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Colorado Rockies re-sign Yohan Flande, Jason Gurka to minor league contracts

The Colorado Rockies brought back two left-handed relief pitchers on minor league deals Monday morning.

Yohan Flande returns to Denver for 2016.
Yohan Flande returns to Denver for 2016.
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies have re-signed left-handed relief pitchers Yohan Flande and Jason Gurka to minor league contracts, according to minor league transactions compiled and published Monday morning by Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

The Rockies also signed two minor league free agents: catcher Cameron Garfield out of an independent league, and outfielder Alex Castellanos, who previously played in Japan.

Flande, 29, appeared in 19 games for the Rockies in 2015 (ten starts), going 3-3 with a 4.74 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.434 WHIP, and a 99 ERA+. In two years in the Major Leagues with Colorado, Flande is now 3-9 with a 4.95 ERA across 35 games (20 starts).

The lefty is significantly better as a reliever, where over the past two years he's logged a 2.77 ERA and a 1.077 WHIP across 26 innings over 15 games. Nevertheless, the Rockies have asked him to start nearly two dozen games between 2014 and 2015 to help a depleted pitching staff; if Flande remains an option as the bullpen's long man, it stands that he'll find success as a strike thrower in a middle relief role.

Gurka, 27, appeared in nine games for the Rockies near the end of 2015, his first Major League experience after eight years in the minor leagues, nearly all of it in the Baltimore Orioles' organization. The lefty put up bad numbers in very limited action in Denver in 2015, but in 35 games split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque last summer, he logged a 2.86 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and just 2.6 BB/9 against 7.6 K/9.

Neither Gurka nor Flande are on the 40-man roster, but both have a shot at seeing time in Denver this coming summer, if only as a testament to the Rockies' perennial quest for both quality pitching depth, and left-handed relievers.

Garfield, 24, was a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009, and the catcher spent seven years in their minor league system before he was released in the middle of 2015 at High-A Brevard County. He caught on with Rockford of the independent Frontier League for 24 games after his release. Across his career, he's slashed .250/.295/.362 over 1,996 plate appearances, reaching as high as Brevard County in three consecutive years.

Castellanos, 29, spent the majority of 2015 in Triple-A Las Vegs in the New York Mets' organization, where he slashed .314/.381/.614 in 79 games, smashing 32 doubles and 16 home runs in 312 plate appearances. He also appeared in six games with Yomiuri of the Japanese Central League. He reached the Major Leagues briefly with the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013, combining to slash .171/.186/.309 over just 43 plate appearances.

None of these four minor league signings impact the Rockies' current 40-man roster.