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Rockies make offer to veteran Moyer

For now, the Rockies’ 2012 potential Opening Day starting rotation can be called the “under-30 club.” But that could change, considerably, with one potential signing.

Looking for a veteran to help guide the young rotation, the Rockies could be bringing in the veteran – 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer. The Rockies have made an offer of a Minor League contract, and a club official told MLB.com on Tuesday morning that “it’s in his court.”

Moyer had Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in his throwing elbow in December 2010 and worked for ESPN as an analyst last year, but stated all along he hoped to pitch again in 2012. He went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies in 2010.

By making the offer, the Rockies are signaling that they believe Moyer can be a help to them, not merely a novelty, although his potential signing sparks folks to go digging for trivia. For example, when Moyer made his Major League debut for the Cubs on June 16, 1986, the following competitors for the Rockies’ 2012 rotation had not been born: Jhoulys Chacin (Jan. 7, 1988), Tyler Chatwood (Dec. 16, 1989), Juan Nicasio (Aug. 31, 1986), Drew Pomeranz (Nov. 22, 1988) and Alex White (Aug. 29, 1988).

One of Moyer’s teammates on the 1986 Cubs was Rockies television color commentator George Frazier, then a relief pitcher.

The Denver Post, which reported the offer to Moyer on Monday night, also reported that the Rockies are looking at trading for a second baseman, with the Red Sox’s Marco Scutaro and the Mets’ Justin Turner as possibilities.

– Thomas Harding

For now, the Ro…

For now, the Rockies’ 2012 potential Opening Day starting rotation can be called the “under-30 club.” But that could change, considerably, with one potential signing.

Looking for a veteran to help guide the young rotation, the Rockies could be bringing in the veteran – 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer. The Rockies have made an offer of a Minor League contract, and a club official told MLB.com on Tuesday morning that “it’s in his court.”

Moyer had Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in his throwing elbow in December 2010 and worked for ESPN as an analyst last year, but stated all along he oped to pitch again in 2012. He went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies in 2010.

By making the offer, the Rockies are signaling that they believe Moyer can be a help to them, not merely a novelty, although his potential signing sparks folks to go digging for trivia. For example, when Moyer made his Major League debut for the Cubs on June 16, 1986, the following competitors for the Rockies’ 2012 rotation had not been born: Jhoulys Chacin (Jan. 7, 1988), Tyler Chatwood (Dec. 16, 1989), Juan Nicasio (Aug. 31, 1986), Drew Pomeranz (Nov. 22, 1988) and Alex White (Aug. 29, 1988).

One of Moyer’s teammates on the 1986 Cubs was Rockies television color commentator George Frazier, then a relief pitcher.

The Denver Post, which reported the offer to Moyer on Monday night, also reported that the Rockies are looking at trading for a second baseman, with the Red Sox’s Marco Scutaro and the Mets’ Justin Turner as possibilities.

– Thomas Harding

Braves, Rockies continue to discuss Smith-Prado trade

The Rockies could use one more bat, specifically at second base. The Braves need a left fielder. None of this has changed since the offseason began and reports surfaced of the possibility of the Rockies sending left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith to Atlanta for right-handed hitting infielder Martin Prado. Dialogue between the teams continued through last week, and word Monday was the possibility of a trade remains alive.

The frontburner issue for the Braves appears to be seeing what kind of package they can receive for right-handed starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, a move that could fill other needs.

The Rockies reached a three-year, $31.5 million agreement with former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer last week, and are in position to deal Smith.

The Rockies’ main need is a durable starting pitcher, but they have shown no interest in dealing the multiple prospects that many teams require for such a deal. So adding another bat at second base, where the Rockies for now have a possible combination of former first-round Draft pick Chris Nelson and solid multi-position man Jonathan Herrera, has risen to the top of the pecking order.

It would be yet another roadblock for Nelson, who took awhile to find his legs as a professional but has earned compliments from manager Jim Tracy for his work ethic. If such a deal occurs, Nelson could get his chance at third base — if hot prospect Nolan Arenado needs more time to develop. Arenado put up dominant numbers in Class-A last year and in the Arizona Fall League, and will be given a shot to make the Majors this spring.

As for the pitcher, the Rockies would like to re-sign veteran righty Kevin Millwood, who displayed leadership — not only on the mound, but with his preparation between starts — that could help a mostly young starting staff. While it would be nice to add a 200-innings stalwart, it doesn’t look possible on the trading market, it’s cost-prohibitive in free agency, and might not be necessary. A veteran hurler who can stabilize the pitching until left-hander Jorge De La Rosa returns in May or June from Tommy John surgery might be good enough to keep the club in good position in the National League West.

The Denver Post reported late last week that the Rockies have reached out to free-agent right-hander Brad Lidge, who grew up in Colorado and, through his agent, expressed interest in pitching for his hometown team. Lidge, who has history as a dominant closer, is coming off a 2011 season with the Phillies during which he missed time with a partially torn rotator cuff and experienced elbow issues. The Phillies have discussed bringing him back. Given his current health, it’s more likely that wherever he signs it would be under a Minor League deal. If the Rockies bring back infielder Melvin Mora, who played for them in 2010, it would be under a Minor League deal.

– Thomas Harding

Rox, Cuddyer reach three-year, $31.5 million agreement

The Rockies are putting the final touches on a three-year signing of outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million contract, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday morning.

The right-handed hitting Cuddyer, 32, hit .284 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs for the Twins last season. He has hit at least 20 homers three times in his career, including a career-high 32 in 2009. In 1,139 career games, all with the Twins, Cuddyer is a .272 hitter with 141 homers and 580 RBIs.

Cuddyer figures to fit in the lineup in left field, but also could move to first base on days Todd Helton is not in the lineup. The Rockies could use him in the No. 5 spot behind shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, or at No. 6 if the Rockies want the left-handed hitting Todd Helton to continue to bat behind Tulowitzki.

The Rockies also were looking to re-make the flavor of the clubhouse, after finishing 73-89 last season and not showing the toughness that had become a trademark of the club in recent seasons. The team has added a pair of veterans via free agency – catcher Ramon Hernandez for two years and $6.4 million, and Cuddyer.

The Rockies still aren’t likely to be done with building the 2012 roster. Left-handed hitting left fielder Seth Smith is the team’s main trading chip, who figures to be supplanted by Cuddyer, is the team’s main chip in attempts to deal to fill other holes. A key one is the need for a starting pitcher capable of 200 innings, with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa having to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery and out until sometime around June .

The Rockies rid themselves of $7 million in salary by dealing relief pitcher Huston Street to the Padres and further trimming the payroll of a projected $2.6 million when they sent arbitration-eligible third baseman Ian Stewart to the Cubs as part of a four-player trade, the Rockies achieved enough payroll relief to make an offer to an outfielder.

But signing Cuddyer means the Rockies will not be able to continue to pursue Hiroki Kuroda, a right-hander reportedly looking for a one-year deal in the $13 million range.

The Rockies began pursuing Cuddyer early in the free-agency period, but needed the market to fall into place. That occurred on Tuesday, when news surfaced that outfielder Josh Willingham moved toward accepting an offer from the Twins. The original thought Twins were not going to sign both players, but the Twins remained in the running.

According to reports, the Phillies and Mariners were still trying to sign Cuddyer as of Thursday.

– Thomas Harding

Rox talk to Cuddyer; Twins back in the mix

Negotiations continued Thursday between the Rockies and free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The Mariners, Phillies and a somewhat unexpected suitor, the Twins, are also in the mix. It’s not clear how quickly the Rockies or anyone else can come to an agreement.

Cuddyer has spent his entire Major League career with the Twins, who made him a three-year offer. It was believed that the Twins were no longer a possibility when outfielder Josh Willingham signed for three years and $21 million. But multiple reports said the Twins had not dropped out of the running.

The Rockies’ prime focus is Cuddyer. The team has expressed interest in six-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, but he is considered a longshot for the Rockies, mainly because of health concerns. Beltran has dealt with serious knee issues, including arthroscopic surgeries on both of them before the 2007 season and a further surgery on the right knee in 2010. The Mets had to be careful with his playing time early last season. Beltran put up strong numbers after being traded to the Giants for their lat-season run. However, the Giants have not signed him even though they have a need in the outfield.

Cody Ross remains a possibility to be signed to work in a tandem in left field with Seth Smith. If Cuddyer is signed, expect the Rockies to attempt to trade Smith to fill other holes.

– Thomas Harding

Cuddyer, Rox continue to talk

The Twitter universe says Michael Cuddyer will reach an agreement with the Rockies by the end of today. From what I’ve been told, the sides continue to negotiate but the end of today may not be feasible. Terms aren’t known, but it could be lucrative: Cuddyer was reported to have a three-year deal for around $25 million from the Twins on the table. I’m reading the Mariners and Reds also have approached Cuddyer.

If or when it does happen, don’t be surprised if left-handed hitting Seth Smith is dealt quickly. Such a deal would clear a crowded outfield, and it would be the best way for the Rockies to fill other holes, especially pitching. Whatever the Rockies cleared in trading pitcher Huston Street to the Padres and infielder Ian Stewart to the Cubs will be spent on Cuddyer, or another outfielder if the Rockies go in that direction (such as Carlos Beltran).

Smith ranks as the best hope for acquiring a pitcher capable of 200 innings to help the rotation along until Jorge De La Rosa completes his comeback from Tommy John left elbow surgery, which should be sometime around June. Lower-cost options such as Kevin Millwood, Jeff Francis or recently non-tendered Joe Saunders will come into play, also.

As for free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, the chances of such a signing are doubtful considering what the Rockies will spend on the outfielder.

– Thomas Harding

Rox pursue Beltran in addition to Cuddyer

The Rockies are trying to sign free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, two Major League sources told MLB.com on Tuesday. The Rockies’ involvement with Beltran was first reported Tuesday by CBS Sports.

A six-time All-Star, Beltran is coming off a 2011 in which he hit a combined .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs for the Giants and Mets. He hit .323 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 44 games after the Giants acquired him for a late-season stretch run.

The switch-hitting Beltran, who turns 35 on April 24, is a career .283 hitter with a .361 on-base percentage, and has 302 home runs and 1,146 RBIs. In 25 career games at Coors Field, Beltran has hit .276 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, nine doubles and a triple. He has compiled an .880 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) at Coors as well.

The Rockies’ search for an outfielder to bolster their lineup has led them to pursue free-agent Michael Cuddyer, who is considering a three-year offer with the Twins, the team with which he has spent his entire Major League career.

It is not clear when a decision from Beltran, who has fielded interest from the Cardinals and the Red Sox, or Cuddyer will come.  The Rockies are looking at signing one outfielder to bolster the lineup. Cody Ross’ name has surfaced, but the Rockies are not pursuing him at this time. They are unlikely to do so until after looking at other possibilities. <p />

That outfielder, however, will not be Josh Willingham, whose name has been connected with the Rockies in recent days. Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick, said Willingham’s decision is down to three teams but the Rockies are not one of them, and Rockies sources say they have not been in on Willingham.

The Rockies currently have an outfield, with Seth Smith in left, Dexter Fowler in center and Carlos Gonzalez in right. However, the Rockies have been dangling Smith, a left-handed hitter with strong numbers against righty pitching, in trade talks in attempts to shore up other areas of the club.

– Thomas Harding

Cubs’ interest in Rox’s Stewart wanes

The Cubs are in a wide-ranging search for a third baseman, but they’ve backed away from trying to acquire the Rockies’ Ian Stewart, at least for now. The situation remains fluid, however, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they’ll jump back in.

The Rockies discussed at various points acquiring infielder Blake DeWitt and outfielder-first baseman Tyler Colvin, and the Denver Post reported that the Rockies asked about infielder DJ LeMaiheu and left-handed reliever Scott Maine.

Stewart’s name has come up in talks with various teams since last summer’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rockies and D-backs talked back then. But if no deal is reached, expect Stewart to compete for the starting third base job with Brandon Wood, signed to a Minor League contract, and Jordan Pacheco. Chris Nelson and Jonathan Herrera, who are in the mix for playing time at second base, also play third.

Thomas Harding

Rockies agree to acquire Slowey from Twins

DALLAS — The Rockies have agreed to acquire right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Twins for a player to be named.

Slowey, 27, is coming off a difficult 2011 in which he struggled a switch to the bullpen early, battled forearm and abdominal injuries, and finished the year 0-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 appearances, including eight starts.

Slowey went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 games, 28 starts, in 2010.

– Thomas Harding

Rox like Polanco, but salary issues could hamper pursuit of trade

If the Phillies look to move veteran infielder and No. 2 hitter Placido Polanco, the Rockies would have interest. However, making a $7.25 million guarantee for 2012 into a payroll that might not be any higher than last year’s would prove difficult.

The Rockies need a professional hitter such as Polanco, 36, a seasoned postseason performer who could add a measure of toughness to a Rockies team that lacked it last season while going 73-89. On the field, the Rockies would have to determine whether Polanco can play second base as well as third, or if he is strictly a third baseman. And the team would have to get a handle on where he stands health-wise. He is recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery. The Phillies haven’t decided whether to move Polanco. Much depends on whether the Phillies sign Jimmy Rollins. If the Phillies don’t sign him, they may look for a third baseman such as Aramis Ramirez and deal Polanco.

However, the Rockies would have to move some salary, and that’s not easy.

Thomas Harding

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