Thursday Rockpile: Rockies close to deal with Jim Tracy, negotiating with Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt among others

Okay, so from Troy E. Renck's article about the state of Jim Tracy's contract negotiations, which currently seems to be pointing to a three year extension, there are several other tidbits, most of which we already knew but with a little more detail added:

 

  • Dan O'Dowd will likely get an extension for at least as long, which would leave the team's leadership in place through at least the 2012 season. 
  • The Rockies want to retain Rafael Betancourt and Yorvit Torrealba, but not at the salary of their 2010 team options ($5.4 million and $4 million, respectively) meaning both options are going to be declined. The new bit of information seems to be that in order to retain Betancourt, the team might be amenable to a multi-year deal, but the same isn't suggested with Torrealba.
  • Torrealba "isn't guaranteed" a starting position over Chris Iannetta, and may look at the free agent market for a deal. Even without Torrealba, it's looking like a relatively robust catching market this season, with several free agent options and a couple of trade possibilities such as Arizona's Chris Snyder for teams to choose from, so I like the Rockies chances of either being able to retain Yorvit at a lower cost than his option, or get an adequate replacement if they can't.
  • The Rockies want to lock in Huston Street and Clint Barmes to multi-year deals, and have already put an offer on the table for Street.

 

Renck also gives a World Series notes column with a few of the Rockies picks for the WS.

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Inside the Rockies has some interesting notes lately too:

The Rockies draft was rated number one by Baseball America. Tyler Matzek, Nolan Arenado and Chris Balcom-Miller seemed to be a big help for this initial ranking. If Rex Brothers and Tim Wheeler start showing what they're capable of in their first full seasons in 2010, we'll know that the ranking was justified. 

Tracy Ringolsby gives his take on the above options decisions, as well as the two more obvious declines with Jason Giambi and Alan Embree, and says that the offer to Betancourt will likely be for two years.

He also notes that the situation for left handed relief for the Rockies to start 2010 will likely be a combination of Franklin Morales, Randy Flores and prospect Matt Reynolds rather than Joe Beimel. Retaining Flores would involve dealing with arbitration, but he's never made more than $800,000 in any season, and is coming off of a season where he only threw 12 MLB innings on a $600,000 contract, so it could probably be expected for him to sign somewhere in that range. All three combined will likely cost less than the $2.25 million that Embree made in 2009, and the full season savings should be better spent retaining Street and Betancourt. As for performance, Flores' career splits vs left handed batters aren't that far off of Beimel's, and while Embree's career against them has been solid, he imploded against left handers for the Rockies in 2009 before a line drive to leg cost him much of the season. It's easy to see how cheap is the preferable course for the Rockies here.

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