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Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies bring in first new face to the roster by signing Miguel Olivo

That's right:  it is nearly three months into the offseason, and Rockies fans finally get to see a player new to the organization.  Naturally, the big three Rockies beat writers dusted off their laptops to chime in with the story:

New Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo provides power, strong throwing arm to replace Torrealba - The Denver Post (Troy Renck)

Inside the Colorado Rockies " Olivo in, Torrealba out at catcher | Major League Baseball in Denver (Tracy Ringolsby)

Rockies ink one-year deal with Olivo | News (Thomas Harding)

Yorvit Torrealba was priority number one in the catcher department.  The Rockies were even reaching to the point of offering him the same years/money that Jason Kendall got with Kansas City, and he will be the unquestioned starter for the Royals.  With Yorvit still somehow unhappy, Dan O'Dowd was forced to move to Plan B (I'm not talking about emergency birth control or the Mute Math song, though the thought of either is funny for some reason.  Perhaps I'm adversely affected by the sulfuric emissions from hot springs...back on topic).

I wish Yorvit had come back.  I really do, even considering it would spawn another year or two of catcher wars, so that suggests a lot of hope for his return.  But it just didn't make sense to continue compromising while Yorvit's camp stood still.  For those that think the Rockies should have done more to make Yorvit happy, it's not just I that feel quite the opposite.  Note Tracy Ringolsby's first paragraph:

The Colorado Rockies tried to find a common ground in negotiations to bring back Yorvit Torrealba. Torrealba, however, was reluctant to make concessions, and the Rockies decided to move on.

O'Dowd states that the starter will be decided in Spring Training, so if you believe that quote, the signing doesn't mean Iannetta is the unquestioned starter as some have suggested.  Still, his skill set more mirrors Iannettas, with a few more singles and the walks practically eliminated.  I have a hard time seeing Olivo beating Iannetta at his own game.

Olivo carries two skills that far surpass Torrealba - power (he was 2nd to Joe Mauer in catcher home runs) and arm strength.  His power, as is with most players, goes in spurts.  Click here and sort by SLG.

Naturally, finances is another aspect of the deal.  As Harding reported, it is a one-year $2mil deal with a $500k buyout and $2.5mil option year.  This is a perfect structure if the Rockies are hoping for Mike McKenry to arrive in 2011.  

The Rockies may have downgraded their catcher position slightly, but with all the cards on the table, this was undoubtedly the right move.  I think I wrote that a couple weeks ago.


More links after the jump.


Giants Sign Juan Uribe: MLB Rumors -
San Francisco has finally inked the former Rockie after weeks of redundant rumors that a deal was close.  The deal makes sense, as Uribe is coming off a career year and is solid insurance in the infield.

La Russa says deal or no deal this week -  Tony La Russa does his best Howie Mandel impersonation, suggesting Holliday take the money or move on to someone else's suitcase.


Pitching prospects who might be keepers
Harry Pavlidis of Beyond the Boxscore waded through all the stats to find four keys to evaluating the staying power of a minor league pitching prospect.  Presented at the Hardball Times, he looked for pitchers with over 700PA who stand out in:

  • strikeouts per 100 PA (K100)
  • non-intentional walks and hit batters per 100 PA (BH100)
  • Groundball rate (GB)
  • Home runs per fly ball + line drive (HRFL)
  • Twenty-nine pitchers fit the bill, with Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio being the only Rockies appear.  For the record, Christian Friedrich met the requisite number of PAs but his numbers fell just short of appearing.