Wednesday Rockpile: Miguel Olivo Deadline Looms For Colorado Rockies

Russ's Note:  The user interface and Jeff got into a battle, which has yet to turn into Jeff's favor. Below is his Rockpile.

Now that the pesky postseason is done, we can finally shift our focus to the offseason. We'll have plenty of offseason content for you (at least I know that I do), so don't go anywhere. WolfMarauder gave a nice timeline of this year's MLB offseason recently -- and we're almost at the very first event, the declaration of free agency, which occurs 1-5 days after the World Series ends. WM also gave a list of the Rockies who are able to declare free agency without restriction:

- LHP Joe Beimel
- LHP Jorge De La Rosa (Type A)
- IF Jason Giambi
- IF Melvin Mora
- OF Jay Payton

Of those players, De La Rosa is the only player who the Rockies will receive a compensation pick for if they offer him arbitration, he declines, and he signs with another team. I wrote about how free agency compensation works last year. Per WM's article, Colorado must decide whether or not to offer arbitration by the 23rd, with the player needing to decide if they accept by the 30th.

In addition to those five players listed above, the Rockies will have to make other important roster decisions, most notably whether to pick up the options they hold on three players:

- RHP Octavio Dotel ($4.5 million w/ $250 thousand buyout, Club) (Type B)
- LHP Jeff Francis ($7 million, Club)
- C Miguel Olivo ($2.5 million w/ $500 thousand buyout, Club) (Type B)

Dotel is as good as gone and Francis' option will probably be declined but Colorado could bring him back for less money (though they aren't offering much guaranteed money so if he receives a good offer from another team he's gone too). Olivo is the interesting case here. Coming into the offseason, I thought there was no way that the Rockies would decline this option, as Olivo had just spent the year as the starter and had been above league average while the option was cheap. I also thought that the option was mutual (meaning that the Rockies would need Olivo's consent to bring him back) but Troy Renck indicates that Olivo's option is in fact a club option. The deadline for a decision on this option is tomorrow, so we'll know pretty soon if Olivo will be back with the club or not.

As Renck states, there are three real possibilities for the Rockies with Olivo: exercise the option and keep him, decline the option and pay him $500k, or exercise the option and trade him. Declining the option or trading Olivo shows that the team has confidence in Chris Iannetta (even if Tracy doesn't) while keeping Olivo means that Colorado isn't sold on its catching (including Mike McKenry). There's always a team looking for a catcher so I think that despite Olivo's awful second half there would be takers on the trade option (but there's definitely a possibility that O'Dowd wouldn't get the right trade package for him). Personally, I'm pretty pessimistic about Olivo going forward (see my 2010 catcher audit) so I'd lean toward the sign and trade option.

Off-topic over here

More news after the jump

Rockies News

Thomas Harding writes that the Rockies aren't going to make a big splash in free agency, with their biggest potential move likely being the re-signing of De La Rosa and signing/trading for a right-handed bat. As Harding writes, the payroll and team construction will likely be similar in 2011 to 2010, though with the flexibility the Rockies gained through Todd Helton deferring money they will have $15 or so million to spend just to get to last year's payroll amount. I'll have more details on that situation tomorrow when I reveal my preliminary payroll predictions.

Speaking of roster flexibility, the Rockies gained some when they were granted a fourth option year on 2006 first round pick Greg Reynolds since he was injured so much in 2009 and didn't get 60 days of active service. Reynolds had looked pretty good as 2010 wound down, so it's good that the Rockies get another year to see if he can develop into a decent rotation candidate.

Continuing with the 40 man roster, OF Cole Garner was placed on the 40 man roster to stop him from leaving for minor league free agency. This move temporarily fills up the 40 man roster (until players declare free agency they take up spots on the roster). Project LIBRA has more on the 40 man roster if you are interested.

Staying in the minor leagues, ITR has an AFL update -- relief prospects Bruce Billings and Rex Brothers were chosen to pitch in the AFL Rising Stars game.

Finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates plan to speak with former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle about their open job. The rebuilding situation the Pirates face is not an unfamiliar one for Hurdle.

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