interest in making a trade is debatable. A report in the Denver Post on Sunday night mentioned that the Nationals have interest, but one source denied this report to MLB.com and several sources said other teams could be waiting until Friday's deadline to tender offers to arbitration-eligible players. Taveras made $1.975 million last season and that would rise through arbitration, so clubs may wait to see if the Rockies non-tender him, then attempt to sign him at a lower figure.
The Marlins had interest in Torrealba at last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but MLB.com learned on Sunday night that the Marlins are not looking to work out a deal for him at this point.
In other action at the Winter Meetings:
Monday -- Results of pre-1943 and post-1942 Hall of Fame Veterans' Committee ballots will be announced at 11 a.m. MT.
Tuesday -- The winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will be announced.
Wednesday -- The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) Spink Award winner, also presented by the Hall of Fame, will be announced at 10 a.m. MT. This year's finalists are Bob Elliott (Ottawa Citizen), Nick Peters (Sacramento Bee) and Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune). Also, an announcement regarding the World Baseball Classic is expected.
Thursday -- The final official act of the meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, in which teams have the opportunity to select undervalued talent from other teams' organizations and give them immediate shots at making it in the Majors.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.