The Colorado Rockies are acquiring righty Wilton Lopez in a trade with the Houston Astros, in exchange for pitchers Alex White and Alex Gillingham, according to a tweet from the club's official feed. The Rockies are also getting a player to be named later or cash considerations.
A priority for the Rockies during this offseason is pitching; and despite the fact team executives have repeatedly said their answers might come from within the organization, they are also trying to add pitching help via trades. Lopez fits the bill as a proven setup man, something badly needed in a bullpen which has lacked a consistent presence in that department. Anyone who watched the Rockies last season will remember the piggyback relievers which took the mound during the short-lived four-man rotation experiment.
However, there are questions regarding the 29-year-old's health. He was close to joining the Phillies last month before the deal was called off. Lopez had a 2.17 ERA in 66? innings of work with Houston, with 54 strikeouts and 10 saves.
Lopez would be mostly seen as setting up the stage for Rafael Betancourt, who saved 31 games for the Rockies last year.
This article originally appeared at Baseball Nation.
Well, for the second straight December, and the second time in two weeks, the Astros have traded away a closer. Wilton Lopez is headed to the Rockies in exchange for right-handed starter Alex White and Low A right-hander Alex Gillingham. Houston will also send a player to be named to the Rockies.
The deal broke quickly Tuesday night, with the names coming out shortly after the deal was announced. White is the biggest piece for Hosuton, as he is a major league ready arm who figures to slot into the rotation next season. Here's John Sickels' scouting report on him from July 2011, when he was included in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal:
White's fastball has a lot of sink and reaches 93-94 on his best days. He'll mix in a slider, but his out-pitch is a plus splitter. I rated him a Grade B+ pre-season and see no reason to change that right now.
Bill James projects White to throw 148 innings next season with a 6.5 strikeout per nine rate and 3.83 walks per nine. Control has been a problem for White in his brief pro tenure, and I wonder what getting out of the Colorado confines may do for his numbers. He's a big ground ball guy and fits into the profile of guys Houston is developing.
Gillingham is another 2011 draftee that Luhnow has mined in these trades. He's got to run out of them eventually, right?
What do you think? Is this enough for Lopez? Does this blow you away like the Jed Lowrie deal did last season? If White provides the numbers like James projects, is it worth it?
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has been rather quiet at this year's annual meetings thus far, but stated that he did not intend to leave Nashville empty handed. The first move he makes could be a Wilton Lopez trade to the Colorado Rockies according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. No word yet on who the Astros may acquire in the Deal. Renck mentioned that the Astros like Parker Frazier but then later stated that Frazier would not be in any potential deal, but that the Rockies would look to send two young pitchers the Astros way.
This marks the second time this offseason that rumors have surfaced involving a potential Wilton Lopez trade. The 29-year-old was almost traded to the Phillies last month before the deal stalled. No official word was given from the Astros on the Phillies deal, but it was rumored that the Phillies backed out after concerns over Wilton's elbow.
Lopez would provide a boost to a Rockies bullpen that posted a combined 4.52 ERA in 2012, though part of that high ERA was due to the team's creativity in piggybacking relievers. It appears now that they are looking to bring in a proven veteran in Lopez to help anchor the bullpen in the later innings.
As for the Astros, it appears that they will acquire two young pitching prospects from the Rockies, though no word yet on who they might be. We will keep you posted.
Let's get this one moving...
At his daily press conference, Jeff Luhnow seemed downright loquacious, saying that he could make two moves by tomorrow. Of course, he qualifies this by also saying that sometimes, you have five deals lined up and get none of them done, while other times, you get three or four.
Start speculating all you want, but my money is on Jed Lowrie to the A's. Luhnow wouldn't comment on it, which makes me think something is up there. May not happen, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sean prove correct on that one.
Troy Renck, Rockies beat writer extraordinairre, tweeted out confirmation that the Rockies and Astros are close to a deal for Wilton Lopez. Renck throws out the name of Parker Frazier as someone the Astros have been eyeing.
Frazier is a non-hard throwing right-hander who was drafted out of high school in 2007. He gets ground balls, but not at a spectacular rate and has pretty good control. Seems cut out of the Cloyd mold to me.
Scratch that. As quickly as Frazier's name surfaced, it disappeared. Apparently, two non-Frazier pitchers will head to Houston. I'd be thrilled if one of them is Rex Brothers.
Only tangentially Astro-related, but both Tim Bogar and Mike Hampton have joined the staff of the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A team for the Angels. Bogar reportedly turned down a deal to join the Astros as a bench coach because he didn't like the contract language about not trying for MLB jobs during the course of said contract.
Nice to see Hampy, who just turned 40, land on his feet too. I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up as a ML pitching coach one day.
Whoo, boy. That was a big deal Haren ended up signing, balky shoulder and all. The pitching rich Nationals signed him to a one year, $13 million deal on Tuesday. The right-hander posted a 4.33 ERA last season to go with a SIERA of 3.87 and 142 strikeouts in 176 innings.
If we're putting pitcher salaries on a scale, the one year deals start here and drop down to Jason Marquis' $3 million deal yesterday. So, if Houston wants a guy like Jair Jurjjens, I'm guessing he'll be closer to Haren than the bottom.
Why? This makes no sense, but apparently the Diamondbacks had to lock up a first baseman who couldn't hit .200 last season. Maybe we're just glad he wasn't out there for the Astros to pick up?
Third baseman David Wright has agreed to a monster contract extension with the Mets, which should be announced on Wednesday, assuming he passes his physical. Wright will be another in a long line of players now to pass the $120 million range, with his salary clocking in at eight years and $138 million.
The Flyin' Hawaiian is helping thin the center field market, signing with Boston for three years and $39 million, or exactly what the Red Sox gave Mike Napoli yesterday. Of course, this opens up all sorts of scenarios now. What do the Red Sox do with Jacoby Ellsbury? Where does Cody Ross end up? Could he become the Astros outfield/DH option? It also helps confirm that Michael Bourn should probably end up with north of $10 million per year, since he's the superior player to both Victorino and Angel Pagan, who earned $13 million and $10 million respectively. Will Bourn end up at $14 or $15 million?
Yep, they've been linked to everyone. There is a strong rumor that the Mariners are going to agree to a deal with Jason Bay, though his agents backed off on that one later in the day. There are persistent rumors saying they're in on Josh Hamilton, too. They've also checked in on Michael Bourn and other outfielders. It appears the M's are looking to upgrade their offense any way they can.
It appears all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about Josh Hamilton leaving Texas will be for naught, since the two sides are close to a deal that will bring him back to Arlington. I haven't seen any figures, but I'd be more interested in how long the deal will run for. I'm wondering if Nolan leveraged that situation into just giving him a four-year deal. There's conflicting reports here, but with how soft the market for Hamilton has been, I wouldn't be surprised by this outcome.
In another trade that may be consummated soon, the Tampa Bay Rays will send Derek Dietrich (who was drafted and not signed by the Astros once upon a time) to the Marlins for Escobar. It'd be the second time this offseason the controversial Escobar has been traded. Nice bit of buying low by the Rays.
The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays completed a trade sending Yunel Escobar to the Rays in return for minor league prospect Derek Dietrich.
Rays close to deal for Yunel Escobar. Derek Dietrich goes to Marlins— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 5, 2012
There is no word yet on whether Dietrich is the only player coming back from the Rays to the Fish. Dietrich was rated as a C+ prospect by Minor League Ball's John Sickels before the season began, but he did well for himself in 2012 by hitting .282/.343/.468 (.367 wOBA) in High-A before earning a late-season promotion to Double-A. In Double-A, he hit a decent .271/.324/.429 (.346 wOBA) that rated as ten percent better than the league average by wRC+.
Dietrich is a college product from the Georgia Institute of Technology, so he comes a little more polished and may end up splitting time between Double- and Triple-A this year should he arrive with the Marlins. He is expected to eventually move to third base, giving the Marlins yet another potential third baseman with some pop (career minor league ISO of .192). But he is still a lightly-regarded prospect and the Marlins would be sending off a fairly decent asset in Escobar, even with his baggage.
Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more details as they develop.
The Miami Marlins have shed another bit of salary and rid themselves of a potentially useful trade asset in trading away Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays for middle infield prospect Derek Dietrich. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, this deal is indeed complete.
Escobar leaves the Marlins after having come to the Fish in the mega-trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and others to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Fish acquired Escobar with the thought of moving him to third base, with fellow acquisition Adeiny Hechavarria manning shortstop. But as soon as the Fish picked up Escobar, it seemed the team was quite willing to trade him and his very team-friendly contract. The Marlins were hooked for only $5 million in 2013 with team options at $5 million a season for 2014 and 2015.
The attractive contract is part of what made Escobar such an interesting trade commodity, but it seems the Marlins may have sold low in the deal with the Rays. Dietrich was a C+ rated prospect heading into 2012 by John Sickels, and while his season in High-A was quite good, he struggled in a 149 PA stint in Double-A at age 23. Plate discipline seems to be a problem for him, as he struggled with strikeouts (21.9 percent strikeout rate in the minors) and walks (6.2 percent). Still, as a college product, the Marlins may have figured he would be ready sooner and may be able to fill the third base void sooner.
Fish Stripes will have more on the breakdown of this trade tomorrow morning, but it seems at the moment that the Marlins got a lesser return because they settled too early on an offer. For a player as valuable as Escobar, even with his character issues, the team probably should not have settled on this deal.
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