Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
By Matt Snyder
Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.
Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central
New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door
I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.
Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation
Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.
Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias
After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?
Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health
Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.
Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider
We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.
No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek
This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff
So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.
Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.
We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.
I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.
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Tags: AL East, Alex Rodriguez, Alfredo Simon, Andruw Jones, Blue Jays, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Carl Crawford, Chris Tillman, Cody Ross, Colby Rasmus, Dana Eveland, Darren O'Day, Derek Jeter, Dustin McGowan, Eric Thames, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann, Jim Johnson, Johnny Damon, Jose Iglesias, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Drabek, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Moore, Matt Snyder, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Orioles, Pedro Strop, Rajai Davis, Rays, Red Sox, Russell Branyan, Ryan Sweeney, spring position battles, Tommy Hunter, Travis Snider, Troy Patton, Tsuyoshi Wada, Wade Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Yankees, Zach Britton
Posted on: February 6, 2012 9:58 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:09 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Orioles have traded starter Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom, according to CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.
Hammel, 28, was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA for the Rockies last season, while Lindstrom appeared in 63 games for Colorado, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and two saves. The 31-year-old right-hander struck out 36 batters in 54 innings. Hamel is in the second year of a two-year, $7.75 million deal and has another year of arbitration for 2013 before becoming a free agent. Lindstrom is in the second year of his deal that will pay him $3.6 million this year with a team option for $4 million next season.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:43 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
No team has had as much success drafting and developing its players like the Tampa Bay Rays. The one-time laughingstock of MLB is a model franchise to even the biggest spenders. The Rays have had big name leave, but keep replacing them with younger, seemingly better players. A year ago, the Rays lost Carl Crawford because they could no longer afford him. By the end of the season, Crawford and the Red Sox were sitting at home while the Rays were in the playoffs -- again. The reason is because they grown enough crops on the farm to have a successful harvest nearly every fall.
1. Carl Crawford, LF
2. Desmond Jennings, RF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Josh Hamilton, DH
5. B.J. Upton, CF
6. Aubrey Huff, 1B
7. Reid Brignac, 2B
8. John Jaso, C
9. Elliot Johnson, SS
1. David Price
2. James Shields
3. Jeremy Hellickson
4. Wade Davis
5. Jeff Niemann
Closer - Dan Wheeler
Set up - Matt Moore, Andy Sonnanstine, Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, Jason Hammel, Jose Veras
Notable Bench Players
The Rays have a couple of decent bats off the bench in Delmon Young, Matt Diaz, Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu.
Crawford and Hamilton to go along with Longoria, Upton and Jennings? That helps, that's for sure. The rotation is exactly the same -- and that's a good thing. You've also got Moore sitting there. The starters are an embarrassment of riches. It's one of the main reasons the Rays can still compete in the AL East with a smaller payroll.
The bottom half of the lineup isn't great -- especially with Johnson at short. But there's enough help at the top of the lineup to make up for the bottom. The bench isn't deep defensively, but it's the American League so you don't need quite as much as you do in the National League. The bullpen isn't full of experienced relievers, but there are some quality arms that can switch from starting to relieving.
Comparison to real 2011
The same pitching staff plus Crawford and Hamilton make up for losing some of its Frankenstein bullpen and Johnny Damon. I put Hamilton at DH to try to save some wear and tear on his body, he can still play in the field every once in a while and give Jennings a day off and have someone like Young DH. Or Young can play in the outfield. The bullpen might be the most interesting question, but I think the offense and the starting pitching are enough to improve, if slightly, on the team's 91-71 finish.
Next: Philadelphia Phillies
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL East, Alex Cobe, Andy Sonnanstine, Aubrey Huff, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Dan Wheeler, David Price, Delmon Young, Desmond Jennings, Elliot Johnson, Evan Longoria, Homegrown, Jake McGee, James Shields, Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, John Jaso, Johnny Damon, Jonny Gomes, Jorge Cantu, Jose Veras, Josh Hamilton, Matt Diaz, Matt Moore, Rays, Reid Brignac, Wade Davis
Posted on: August 20, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 10:05 pm
By Evan Brunell
Jason Hammel has been dropped from Colorado's starting rotation in lieu of Alex White, the team announced Saturday.
Hammel's demotion is unsurprising, as the 28-year-old's wheels have fallen off over the last three months. After two successful seasons with the Rockies after coming over from the Rays and lining up 2011 as another solid year, Hammel has instead thrown up a 7.24 ERA over his last 12 starts. He's shown no signs of turning it around either, with a 9.24 ERA over his last four starts, including a three-inning stinker against the Dodgers on Friday when Hammel coughed up six runs.
Alex White, who was acquired from the Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade in the midst of rehabbing from an injury, will make his Rockies debut by sliding into Hammel's spot on Tuesday, with Hammel headed to the bullpen.
"I worked tirelessly to figure this out," Hammel said after Friday's start to the Associated Press. "Obviously, I'm not fulfilling expectations right now. It's very disappointing to me and of course, the whole organization, too. Point the finger at me for holding this organization back right now. If we want to get going in the right direction, I need to figure it out."
Hammel, who signed a two-year, $7.75 million deal prior to the season, is in danger of losing a spot with Colorado entirely, as Troy Renck of the Denver Post says the team will look to trade the righty after the season.
White made three starts for the Indians earlier this season, tallying up 15 innings and six earned runs. In eight total starts on the farm, four apiece for Cleveland's Triple-A club and Colorado's Double-A club on rehab, White showed he's ready for the bigs with a sterling 1.80 ERA in 40 innings, striking out 38 and walking six.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 5:48 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With eight of the day's 12 games starting before a regular 7 p.m. start time, there's not the full compliment of on-deck choices, but luckily the night games feature three pretty good pitching matchups… and the Rangers and Mariners.
Stopper needed -- The Brewers have lost five in a row, including two yesterday in Atlanta, and are now four games under .500 at 13-17. Luckily for them, Shaun Marcum is on the mound. Marcum was the last Brewers pitcher to earn a victory, last Friday at Houston. Marcum is 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA and faced Brandon Beachy (1-1, 3.47 ERA). Brewers at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET
If it weren't for bad luck… -- Nationals starter John Lannan has a 3.93 ERA in his three losses, and actually has a better WHIP in his losses (1.364) than in his two wins (1.600). In his last game, he allowed just six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, but walked in a run in the seventh, losing the game 2-1 to the Giants. And tonight he faces Roy Halladay. Nationals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
Daddy done good -- Since his wife gave birth, the Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy has allowed just three runs and nine hits in 16 2/3 innings, limiting batters to a .148 batting average and striking out 16. He's facing Colorado's Jason Hammel, who is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA. Rockies at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 25, 2011 10:01 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With no games to play, sometimes some stories get a little too overexposed. From the Cliff Lee sweepstakes to Chase Utley's day-to-day health and the Jon Daniels-Michael Young feud, we're all pretty much tired of them by now.
The story won't be closed until Young is no longer in a Rangers uniform, then he'll have a press conference, have his say and it'll all be over. For now, he's still a Ranger and back on speaking terms with his general manager. The two met Wednesday and Thursday, and Young said neither minced words.
"I laid out in detail what I was feeling, what my concerns were and gave him the opportunity to do the same," Young told the media on Thursday, including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Anytime you're going to sit down with somebody where there's a problem or an issue and air things out face-to-face, it's always productive."
Young would not say if he still wants to be traded, but Daniels said it's "unlikely" to happen before the season begins -- and Young understands that.
"It created a situation where fans, media and other people in the organization were almost taking sides," Daniels said (again, from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram). "It should have never been that way. We both want the same thing, for the Rangers to win. Through that process, I think Michael took a lot of shots from the media and fan base that from my persecutive weren't necessary."
That last statement is interesting to me -- it's Daniels standing up for Young. He may have thought or said in private some of the same things the fans or media have said, but he's not going to do that in public. It's a wise move, one that Young -- no matter what he's said in the past -- has to at least see as a move in the right direction.
Maybe Young plays out his days as a Ranger, maybe he doesn't. But either way, hopefully we can end this chapter.
READ THIS TODAY -- The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger writes a great column on former Royal Willie Mays Aikens and his faith. Aikens is dealing with family tragedy even after everything in his life was looking up. After 14 years in jail, Aikens had been hired by the Royals this offseason. I'll let Mellinger tell the rest of the story.
BLAME THE MESSENGER -- Well, once someone says something interesting, we all know they'll come back and claim it's "taken out of context." That's what Buck Showalter did on Thursday, backing away from his comments in the April issue of Men's Journal about the Yankees and Red Sox. [Boston Globe]
GALARRAGA TO BULLPEN -- The Diamondbacks are expected to move Armando Galarraga to the bullpen, with Aaron Heilman taking the fifth spot in the team's rotation. Galarraga has an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings this spring. Galarraga said he still wants to be a starter. [Arizona Republic]
NATS PICK FIFTH STARTER -- Tom Gorzelanny will fill out the Nationals' rotation, manager Jim Riggleman said on Thursday. Livan Hernandez will open the season for the Nationals, followed by Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Jason Marquis. [MASNSports.com]
LAWRIE SENT DOWN -- After saying he was done with the minor leagues this offseason, Brett Lawrie discovered he's not the one in charge of that decision. The 21-year-old third baseman said he was disappointed, but understood his demotion. The Blue Jays acquired Lawrie this offseason by sending Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee in exchange for the former first-rounder. [MLB.com]
ORDONEZ READY -- Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez said he'll be ready for opening day. Ordonez returned to action for the first time since last week on Thursday night. Ordonez went 1 for 4 on Thursday with a double. [MLB.com]
BELTRAN IMPROVING -- Carlos Beltran reported no pain in his knees after a workout on Thursday and Mets manager Terry Collins was so impressed with the way he looked that he wouldn't count out Beltran for opening day. [New York Times]
MORALES IMPROVING -- Orthotic inserts have helped ease the soreness in the left foot of Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales. Morales still won't be available for opening day, but he has gotten the OK by the team's trainers to start "baseball activities." [MLB.com]
DAVIS DRAWING INTEREST -- Doug Davis, the 35-year-old left-hander, threw for as many as eight teams in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday. Davis made just eight starts last season for the Brewers due to a heart problem and elbow surgery. Among the eight teams to watch him were the Rangers, Rockies, Orioles, Mets and Angels. [MLB.com]
WORK OF ART -- Pedro Martinez will be on hand at the Smithsonian on Friday for the unveiling of his portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. A painting of Martine done by Susan Miller-Havens has been donated to the gallery by MLB.com's Peter Gammons and his wife. [Smithsonian]
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER -- The man the late Buck O'Neil handpicked to run the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City following the legend's death, is finally getting the job. Bob Kendrick was passed over as the head of the museum two years ago and on the brink of collapse, Kendrick has been tabbed to takeover.
FAN-DESIGNED UNIFORM -- I didn't know until yesterday that the White Sox uniforms of the the 80s were the product of a contest run by the team to design a new uniform. Richard Launius, then of Dayton, Ohio, designed the White Sox's pullover Sox uniforms with numbers on the pants. [ESPN.com]
FOOD NETWORK INVADES YOUR PARK -- The Food Network is offering steak sandwiches at eight ballparks this summer. If you're in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Diego, St. Louis or Texas, you can go visit Paula Deen working her cart at your park. What, you don't think she's going to be there? Maybe Morimoto? We can hope. [Sportsandfood.com]
Tags: Aaron Heilman, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Angels, Armando Galarraga, Blue Jays, Brett Lawrie, Buck Showalter, Carlos Beltran, Diamondbacks, Doug Davis, Esmil Rogers, Jason Hammel, Jason Marquis, Jhoulys Chacin, Jim Riggleman, John Lannan, Jon Daniels, Jordan Zimmermann, Jorege De La Rosa, Kendrys Morales, Livan Hernandez, Magglio Ordonez, Mets, Michael Young, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, NL West, Orioles, Rangers, Rockies, Royals, Shaun Marcum, Tigers, Tom Gorzelanny, Ubaldo Jimenez, White Sox, Willie Mays Aikens
Posted on: February 27, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 12:13 pm
By Evan Brunell
HATE IS A STRONG WORD: How quickly Jayson Werth forgets.
Werth, in his new role with the Nationals as a $126-million man will be to bring an edge to the club, something club officials felt was lacking. In fact, prior to Werth's arrival, Ian Desmond was considered as the closest to a vocal leader as the team had. Oh, and Desmond was a rookie. But now, Werth will be looked at to assume the mantle and give the Nats a harder edge as they march toward respectability.
No mention of Werth would be complete without acknowledging the stupidity of the outrageous contract handed Werth. But while that contract will come back to burn the Nats one day, at least for the next three to four years, Washington will love his middle-of-the-order bat along with his leadership. (Washington Post)
STICK A NEEDLE IN ME: Jason Hammel has turned to alternative medicine to manage his high cholesterol. A hereditary condition, high cholesterol was responsible for his father's death via heart attack at age 47, and the Rockies pitcher has no interest in following in his father's footsteps in regards to a demise. However, Hammel's treatment via Chestor caused side effects of soreness, which Hammel believes was responsible for his poor finish to the season. Now, he's turned to acupuncture and herbal treatments. (MLB.com)
LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Don Mattingly enters his first season as a major league manager, but has already learned some important lessons. Namely, walking off the mound after a coaching visit and then turning around to answer a question counts as two trips to the mound. That gaffe, put on display last season, is not one Mattingly plans to make again. (San Jose Mercury News)
NEW-LOOK Rangers: It's early yet, but manager Ron Washington has already settled on his lineup. Ian Kinsler will lead off, followed by Elvis Andrus. It's a rather curious move, as Kinsler is more power-oriented while Andrus gets on at a good clip and steals bases. Michael Young will bat sixth to try to increase his RBI opportunities. That leads one to wonder: a baseball move, or an appease-Young move? (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
KROONING FOR 200: Marc Kroon is back stateside. The former longtime minor league reliever found success in Japan and nailed down 177 saves in a six-year span. However, Kroon found offers lacking this past season and thus has returned stateside, joining San Francisco in an attempt to make the bullpen. Some believe Kroon is being blackballed by Japan so he will not receive 200 saves, an important landmark in Japanese baseball. Given the league's treatment of foreigners when chasing Japanese baseball records, that comes as no surprise. Kroon still harbors hope he can go back. (San Francisco Chronicle)
ONE STEP AT A TIME: Matt Bush was out of baseball from 2008-09 and was a former failed first-round pick of the Padres with behavioral issues. Now, the ex-shortstop has turned heads since becoming a pitcher and has rocketed up the Rays' depth chart. Bush is still a ways away, but this is one potential feel-good story worth monitoring. (Tampa Tribune)
BOSTON'S WHERE THE STATS ARE AT: The statistical revolution isn't just flooding baseball, it's flooding sports in general. And Boston is where it's all happening, as many consider it the "Silicon Valley of sports analytics." A sports analytics conference is taking place in Boston this upcoming weekend, and the Boston Globe takes a look at how analytics have influenced sports growing out of Boston. (Boston Globe)
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT BASEBALL: Rays skipper Joe Maddon has a lot on his plate this spring, trying to assemble a new-look Rays team to compete in the AL East. At the same time, he's attempting to make Hispanics welcomed in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. Residents are resisting the Hispanic influx, which Maddon fears could be the demise of a city with residents long in the tooth. (St. Petersburg Times)
ON SECOND THOUGHT, IT'S JUST BASEBALL: A nice interview with Bill James, who helped usher in the statistical revolution in baseball. There's likely no sports analytics conference in Boston without this talent, but while baseball may constantly be on James' mind, he likes other stuff too. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 4:50 pm
Jason Hammel will be a Rockie for at least two more years after agreeing to a contract that locks down two years of arbitration eligibility. Terms are unknown, but Hammel made $1.9 million in 2010 and requested $3.7 million in arbitration. Colorado had countered with $3.1 million, so expect the total value of the deal to fall around 8-9 million.
Jettisoned from Tampa Bay after losing a rotation spot in the spring training crunch of 2009, Hammel has emerged as a steady hand in the rotation. He has made 30 starts each of the last two seasons and has an overall ERA of 4.57. Hammel also ripped off a 28 1/3-inning scoreless streak in June.
"I'm very appreciative of the opportunity that the Rockies gave me," Hammel told MLB.com. "When I came over from Tampa, I didn't know where my career was going because I had been in the bullpen and been a starter. I came here and they immediately threw me into the fire as a starter.
"Knowing I'm going to be here for two years and that they've shown faith in me is big. I feel like the best is yet to come."
Hammel isn't exactly someone you pay attention to as a pitcher, but there's something very valuable in being able to slot someone in the No. 4 spot in the rotation with confidence and know he will keep you in the game. That's not as common as many might expect in the game.
UPDATE: Troy Renck of the Denver Post has the first year salary at $3 million and second year at $4.75 million. He will still have one year of arbitration left after the contract expires due to qualifying as a Super Two player last season.
-- Evan Brunell