For the last month, the Rockies have been trying in vain to sure up their bullpen. They were in discussions with Seattle about a trade for closer David Aardsma, but the offensively challenged Mariners were probably asking for one of the Rockies’ young outfielders. Colorado was unwilling to meet their request. Before failing to acquire Aardsma, the Rox were rejected by Rich Harden when he opted to sign with the A’s. Harden wanted another chance to start and the Rockies needed him in the pen. Reliever Matt Guerrier also turned down the Rox and signed with the Dodgers. Now, according to Troy Renck, the organization has turned its sights towards Aaron Heilman.
Honestly, Heilman would be an underwhelming addition to the bullpen. From 2005-2007, Heilman was very effective pitching in relief for the Mets, but has been mediocre ever since. His stuff isn’t particularly impressive and he has average control. During his most successful years, he was adept at inducing groundballs, but his ground-out to fly-out ratio has decreased dramatically over the last three seasons. Last year for the Diamondbacks, Heilman gave up 73 hits in 72 innings pitched, while compiling a 4.50 ERA. The Rockies would be better off filling the open bullpen spot with a young player already in the organization. Rex Brothers, Bruce Billings and Samuel Deduno are potential options.
Another name that has been mentioned in association with the Rockies is that of former Milwaukee Brewer Todd Coffey. Coffey throws gas and was dominant for the Brewers in 2009. However, he struggled in 2010. Still, his upside makes him a better option than Heilman. Plus, his sprint in from the bullpen is extremely entertaining.
After several unsuccessful attempts to acquire a veteran back up for Chris Iannetta, the Rockies traded for another inexperienced catcher from the Twins. They gave minor league pitcher Paul Bargas to Minnesota and received switch-hitting catcher Jose Morales in return. Morales hit .196 in 36 ABs last season.
The organization now has five catchers on its forty man roster. Promising prospects, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco, were added in November to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, but neither is an option as back-up catcher next season. Rosario had reconstructive surgery on his knee and will get a late start to 2010. Pacheco needs more time in the minors before he is ready. That leaves recently acquired Matt Pagnozzi, Mike McKenry, and Morales to compete for the second catcher spot. Currently, Pagnozzi is not on the forty-man; he was signed to a minor league contract. McKenry is a top rated prospect with excellent defensive skills, but his bat still needs some work and the organization may opt to send him to Colorado Springs where he can be an everyday player.
Topics: Aaron Heilman, Bruce Billings, Chris Iannetta, David Aardsma, Jordan Pacheco, Jose Morales, Matt Guerrier, Matt Pagnozzi, Mike McKenry, Rex Brothers, Rich Harden, Samuel Deduno, Todd Coffey, Troy Renck, Wilin Rosario