Tag:Aaron Cook
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Cook to receive one final start with Rockies

CookBy Evan Brunell

Aaron Cook will receive one last start for the Rockies at some point in September, the Denver Post writes. Until his next start is determined, which could be during the final homestand of the year, Cook will pitch in long relief.

Inning limits aren't why Cook's season is ending -- rather, the team wants to get a look at its younger pitchers. Drew Pomeranz has assumed Cook's turn in the rotation after recovering from emergency surgery for appendectomy after being dealt earlier in the season from Cleveland as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez package. Pomeranz will be debuting Sunday.

"It's never easy," Cook said of the news. "I told them I will take the ball whenever they need me to pitch. I am going to show up, work hard and keep my mouth shut."

The 32-year-old is the franchise leader in victories with 72 and enjoyed a nice run of success from 2004-09, including bouncing back from blood clots in his lungs in 2004. But over the last two years, Cook's ERA has been north of 5.00. He started the year sidelined with shoulder issues, as well as breaking his finger in spring training. Since debuting on June 8, the righty has made 16 starts with a 5.74 ERA. He's allowed eight homers and 35 walks in 91 innings, whiffing 38. Cook's game was never about stuff, as his bread and butter has been inducing groundballs. However, more balls have fallen into play this year than they should have, leading to his 5.74 ERA while xFIP suggests Cook deserves a 4.53 mark. Better, but still not great.

The Rockies certainly won't exercise Cook's $11-million option, leaving him as a free agent for the first time in his career. Despite his setbacks, Cook intends to keep pitching, even if it's not in Colorado.

"It would be nice to get another one here," Cook said of earning another start. "But it won't be my final one at Coors Field. I will be back. I am not retiring," Cook said. "I am healthy. I know I can still pitch in this league and help someone."

Cook should latch on with a job somewhere -- but given his pedigree to date, he may have to wait until deep into the offseason. Pitchers who can fill the back of a rotation are not in high demand, although Cook does offer potential of throwing 200 innings and serving as a third starter, which should boost his market -- plus the prospect of improving outside of Colorado's mile-high thin air.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:50 am
 

Rockies need 'Herschel Walker' deal for Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems Ubaldo Jimenez is this season's hot name that could go nowhere.

Last week it was the Reds who popped up as a possible landing spot for Jimenez, but now it seems more are involved. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees about Jimenez. Heyman said later on MLB Network that 12 teams have contacted the Rockies about JImenez, adding the Red Sox and Rays as possible bidders. Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies as teams with interest in Jimenez.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Jimenez -- he's one of the top talents in the game, even if he's not putting up the dominant numbers he did a year ago when he was 15-1 with a  2.20 ERA in the first half. This season he's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but most of his struggles have been at Coors Field, where his ERA more than three-and-a-half runs higher than it is on the road -- .5.89 at home and 2.28 on the road. His strikeout rate (8.1 per nine innings) is down slightly (8.7 last season), but so are his walks (3.5 walks per nine innings in 2011 and 3.7 in 2010).

And it's not just Jimenez's presence on the mound that makes him attractive, he's a relative bargain, signed through next season and he makes just $4.2 million in 2012 and has team options for both 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), but the 2014 option is voided if he's traded. Evan at $8 million, Jimenez is a bargain -- for comparison, Colorado's Aaron Cook is making $9.25 million this season and enters today's start with an 0-4 record and 5.82 ERA. Another team won't benefit from the 2014 option, but any team trading for him would get Jimenez for the next two seasons for less than $10 million.

As a comparison, perhaps one of the other top names on the trade market is Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is in the first year of a three-year, $34 million contract.

Jesus MonteroThe Rockies have spent their entire existence searching for an ace pitcher that's not bothered pitching at Coors Field, in Jimenez, they've finally got him. So, why would the Rockies trade him? That's a pretty good question. The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to listen.

"We would have to be absolutely overwhelmed," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "It would have to be a Herschel Walker deal."

In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings along with four draft picks in return for five players and eight draft picks. The Cowboys turned those draft picks into Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, Dixon Edwards and more draft picks, including the one that led to the first overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). That trade laid the foundation for the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles in the mid-90s.

In a baseball equivalent, you could call it a Mark Teixeira trade. In baseball, you can't trade draft picks, but prospects are the equivalent of NFL draft picks. In 2007, the Rangers sent Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That's a pretty good haul -- and that's for a player that was scheduled to be a free agent. Jimenez could cost more because of the extra years of team control with a very team-friendly contract.

The market has changed in reaction to that trade, with fewer teams giving up that much for rentals, but Jimenez won't be a rental, so he could command a king's ransom.

What are the Rockies looking for? Mainly they want young pitching talent that can be under team control for a long time, but that's major league ready. They'd also want a top-notch position prospect, as well. The Yankees would likely need to give up catcher Jesus Montero (right) and a top pitching prospect such as Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances in addition to other prospects. Heyman said on MLB Network that the Rockies have asked for not just Montero, Banuelos and Betances, but also Ivan Nova. The Reds could spare first baseman Yonder Alonso, but would have to send some pitching such as Mike Leake and/or Travis Wood to the Rockies in addition to other players.

There have been reports that Jimenez is unhappy with being on the trading block, but he denies that's the case.

"I won't be bothered by trade rumors. I am mentally strong," Jimenez told Renck. "Don't forget that about me."

It would be foolish for someone like O'Dowd not to listen, but in the end, if the Rockies do trade him, it will have to be for a massive collection of talent.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 7:04 pm
 

On Deck: Rookie looks to keep Indians on top

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeanmar GomezFILLING IN, HOLDING ON: The Indians called up right-hander Jeanmar Gomez to take the place of Mitch Talbot, who was put on the disabled list after the All-Star break. Gomez has made three starts for Cleveland this year in late April and early May, getting better each time out. He allowed five earned runs in his first start, three in his second and one in his last start, a 5 1/3 inning stint against the A's on May 5 in a no decision. At Triple-A Columbus, the 23-year-old Venezuelan is 9-3 with a 2.40 ERA. His opposite number, Mitch Atkins, has made starts in three levels of the minors and two starts in the big leagues, allowing one run in six innings in his first start, but six runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Sunday. Indians at Orioles, 1:35 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Kevin CorreiaLOOKING TO REBOUND: Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia went to the All-Star Game last week, but he was coming off his worst performance of the season, allowing five runs in just 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cubs. In his last start, Astros starter Wandy Rodrgiez gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings with five walks in a loss to the Marlins. Pittsburgh started Saturday in first place, only to lose to the Astros and see the Cardinals beat the Reds to regain the top spot in the NL Central. Pirates at Astros, 2:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Shaun MarcumHOME WRECKER: While the Brewers have struggled on the road to the tune of a 17-31 record away from Miller Park, Sunday's starter, Shaun Marcum, has been better away from Milwaukee. The right-hander has a 2.26 ERA on the road, but just a 3-2 record. At home his ERA is more than two runs higher at 4.35, but he has a 4-1 record thanks to more run support. The Rockies look to take three of four from Milwaukee behind Aaron Cook, who is 0-4 with a 5.82 ERA this season. Brewers at Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 7:22 pm
 

Rockies looking at starting pitching market

Sanchez

By Evan Brunell

The Rockies were supposed to have a deep rotation with Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin all playing integral roles with Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook serving as capable back-of-the-rotation starters.

Except Jimenez has been touch-and-go, De La Rosa was lost to Tommy John surgery earlier in the season and despite Hammel's strong 4.13 ERA, his peripherals have taken a step back. That's required Cook and Juan Nicasio to play more prominent roles and to no one's surprise, they aren't quite delivering. That's led Colorado to start poking around the starting pitching market, the Denver Post reports.

If Cook and Nicasio can turn their seasons around, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd could dial back his pursuit of a starter, but that's unlikely. The problem facing Colorado is that the market is thin. There are many teams still in the hunt for a postseason spot which narrows the pool of candidates. That jacks up the prices of pitchers who could be traded.

The Post names Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as two pitchers the Astros will discuss. Affecting Houston's flexibility is the fact that new owner Jim Crane is not expected to take over the team by the trade deadline. That's a tough job for GM Ed Wade. The Astros need to rebuild, but can the club really engineer a rebuilding effort before Crane officially takes over?

Carlos Zambrano remains perpetually available, but the most attractive pitcher on the market has to be Anibal Sanchez. While the 27-year-old isn't available just yet, the thinking is that he could be traded if the Marlins continue sinking into the abyss. The right-hander makes $3.7 million and will enter his final year of arbitration after the season. No wonder he's available from the tightfisted Marlins club.

If Sanchez does indeed become available, he'll likely be the best pitcher available, more so than Rodriguez. While shoulder issues have plagued Sanchez over his career, he's also posted a 2.62 ERA over 16 starts and made a full 32 starts last season with a 3.55 ERA. His health may be a risk, but he's got 300 1/3 innings over the last year and a half that speaks to his recent durability. The chance to acquire a frontline ace is rare, and Sanchez is pitching like one this season. There won't be any shortage of contenders, and the Yankees especially would likely love to get their hands on the ex-Red Sox prospect.

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Posted on: June 13, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 5:39 pm
 

On Deck: Mets looking to reach .500



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Evening out: The Mets have a chance at improving to .500 with a win over the Pirates tonight. Mike Pelfrey is coming off a good start against the Brewers, but he was battered by the Pirates the last time he faced them, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in five innings. The Mets are 32-33; the Pirates are 31-33 and have Paul Maholm on the bump. Maholm is 2-7 on the season, but has a 3.39 ERA and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts this season. Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

Anthony BassBass debut: San Diego's Anthony Bass will be making his big-league debut in place of the injured Aaron Harang. Bass is a combined 7-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 12 starts in Double-A and Triple-A. Last season the 22-year-old led the Class A California League in ERA (3.13), WHIP (1.09), opponents average (.248) and walks per nine (1.4). He went to the same high school as J.J. Putz and broke Putz's high school record by striking out 19 batters in a game. Bass faces Aaron Cook, making his second start of the season. He struck out four in 5 2/3 of a no-decision against the Padres last week. Padres at Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

Road, sweet road: The Angels kick off their 12-game, four-city road trip tonight in Seattle, while the Mariners will play 15 of their next 18 games at Safeco Field. The Angels are on the road to make room for U2, which will be playing Angel Stadium on Friday and Saturday. The band needed the extra time for setting up and disassembling its massive stage. On the trip, the Angels will visit the Mariners, Mets, Marlins and Dodgers. Angels at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:08 pm
 

On Deck: AL Central getting tight



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Tigers prowl: With Cleveland's loss to the Twins on Wednesday, the Tigers are within a game of the American League Central lead. Detroit can't take over first with a win on Wednesday, but they can inch to a half-game out of first with a win over Texas in Arlington on Wednesday. Lefty Phil Coke is expected to be activated from the DL in time to face right-hander Alexi Ogando, who beat the Tigers with a two-hitter through seven innings in April. Ogando has yet to lose a decision as a starter. Tigers at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

David OrtizRetaliation time? Nobody expects A.J. Burnett to bean David Ortiz right off the bat -- but he may smoke him inside just to get his attention. It's nice to have some actual bad blood between these two teams again. For two long the rivalry has been pretty boring -- but with Joe Girardi complaining about Ortiz's bat flip on Tuesday, things could get interesting. Or at least more interesting.  Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

RockiesWelcome back: Everything's coming up Rockies today -- the team gets Aaron Cook back and he faces a team he's traditionally pitched well against. In his career he's 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA at Petco Park and is 14-4 against the Padres overall. They're also facing Dustin Moseley, who his pitching well this season, going 2-6 with a 3.00 ERA and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts. However, Moseley was rocked by the Rockies on May 13, allowing six runs in four innings of a loss at Coors Field. Rockies at Padres, 6:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Aaron Cook on verge of rejoining Rockies

By Evan Brunell

CookThe Rockies got good news Thursday night as Aaron Cook pitched a strong rehab start, putting him in line to make his 2011 season debut Wednesday in San Diego, the Denver Post's Troy Renck reports.

Cook can't hope to replace Jorge De La Rosa in the rotation, especially since the right-hander was supposed to be part of the rotation with De La Rosa, but if he's finally back to full strength, he could give the Rockies an innings-eating No. 3 starter, which would be a significant addition to any team.

Cook allowed three earned runs in seven innings for Triple-A, walking two and striking out five. The walks-allowed is an encouraging sign, as Cook's walk rate has risen in previous years, damaging his effectiveness. Over five rehab starts, Cook has walked just 1.6 batters per nine innings while whiffing 5.7 per nine. His ERA of 5.65 doesn't reflect how well he's pitched, but his return to Colorado tells you all you need to know about how promising he has looked and how much the Rockies need him.

Juan Nicasio has been pitching in the rotation in lieu of De La Rosa and is starting Friday night. He's expected to lose his roster spot to Cook.

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