Results tagged ‘ Seth Smith ’

Reports: Padres, Benoit nearing 2-year deal

The Padres are close to adding a back-end reliever since losing setup man Luke Gregerson, CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman reports. San Diego and former Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit are apparently close to finalizing a two-year agreement worth $15.5 million. The deal is pending a physical.

Benoit moved into the closer’s role for Detroit last year, but he is expected to serve as setup man for Huston Street in San Diego.

The 36-year-old veteran was steady over three years with Detroit, posting a 2.89 ERA in 205 appearances.

The Padres traded Gregerson to Oakland two weeks ago for Seth Smith.

Heyman also reported the Padres are still seeking a left-handed reliever, but intend to hold onto third baseman Chase Headley.

– Joey Nowak

Gregerson, Smith traded in ever-busy day for A’s

The A’s are pulling off yet another deal on Tuesday afternoon, with outfielder Seth Smith heading to San Diego in exchange for reliever Luke Gregerson. Chris Kusiolek reported it first, and the teams made it official around 4:45 p.m. ET. 

This move certainly strengthens the A’s already-sturdy bullpen ahead of newly-acquired closer Jim Johnson. Gregerson has held an ERA under 3.00 each of the last three seasons with the Padres. Smith hit .246 with 22 homers and 92 RBIs over the last two seasons (242 games) with the A’s. The Oakland outfield was becoming crowded after the acquisition of Craig Gentry from Texas today. 

– Joey Nowak

Helton to make debut, Tulo back in lineup

Usually, facing Giants ace pitcher Tim Lincecum is not a comfortable way to for a player to take his first game at-bats. But the player in this case is the Rockies’ Todd Helton, who has a career .364 (12-for-33) batting aveage with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs against Lincecum. Helton has walked seven times and struck out five against Lincecum.

Joining the lineup today will be shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 7-for-38 (.184) with a home run and seven RBIs against Lincecum. Tulowitzki was scratched Monday because of illness and was not in the lineup Tuesday.

In fact, this lineup is quite similar to what the Rockies could be sending out for their home opener April 9 against the Giants. Spots 2-6 will be occupied by second baseman Marco Scutaro, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, Helton and right fielder Michael Cuddyer.

An intriguing move has Charlie Blackmon leading off and playing center field. Blackmon showed positive flashes during a callup last season before suffering a broken right foot. The team’s two biggest prospects are in today, as well. Wilin Rosario, normally a catcher, will be the designated hitter, and Nolan Arenado will play third base.

Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will be the starting pitcher, and left-handed veteran Jamie Moyer also will appear. A close eye will be kept on right-hander Esmil Rogers, who is fighting for a roster spot and wants to push his way into the rotation.

Here is the lineup:

Charlie Blackmon, CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowtizki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Wilin Rosario, DH

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Wil Nieves, C

Jeremy Guthrie, P

On Thursday, Drew Pomeranz will start against the Royals at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Left-hander Josh Outman, obtained from the Athletics in the Seth Smith trade, also is scheduled to appear.

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

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

Rox and Mets an unlikely trade fit

The Rockies like Mets right-handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey, but it doesn’t look as if the parts for a trade fit.

One issue is the Mets have little starting pitching depth and are loath to part with Pelfrey, who went 7-14 with a 4.74 ERA during a difficult Mets 2011 season but was 15-9, 3.66 the previous year.

Also, while the Mets are seeking bullpen help, they’re not going to take the Rockies’ Huston Street. The Mets’ bench coach is Bob Geren, who was Street’s manager with the Athletics before the Rockies acquired him. Street and Geren feuded back then, and the Mets would prefer to stay away from that situation.

Dealing Street and outfielder Seth Smith appears to be the Rockies’ best route to improving the club quickly. Also they’ll see how much interest there is in third baseman Ian Stewart, with the Cubs mentioned prominently, and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings opened Monday in Dallas.

– Thomas Harding

A busy Rox weekend

– Two free agent targets appear headed elsewhere, with outfielder Grady Sizemore reportedly having reached an agreement with the Indians and onetime Rockies infielder Clint Barmes reportedly headed to Pittsburgh to rejoin his old Rox manager, Clint Hurdle.

The Sizemore situation was a race against time. Signing him was somewhat predicated on trading left fielder Seth Smith. The plan to trade Smith was to fill the second base hole or one of the starting pitching holes. Although there have been stories about talks with the Braves about infielder Martin Prado and the Rockies have been debating trying to pry former Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson from the Padres, not much in the way of real negotiation had materialized.

But with all the health reports on Sizemore positive after a postseason knee surgery (he had surgery on the other knee in 2009), teams decided to move quickly. The team that knows him the best, the Indians, figured the price was right and made the move.

The Rockies see Smith as an asset, so it’s not as if they’re dying to trade him. They’d deal him, but not in a trade that they aren’t totally comfortable making. To trade Smith now, the Rockies need a viable alternative in left, whether that player comes in the same trade or the Rockies end up with a left fielder through other means. Or they can just keep Smith.

“We like Seth Smith — he’s a good player for us,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told me the other day.

Barmes would have made a lot of sense. He played shortstop last year for the Astros, and will do so for the Pirates. If the Rockies could have signed him, he would have offered a high-quality replacement if Troy Tulowitzki were to be injured.

If the Rox don’t find a second baseman, some combination of Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. would have to suffice at second. Both have experience at short, and can move over in case of injury to Tulowitzki.

Since Tulowitzki is a big shortstop who never takes it easy, it would be nice to have someone of Barmes’ ability to plug into the position. It would give manager Jim Tracy peace of mind when he wants to rest Tulowitzki during the season.

It’s a concern, but the Rockies aren’t going to build their offseason strategy around protecting themselves from a longterm injury to Tulowitzki. Replacing him for a few days for a nagging injury is one thing. A long absence is something else.

“If we lost Tulowitzki for a long period of time, we’re in trouble,” O’Dowd said. “I don’t know of many teams that can withstand losing their best player for a long period of time.”

– The Rockies dealt veteran utility man Ty Wigginton to the Phillies on Sunday for a player to be named.

While it’s nice to have a vet to come off the bench, the Rockies might be covered with a younger player. They liked the offensive work of late-season call-up Jordan Pacheco, and Tracy used Pacheco at first base and third base — essentially the same way he used Wigginton.

Keep an eye on Rockies pitching, Barmes discussions could occur today

As MLB.com reported last week and as the Denver Post reported last night, the Rockies’ wide-ranging search for an innings-eating starting pitcher, or two, includes standout free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt (4-0, 2.25 ERA in five career starts at Coors Field).

The Post reported that the Rockies won’t trade for the Astros’ Wandy Rodriguez, who want quite a bit in return. But just about any young, accomplished starter is on the radar — the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, and the Rays’ Jeff Neimann and Wade Davis. All have been Rockies targets before. The Rockies are interested in their one-time No. 1 pitcher Jeff Francis and Kevin Millwood, who finished last season in purple pinstripes, as well as, according to the Post, Paul Maholm.

The Rockies are dangling left fielder Seth Smith in trade talks for either a pitcher or a second baseman, or both. That helps explain the pursuit of Grady Sizemore, who is recovering from right knee surgery but, according to his agent, will be ready to start Spring Training and to start the season.

If they don’t make a trade at the keystone position, they could look to the past and pursue Clint Barmes, who played for the Astros last season but had spent all is previous seasons with the Rockies. Barry Meister, Barmes’ agent, will arrive at the MLB General Managers meetings in Milwaukee today. Although there have been internal discussions about Barmes — who is attractive to the Rockies because he can move to shortstop if Troy Tulowitzki needs a break or is banged up — there had not been negotiations as of yesterday. Barmes is receiving interest at a shortstop and a second baseman, and is open to playing each spot.

Potential trade targets are the Braves’ Martin Prado and the Padres’ Orlando Hudson, with the Rockies already having had discussions with the Braves.

In the coming weeks, watch for the Rockies to seriously explore dealing right-handed reliever Huston Street, who is guaranteed $8 million next year. Rafael Betancourt ended up supplanting Street as closer late in the regular season.

– Thomas Harding

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