Results tagged ‘ Troy Tulowitzki ’

Disclaimer: No indication Rockies owner can be swayed into dealing Tulo … Still, team has to be prepared if talks occur

We preface everything here with the simple statement, based on conversations with sources inside and outside the Rockies organization:

Owner Dick Monfort has no interest in trading shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at Thursday afternoon’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. The belief that a healthy Rockies club, with an improved rotation and a bullpen overhaul, is a winner next season means odds are against Monfort moving Tulowitzki — signed for extreme riches through 2020 — this offseason.

But the way to not get caught off guard is to be prepared, even if you know nothing may happen.

In the days leading to the Trade Deadline, the Rockies are getting ready for the magic phone call, even if it’s not coming.

The Rockies spent much of Monday studying the Mets organization, looking at current Major Leaguers and prospects, and gauging the abilities of young pitchers who have not reached their arbitration years. Any Mets pitcher who is anyone, whether he is working in Queens – like National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom – or prospects such as righty Noah Syndergaard (No. 1 on the MLB.com Mets Top 20 Prospects list) or Rafael Montero (No. 6), the Rockies are prepared to discuss. If the names of numerous position players come up, the Rockies are prepared.

But here’s the thing. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday said it is “unlikely” the team will make any deal, and sources throughout the game are saying it’s unlikely anything serious will occur with the Rockies. And, as can’t be stated enough, it’s all fantasy unless Monfort changes his belief that the Rockies will win with Tulowitzki.

But that’s the way these things work. Oh, it’s not only the Mets. We hear the Rockies have beefed up their knowledge on the Cardinals and the Angels – two teams with the money and Major League-ready players to make the Rockies’ baseball people at least listen if they were to call – and a few other teams that may have interest. Speaking of which, since Tulowitzki’s showing up at Yankee Stadium Sunday sparked so many conspiracy theories, we are told the Yankees are not one of the teams that the Rockies believe have players it takes to pull off a Tulowizki deal.

There’s absolutely no indication either team will make that call before the deadline. Nonetheless, the Rockies want to have detailed information if talks ever begin.

Other fronts appear to be quiet, although there is interest.

• We identified the Pirates as a team that is taking a look at Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins, and now we’re told that 5-6 clubs are interested in Hawkins, knowing he can pitch in any situation. But two issues are making it hard to deal the 41-year-old reliever with the ageless right arm:

The Rockies believe his influence is strong enough on young players and young pitchers that they want to keep him around, even though the team is in last place.

The Rockies’ requirement for help at the start of next season, plus pitchers under club control applies to Hawkins. Teams in contention haven’t offered what the Rockies want.

• It’s doubtful the Rockies will move lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who has pitched better at Coors than any pitcher in their history. The Rockies have been listening when clubs inquire, but after it surfaced that the Rockies coveted Orioles righty Kevin Gausman and a whole haul of prospects, no other team’s interest made it to the rumor stage. Expect the Rockies to make the $14 million qualifying offer to De La Rosa, a free agent after this season, and use that as the basis for keeping him.

• While the Rockies have scouted lefty Brett Anderson since his return from a broken left index finger, but there are no active discussions. The Rockies are expected to pick up Anderson’s $12 million option for next season.

– Thomas Harding

Tulo, like most trades, “unlikely” for Mets

Ever since the New York Post reported last weekend that the Mets “want in on” a potential Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez trade, the baseball world has become awash with rumors. Most have centered around the Rockies sending Tulowitzki to the Mets for a package of Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki and multiple other young players.

If it seemed improbable, that’s because it is. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson admitted as much Monday without referring to Tulowitzki by name, calling it “unlikely” that he acquires anyone — including a superstar shortstop — prior to Thursday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.

“If I had to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen,” Alderson said. “But you never know what’s going to transpire in the next three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options might be. I’d say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but we’re not inclined to at this point. It’s speculation, but I wouldn’t bet on something happening before the deadline.”

Tulowitzki created more tabloid drama Sunday when he showed up at Yankee Stadium, in advance of a doctor’s appointment in Philadelphia, to watch Derek Jeter play one last time in person. But returning to New York as a player remains unlikely.

In addition to the Mets’ hesitance, Rockies owner Dick Monfort has been adamantly against trading Tulowitzki for some time. Then there is the matter of money; Tulowitzki is owed $100 million over the next five years of a deal that runs through 2019, meaning the Mets would need to increase their payroll significantly to support the salaries of him, David Wright ($20 million in 2015) and Curtis Granderson ($16 million).

–Anthony DiComo

Rockies Tulowitzki does not have no-trade clause; talks are intriguing if not imminent (Also, a look at many possible Rockies deals)

Tulo turn

Contrary to what has been repeated in many reports, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki does not have a no-trade clause — at least not at this point — in his contract.

Going strictly by the contract language (and consulting with sources with direct knowledge of the contract), if traded, Tulowitzki would receive a $2 million bonus from the club he would land with, and only then would a no-trade provision go into effect. That is in addition to the five years and $104 million, plus incentives and escalators, left on his deal.

Now, from the standpoint that Tulowitzki is one of the game’s most-respected players and someone who has been through thick and a lot of thin with the Rockies, it stands to reason that if such a decision were made the club would at least listen to Tulowitzki’s preferences — especially if there were places he didn’t want to go. However, he does not have that right within his contract, and he is not a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the Majors with the last five with the team).

All that said, the chances are low that Tulowitzki would be dealt by next Thursday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. Tulowitzki has said all along he doesn’t expect a deadline deal, and the more likely scenario is he would meet with his family and club officials after the season and get an idea of the team’s direction before deciding whether to press for a trade. Sources around the Majors say Rockies owner Dick Monfort’s position with them is the same as it is publicly — he is not seeking a deadline deal, and there is no guarantee he wants to make a deal even after the season.

Tulowitzki’s being on the 15-day disabled list with a hip flexor strain also complicates the chance of a deal now.

By the way, Major League sources say the Rockies aren’t anywhere close to dealing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a sublime talent who has dealt with injuries the last two years.

Given that, current trade rumors are to be seen as laying the groundwork for talks after the season.

Those talks could become really interesting. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote today that the Mets are interested in being players if the Rockies ever decided to deal Tulo or CarGo. Sherman names pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, plus outfielder Brandon Nimmo and infielder Dilson Herrera as players the Rockies like. Given the Rockies’ perpetual need and desire for young pitching, the names Syndergaard and Matz would make it hard for club officials to dismiss if talks were to become serious.

Of course, anything the Mets do is related to the Yankees. Sherman points out that Tulo’s love for Derek Jeter, the Yankees shortstop who must be replaced, and the fact the Rockies like the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, righty Luis Severino. And the Cardinals have been rumored as a possible trading partner since last winter.

In other developments:

–The same article by Sherman points out that the Rockies have had interest in Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and notes the Rockies have pieces the Yankees want – lefty starters Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson, and catcher Wilin Rosario, who could preserve his bat and mitigate his defensive issues by being a designated hitter or playing another position. But we are told that the Rockies aren’t looking to deal Rosario before Thursday’s deadline.

But expect Rosario to be an offseason topic of conversation. The Rockies have been sticking with him, believing his power hitting can make up for defense that has been a work in progress ever since he was promoted from Double-A in 2011. However, the Rockies may be forced to re-think.

The pitching staff will continue to be young. Left-hander Tyler Matzek and right-handers such as Eddie Butler and Jon Gray (Matzek and Butler debuted this year, and Gray is on the radar) will be in the rotation sooner than later. Righties Jhoulys Chacin and Jordan Lyles have been around, but are in their 20s.

It might be time for a veteran catcher, or one with frontline all-around ability who is special at calling games, to trim the learning curve for the pitchers. Two examples come to mind: 1) Late in his career, Pudge Rodriguez went to the Marlins and later to the Tigers, teams that didn’t have recent histories of winning. He made a major difference to those young staffs, and the result was a World Series win wit the Marlins and a World Series appearance with the Tigers. 2) It’s hard to quantify but easy to appreciate the impact Russell Martin had last year with the Pirates, who ended a 20-year postseason drought with pitchers who needed help reaching their potential.

–The Rockies are in a quandary when it comes to dealing their own pitching. They want young pitching under club control, but what if the best bargaining chips are their own desirable pitchers.

The Rockies are listening to trade offers, but the price they’ve set with the Orioles shows that they’ll take only the cream of another team’s crop. But even if they receive pitchers with bright futures, is there any guarantee they’re going to have the present that De La Rosa has?

De La Rosa has been by far the Rockies’ best pitcher at Coors Field, and whether he qualifies as the best pitcher in club history is a growing debate. Dude is 42-14 at Coors Field. And he likes pitching there. After seeing top prospects — lefty Drew Pomeranz, now with the Athletics, is a clear example — flame out at Coors, who’s to say anyone else’s prospects are going to make it?

Maybe the Rockies take the plunge. Or maybe they are better off retaining De La Rosa, who is in the final year of his contract. The $11 million qualifying offer the Rockies would need to make to preserve the right to compensation in case3 he left is $3 million more than he is making. That could give them another year with De La Rosa, or it could be the basis for a longer-term deal for a pitcher who wants to be here.

–Everyone says the Rockies need starting pitching. Heck, the Rockies say it. That being the case, it’s puzzling to see lefty Brett Anderson’s name in possible trade reports, although teams would be sensible to check on his availability.

Anderson missed 16 starts with a broken left index finger, and injuries have been an issue throughout his career. But let’s look at his two starts since coming off the disabled list: 1) Clearly rusty and still with little experience at Coors Field, he gave up five runs in the first inning against the Twins at home in the final game before the All-Star break. But he got through six with just one additional run. 2) At Pittsburgh, lacking his best stuff, Anderson pitched with savvy and professionalism and held a lineup for a contending club to one run in seven innings.

Once again, do you trade this top-end ability for guys whose best may or may not arrive at all or may or may not arrive at Coors Field?

Of course, there is a money issue. Anderson has a $12 million club option for 2015, or a $1.5 million buyout. If the Rockies believe that they’re a good team that has been ruined by injuries, it stands to reason that they pay the money and hope to be healthy next season.

–Well, we’ve laid out how the Rockies are leaning against dealing Tulo and CarGo, are likely to wait until after the season to address the catching situation, and have plenty of reasons not to deal De La Rosa or Anderson. So where do they get the young pitching they crave?

They’ll listen when teams discuss outfielder Drew Stubbs. The Mariners are the hot rumor. They’ll also listen to offers for righty pitcher LaTroy Hawkins. But there will be debate about how much a team is willing to give up for Stubbs, whose home/road splits and low on-base percentage history are concerning, and Hawkins, who is fit and effective but also 41.

Still, being in a pennant race makes giving up valuable pitching prospects sound like a better idea. So we’ll see. If Stubbs or Hawkins don’t bring offers of top-level prospects, the Rockies still must listen. This year’s injuries exposed a startling lack of starting depth, and they have to get it from somewhere.

– Thomas Harding

Teams inquire about Rockies’ Fowler

The idea that the Cardinals and Rockies would discuss a trade involving shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was the big rumor going into the General Managers Meetings in Orlando this week, but that never happened. However, industry sources said several teams inquired about the availability of center fielder Dexter Fowler. As the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reported this week, the Rockies have asked Carlos Gonzalez, who has extensive experience in center, if he would switch from left to center if Fowler is dealt.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com explains the Rockies’ position, and his report involving the Mets and first baseman Ike Davis could point to a possibility, and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com (via Twitter) identifies the Mariners as a suitor. ESPN Insider AJ Mass reports that the Reds and Rockies have talked, with three-time Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips possibly coming to Denver, and the Reds moving speedy Billy Hamilton from center field to second.

But the Rockies have a lot of thinking to do before dealing Fowler. Although Fowler suffered finger, ankle and knee injuries and saw his numbers drop (.263, .369 OBP, .407 SLG, after .300/.389/.474 in 2012), the Rockies aren’t forgetting his .399 OBP before he was hit on the right hand by a pitch in June and the spiral began. Fowler also finished with 12 home runs, one shy of his career high, in 119 games.

The Rockies are already seeking a power bat for a corner position, either right field or first base, help in the starting rotation and a hard-throwing veteran for their bullpen. Any deal would most likely have to address one of the existing needs and replacing Fowler.

Fowler is due $7.35 million in 2014, and is still under club control for 2015.

In other Rockies Hot Stove-related developments:

–The Rockies, who have depended on the Draft and player development (more successfully in the past than with the current team), are reluctant to lose a 2014 pick by signing a player who received a qualifying offer from his former club. It wouldn’t hurt the Rockies as much as another team because the pick would be their second-highest rather than the first-rounder because the Rockies select in the top 10. Still, if the Rockies fill their corner bat hole through free agency, it will more likely be a player that doesn’t cost compensation — for example, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Corey Hart — than Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz or Mike Napoli, all of whom turned down qualifying offers.

– The Rockies made a play for catcher Carlos Ruiz but got sticker shock after hearing rumors he had received a two-year, $20 million offer, but they continue to monitor the situation and could be in play if the bidding doesn’t go that high.

– Thomas Harding

11/12 Late-night Roundup

The second day of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando got off to a quick start, as the Phillies and outfielder Marlon Byrd agreed a two-year, $16-million deal.

Byrd, 36, hit .291/.336/.518 last season with the Mets and Pirates and now returns to the organization where he played his first 3 1/2 seasons after being a 10th-round selection in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft.

While that was the day’s only significant transaction, there was no shortage of other news, including a late-breaking rumor that has the Phillies making an even bigger splash.

NL East

  •  The Phillies are discussing a deal that would bring Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista to Philadelphia for a package including outfielder Domonic Brown, according to Howard Eskin of FOX 29 TV and WIP radio in Philadelphia.
  • The subject of trade speculation only a year after the Nationals acquired him from the Twins, center fielder Denard Span is hoping to return to Washington.
  • The Mets are looking for outfielders, with free agent Curtis Granderson representing one appealing option.

NL Central

  • While rumors continue to swirl about the Cardinals executing a blockbuster deal for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, our Jenifer Langosch plays down the likelihood of that scenario. St. Louis could choose to sign a free agent such as Stephen Drew or orchestrate a trade for a shortstop who wouldn’t demand such a hefty return.
  • Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer confirmed his club’s interest in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and acknowledged that other teams have asked about Chicago righty Jeff Samardzija.

NL West

  • The Rockies offered free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz a two-year deal worth about $15 million, according to The Denver Post’s Troy Renck, but it seems that won’t be enough to entice Ruiz to Colorado. Renck writes that the veteran backstop has a two-year, $20 million offer from another, unspecified club.
  • The Padres could consider trading third baseman Chase Headley if they can’t agree on a contract extension to keep him in San Diego beyond this season, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes.

AL East

  • The Yankees’ David Robertson isn’t a lock to inherit the ninth inning from the retired Mariano Rivera, with general manager Brian Cashman saying he will explore the free-agent and trade markets for relievers, including closers.

  • The Yankees’ reported interest in free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran is legit, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch hears.
  • The Blue Jays have some money to spend and could look to use it on a free agent starting pitcher.
  • Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal speculates that the Red Sox could be the frontrunners for Ruiz.

AL Central

  • The White Sox are prepared to welcome back Paul Konerko for his 16th season with the club, but Konerko remains undecided about his future.
  • The Indians have interest in free-agent closers Fernando Rodney and Brian Wilson, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • According to Heyman, the Twins are exploring a reunion with free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, whom they took in the third round of the 1994 Draft. Pierzynski, however, figures to have several suitors, including the Phillies.
  • Meanwhile, Minnesota may be closer to signing veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardi.

AL West

  • Heyman reports that multiple teams are interested in Astros catcher Jason Castro, who hit .276/.350/.485 with 18 home runs last season. Our Brian McTaggart downplays the likelihood of a Castro trade, however.
  • The Mariners would like to add free-agent outfielders Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who also reports that their interest in Jacoby Ellsbury is lower.

– Andrew Simon

Tulo to Cards a Hot Stove rumor too hot not to talk about

Top representatives of the Rockies and the Cardinals will be in the same place, Orlando, during the MLB Generals Managers Meetings. So does two plus two equal a trade of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Cardinals?

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak spoke to SiriusXM Radio’s Jim Bowden on Sunday morning, and Bowden tweeted that the Cards are willing to trade a starting pitcher for  shortstop who will be under team control for years. Tulowtizki is 29 and signed through 2020, and the Cards can afford the $134 million he is owed over the life of his contract.

The possibility of talks is too hot for the Hot Stove rumor mill to ignore, even though Rockies owner Dick Monfort has said he has no plans to trade Tulowitzki (or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, for that matter), and no other club official has said privately or publicly that the team would deal Tulowitzki for multipe parts. FoxSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal last week called a deal that would sent Tulo to the Cards a “longshot.” However, he suggests the Cards give up first baseman Allen Craig, right-handed starter and National League Rookie of the Year candidate Shelby Miller and righty closer Trevor Rosenthal for Tulowitzki.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote Sunday that the teams were expected to talk about a possible deal, adding that the teams have had informal talks. Passan reported that the Cards are unlikely to trade Craig, but Matt Adams (who played first when Craig was injured late in the regular season and held the job during the World Series when a hobbled Craig returned) could be in play. Yahoo! reports the Cards could turn to the Rangers and try to procure Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also suggests that the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera, the D-backs Didi Gregorius or free-agent Stephen Drew could replace Pete Kozma as the Cards’ shortstop.

– Thomas Harding

 

 

How would Carlos Beltran look in purple pinstripes?

Open-market musings:

How would Carlos Beltran look in right field for the Rockies?

The club is weighing various options in free agency, with a big bat being one of the priorities. While trads are an option, the Rockies are more likely to go the free agency route. That’s what they did two years ago when they signed Michael Cuddyer, who paid off for them by winning the National League batting title this year.

Don’t be surprised if the Rockies don’t at least seriously consider making a run at Beltran, who made his first World Series appearance this year while with the Cardinals. He’ll be 37 to start next season, but was quite productive in 2013 — .296, .339 OPB, .491 SLG. Those aren’t far from the numbers over his career. With a team that includes Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Cuddyer, it could be a fit. He could come in at two years and $30 million, as the MLB Trade Rumors Web site predicts. The Rockies had interest in him in the past.

Of course, there are many was for the Rockies to spend their money on a slugger, who can fit in at either first base or right field with Cuddyer playing the other position. Nelson Cruz, who is expected to turn down the Rangers’ qualifying offer and test the market, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, James Loney (.338, nine home runs, 54 RBIs, .957 OPS in 55 games at Coors Field) and Corey Hart also could fit the bill. Brian McCann can catch and play first base, but at the top of his earning value in terms of money and years it’s doubtful the Rockies will be a serious competitor for his services.

The Rockies will attempt to bring in a pitching leader, and are expected to inquire about Tim Hudson — despite the fact the Braves, Royals, Indians and and Red Sox have already identified themselves as contenders — and Josh Johnson. The price figures to be high for Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, as SI.com and others report, but the Rockies need a stalwart and can’t be counted out in those sweepstakes. Matt Garza, who could score big in free agency, and Jason Vargas also could be possibilities.

Also, add the name of righty reliever Jesse Crain to the list of publicly identified free-agency targets. The Denver Post has identified Brian Wilson, Grant Balfour, Joe Smith and Jose Veras as bullpen possibilities. ESPNNewYork.com reported the club is looking at LaTroy Hawkins.

The Rockies are also pursuing free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, although the Phillies are making a push to keep him. If the Rockies sign him, the intriguing situation is what becomes of catcher Wilin Rosario, a slugger who doesn’t have Ruiz’s experience or ability defensively.

– Thomas Harding

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.

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.

Stewart not in lineup for opener

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was healthy enough to be on the roster for the Friday afternoon opener against the D-backs, but not healthy enough to start.

Ty Wigginton, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gets the start at third, and Jose Lopez, acquired in a trade with the Mariners, will start at second.

There had been talk of infield utility man Jonathan Herrera, who had an outstanding spring, (.371, four triples) getting the nod, possibly ahead of Lopez, but that was not to be. Herrera will be a versatile hitter off the bench.

Here’s the lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Seth Smith, RF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ty Wigginton, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Chris Iannetta, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

– Thomas Harding

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