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Rockies could continue to improve the bullpen in free agency

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Colorado Rockies news and notes for Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Rockies could really use Joe Blanton | FanGraphs

Travis Sawchik, noting the Rockies’ propensity for/need of slider heavy pitchers at Coors Field, makes the case for Joe Blanton in the bullpen. Blanton was one of the more effective relievers in the Dodgers bullpen not named “Jansen,” and yet teams are reporting to camp and he still doesn’t have a team. Maybe the Rockies could get a good deal for him, which is what it would take for them to have the payroll to add even more to the bullpen. As for who they might release to make room for him...

Motte, Qualls healthy, ready for bullpen battle | Rockies.com

Speaking of free agent relievers, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls have a battle ahead of them to make good on their two-year deals from last offseason. They can have the right mindset all they want, but it comes down to turning around some pretty poor numbers (Motte: 4.94 ERA in 30 games; Qualls: 5.23 ERA in 44 games). Fortunately, the likelihood that they are tasked with any more than middle relief is pretty low at this point.

Kyle Freeland, from Thomas Jefferson High, pushing for Rockies’ rotation | Denver Post

Pretty much the only other battle for roster spots is at the back end of the rotation. Kyle Freeland was drafted eighth overall out of the University of Evansville in 2014 with thoughts that he would rise quickly through the Rockies system. Injuries have slowed that but last year across Double-A and Triple-A he had a 3.89 ERA with a 6.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 162 innings. Of course he has a shot to make the rotation, but it’s far more likely he begins the year back at AAABQ.

Saunders: Bud Black already putting his personal stamp on Rockies spring training | Denver Post

I fully admit I, like many, were very skeptical of “Bud Black, Rockies manager.” But so far, albeit without any games played, I’ve been rather impressed. Saunders has a good rundown of what Black is doing so far to build the clubhouse culture (which matters, by the way, Brian Kenny).

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