Tag:Chris Iannetta
Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 5:33 pm
 

Rockies determined to contend, need improvements

de la Rosa In 2010, the Rockies tried to make another attempt at a late-season surge that has become a trademark, but fell far short in finishing 83-79, nine games out of first.

They were one-and-a-half behind first place on Sept. 20, so that's quite a dizzying decline.

"We fell off the face of the earth," Rockies president Dick Monfort admitted to the Denver Post .

The Rockies don't plan to fall off the face again, although they'll have work on their hands to avoid that. The first priority is finding a way to replace starter Jorge de la Rosa, who looks certain to depart as a free agent. Colorado isn't willing to go more than three years for the talented but inconsistent lefty.

"[De la Rosa] told us a minimum of five years. We think [it will end up] four, but we aren't willing to do four," Monfort stated. "At three we would look at it. ... We are worried about his commitment if we go four. How would he respond to that?"

Colorado is concerned about de la Rosa's commitment after showing up to spring training in 2009 out of shape, but he may have turned a corner last season after giving birth to Twins. However, you can't base the next four-to-five years off one season of being in good condition.

The opening de la Rosa (pictured) has left in the rotation is stressing out GM Dan O'Dowd, as Monfort reveals, but it is what it is. Colorado is exporing replacing de la Rosa with a veteran along the lines of Carl Pavano, Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez, Aaron Harang, Dave Bush and Kevin Millwood in free agency. On the trade front, Gavin Floyd, Scott Kazmir and James Shields have been bandied about. The club acquired Felipe Paulino from the Astros in exchange for Clint Barmes this past week.

The Rockies also are considering adding a big bat, such as catcher Victor Martinez or Arizona's Justin Upton.

However, even if the club does import a bat, it's imperative for current Rockies of Todd Helton, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta and Seth Smith to improve.

Helton seems ticked for the Hall of Fame, but for now has a contract through 2013 and needs to step up after struggling to a .256/.362/.367 line in 473 plate appearances. While Helton's contract is no longer backbreaking thanks to a restructuring, he still is expected to produce.

"We need someone that can protect us at first base. But we still are all hoping Todd [bounces] back. I think he can. We don't expect a lot of power. Just those 12-pitch at-bats, getting on base," Monfort said. "That's the guy we missed."

Iannetta, meanwhile, figures to open the year as starting catcher after the club cut ties with Miguel Olivo. With a long-term contract in tow, the Rockies need Iannetta to step up and produce in the majors, not just in the minors. Meanwhile, outfielder Seth Smith struggled after finally getting his wish of being a starter.

And Ian Stewart is expected to be a 30-home run, 100-RBI producer, but hit 18 home runs in 2010, including with almost a month of time missed to injury. Stewart holds the key to the team, as Monfort reveals.

"If he can become a 30-home run, 100-RBI guy, we could win the division," Monfort said. "We need those guys to step up. Iannetta needs to respond. Smith wanted to be a starter, then struggled. We are hoping that [new hitting coach] Carney [Lansford] will be a little more forceful with them. They need to get it done."

It took the Rockies 12 seasons to get back to the playoffs after losing the division series in 1995 after the 1993 inception of the club. They have no interest in another prolonged drought, especially with Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki's contracts affording the Rockies just a three-to-four year window of contention, unless Colorado comes up with the funds to resign the trio.

However, with a modest payroll ($86 million in 2010), the Rockies may not be able to do that. To raise payroll, ticket prices would have to be raised, and that has not happened in years.

The time to win is now in Colorado.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 3, 2010 9:01 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Olivo unlikely to return to Rockies

Miguel Olivo Miguel Olivo is unlikely to return to the Rockies, that's what we've known for weeks.

The Rockies have a $2.5 million option on the catcher for 2010. Foxsports.com's Tracy Ringolsby reports (via Twitter ) that the team has declined its option on Olivo. However, MLB.com's Thomas Harding talked to general manager David O'Dowd, who said the team has yet to make a decision.

"We're allowed to take our time and make a decision tomorrow," O'Dowd told Harding.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post seems to make some sense of this, tweeting the team will likely decline the option, but is trying to work out a trade before making the decision.

Chris Iannetta is in the second year of a three-year, $8.35 million contract.

Olivo hit .269/.315/.449 with 14 home runs in 2010. Olivo had a hot start, hitting .325/.377/.548 with 11 home runs before the All-Star break and .193/.225/.313 after the break.

Iannetta was hardly a world-beater, either. He hit .197/.318/.383 with nine home runs. Only three of his homers came after the break.

The Rockies did make one move -- and it was announced and confirmed -- declining its $7.5 million option on left-hander Jeff Francis. The Associated Press reported the team also declined its $4.5 million option on reliever Octavio Dotel.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:52 am
 

R.I.P. Rockies: Talented trio not enough

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Colorado Rockies.

For a while there, it looked like the Rockies were going to do it again.

A 15-12 August, followed by a 10-game winning streak in early September, got the Rockies in position to pull off another of their late-season runs toward the playoffs. They were just a game back in the National League West on September 18, and Troy Tulowitzki was playing like Superman.

But alas, it was not to be. In fact, they finished in exactly the opposite fans hoped, dropping an amazing 13 of 14 to finish the season in third place, nine games out.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The Rockies got some amazing performances from their star players, but didn’t get enough help beyond those guys.

Second base was a disaster, as Clint Barmes batted .235. Todd Helton struggled with a bum back and saw his average drop 69 points. Outfielder Brad Hawpe, an All-Star a year earlier, was so bad the team released him in August. The guy who finished 2009 as the closer, Franklin Morales, got demoted. Chris Iannetta signed a three-year contract and completely forgot how to hit. Beyond the stellar Ubaldo Jimenez, none of the starters managed to finish more than a game over .500.

Troy Tulowitzki And then there were the injuries, of which the Rockies had more than their share. Aaron Cook had his leg broken by a line drive. Huston Street started the season hurt and his replacement, Manny Corpas, ended up with Tommy John surgery.  Tulowitzki broke his wrist. Four of the five starting pitchers went on the disabled list.

The other major factor was Colorado’s miserable performance on the road. A year after notching a winning road record, they went just 31-50.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Three things went very right: Tulowitzki, Jimenez and Carlos Gonzalez.

Jimenez provided the highlight of the year April 17 when he pitched the franchise’s first no-hitter (after 18 years) in Atlanta. Jimenez was untouchable in the first half of the season, going into the All-Star break 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA. Reality caught up to him in the second half, when he went 4-7, but he still finished as a 19-game winner.

Tulowitzki had one of the most spectacular months anyone has ever put together, with 15 homers and 40 RBI in the season’s final 30 games. The Rockies only had six other players with as many as 40 RBI FOR THE SEASON, let alone in a month. Tulowitzki overcame the wrist injury to finish with a .315 average and a .919 OPS.

Gonzalez arrived in a big way in his first full season, putting together an MVP-worthy campaign. He won the batting title, had 117 RBI and finished with a .974 OPS, leading the league in total bases. On July 31, he hit a walkoff homer to complete a cycle. He was just fun to watch all season.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

Chris Nelson’s time may have arrived after the problems the Rockies had at second base. Nelson batted .280 in 17 major-league games and .313 the rest of the season at Triple-A.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Rockies have a nice core to work with, and the NL West showed itself to be up for grabs this season. A little better luck with injuries, another bat and better play on the road, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t contend next year.

Todd Helton SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Rockies need to get deeper. They have some weapons, but this year showed they need a better supporting cast.

Word is they’re looking for another impact bat and interested in Victor Martinez. If Martinez is open to converting eventually to be a full-time first baseman, it would be a great fit. They could let Miguel Olivo go, hope Martinez can mentor Iannetta, and prepare for life after Helton.

Seth Smith is probably no longer in the plans as an everyday outfielder, and there are some options out there.

The Rockies also have to figure out the rotation, as they’re probably going to lose Jorge De La Rosa and have an option on Jeff Francis that’s probably too rich for the Rockies’ blood.

2011 PREDICTION

The Rockies could actually be headed for a step back, simply because Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Jimenez are statistically unlikely to repeat what they did this season. If the supporting players don’t step up, it could be another third-place finish.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am
 

Rockies to exercise option on Olivo

Miguel Olivo The Rockies will exercise their $2.7 million option on catcher Miguel Olivo, Tracy Ringolsby writes .

Olivo's option was originally worth $2.5 million, but bumped up wihen he played in his 110th game.

Olivo made $2 million this year in Colorado after the Royals declined his $3.3 million option after 2009.

Olivo hit .269/.315/.449 with 14 homers and 58 RBI in 2010. Although his power numbers went down (from 23 homers and a .490 slugging percentage) this season, he increased his average and on-base percentage in Denver.

Looking at his splits, Olivo's gains may be a product of Coors -- he hit .318/.349/.556 at home and .211/.276/.322 on the road. Ten of his 14 homers came at Coors.

The home-field factor wasn't the only red-flag in his splits -- he hit .325/.377/.548 with 11 homers in the first half of the season, and .193/.225/.313 in the second half.

The Rockies have Chris Iannetta under contract, but is due $6.1 million over the next two years. The Rockies could look to trade Iannetta, but would have to eat much of his contract. He due $2.55 million next season, $3.55 million in 2012 with a $5 million club option for 2013 with a  $250,000 buy-out. If traded, he may void that option.

Ianettea's trade value isn't exactly at its peak -- he hit .197/.318/.383 with nine homers and 27 RBI this season, and .175/.296/.278 with two homers on the road.

If the Rockies do trade Ianetta, Michael McKenry and Paul Phillips are possibilities to backup Olivo. Both were called up in September. Two of the Rockies' top prospects are catchers, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco. Rosario tore his ACL in August, while Pacheco started the season in high-Class A, but finished the season in Triple-A and will play in the Arizona Fall League.

The Rockies have hinted they'd like to take a look at free agent catcher Victor Martinez.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 1, 2010 8:46 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Rockies' Olivo carted off field

Miguel Olivo Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo was carted off the field after he took a blow to the head on Albert Pujols' follow-through in the first inning on Friday.

Olivo had his neck stabilized and was placed on a stretcher, replaced by Chris Iannetta.

UPDATE:  Olivo was taken to a St. Louis hospital and is undergoing CT scans on his head and neck, the Denver Post 's Jim Armstrong reports .

UPDATE: More from Armstrong , Olivo suffered a "mild" concussion in the incident and was able to return to the Rockies' clubhouse at Busch Stadium by the end of the game. He didn't speak with reporters.

"Believe me, I thank God for this, we avoided a catastrophic injury," manager Jim Tracy said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:48 pm
 

Rockies could make play for Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez The Rockies made their annual September surge, only for Colorado to fold down the stretch.

The club can't afford to have anymore of these slow starts only to turn it on in the second half -- there is a window of opportunity to win, as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is only too well aware of.

"We like our chances that we are going to be together for the next three years, and really that could be the end of it," Tulo observed to the Denver Post . "It's going to be tough to keep all three of us, I'll tell you that. I want it to happen, and I want it to happen here."

Along those same lines, the Rockies are looking for impact bats -- one to start in the outfield and one who could complement Todd Helton at first. They may also need a catcher, as it's likely Miguel Olivo declines his mutual option in search of a more lucrative contract. Unless Colorado is ready to turn the job over to Chris Iannetta -- and based on their actions over the past year, that's not happening -- the club also needs a catcher.

Enter Victor Martinez, who Troy Renck of the Post says the Rockies will target. Martinez could catch and then spell Todd Helton at first base. Given Helton's weakness is against lefties and Iannetta flourishes against southpaws, it could be a perfect platoon. Given that V-Mart is going to have countless suitors, however, Colorado likely won't be able to compete with the offers the backstop will receive.

Renck names Conor Jackson as a low-cost alternative that could platoon with Helton. Jackson is coming off a second-straight injury plagued season but shouldn't find much trouble finding a bench spot somewhere.

 -- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: July 19, 2010 6:46 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 7:34 pm
 

Iannetta likely staying put until offseason

Chris Iannetta Although the Red Sox signed catcher Adalberto Ibarra in late April and have two rising prospects in Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway, the search continues for the Red Sox's catcher of the future.

Chris Iannetta has been linked to the Sox for a good while and while those thoughts died away after Iannetta's strong 2009 and resulting contract extension, these thoughts are back in full force now that Iannetta has been displaced as the starting catcher by Miguel Olivo.

While a trade of Iannetta to Boston by the trade deadline is a possibility, it's more likely that any trade consummated will have to wait until the offseason, says FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Factors holding back a deal for Iannetta include his recent hot streak (over the last 28 days, he has a 1.179 OPS and five home runs in 36 plate appearances), Colorado's desire to upgrade the major-league team in any deal and the fact that making Iannetta available in the offseason will allow more teams to get into the bidding.

The Red Sox, despite their interest in Iannetta, can't part with any of their major-league depth, not without severely compromising their already compromised depth, and any other team in contention would be in a similar conundrum in trying to grab Iannetta.

Two potential sellers that might be able to give the Rockies immediate help are the Mariners and Marlins, although it's unclear if those teams have exhibited any interest.

In addition to the above factors preventing an Iannetta deal midseason, while the Rox want to move forward with Olivo in 2011, they may not be able to. The club has a $2.5 million club option that can be voided by Olivo if he makes 41 more starts, according to Rosenthal. If the Rockies lose Olivo, they'd suddenly have a need for Iannetta.

If they don't, however, the Rockies have two top prospects in the minors -- one in Triple-A and one in Class A -- making it easier to part with Iannetta.

Iannetta is signed to a club-friendly deal that runs out no later than 2013, so Colorado can get a strong package in return.

It'll just have to be the offseason.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am
 

Who's on first? In Denver, lots of people

Chris Iannetta Todd Helton is 36 years old, looking at his second back-injury shortened season in three years, and a year away from free agency. So as much of a blow his latest trip to the DL is to the Rockies, it's also an opportunity to begin considering Life After Helton.

Since Helton has been out of action, Brad Eldred, called up from Triple-A, and Jason Giambi have started at first. But manager Jim Tracy said as many as five people could play first in Helton's absence. Catcher Chris Iannetta (pictured, after his walk-off home run Wednesday night) played some first base in college at North Carolina, and outfielder Brad Hawpe will be taking grounders at first as well. Melvin Mora also has appeared five times at first for the Rockies this year.

But the Rockies are playing well and in position to contend for the National League West, especially if the Padres' lack of offense catches up with them. Should Colorado be looking for a more significant addition? Giambi and Mora are long in the tooth, Hawpe is falling apart physically, Iannetta is batting .217 and needed behind the plate, and Eldred hasn't shown he can be a factor at the major league level yet.

If the Rockies think Helton's health is going to continue to be a factor, they might want to consider trading for someone like Baltimore's versatile Ty Wigginton or Arizona's Kelly Johnson, who would give them some options without breaking the bank.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




 
 
 
 
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