Rockies move on after pursuit of Trumbo
DENVER -- The Rockies talked with the Mariners about power-hitting first baseman Mark Trumbo, but a Major League source said Tuesday morning that talks had already died. By Tuesday evening, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli had reported the Mariners traded Trumbo to the Orioles.
The Mariners and the Rockies were linked in part because of Trumbo's position and his history of right-handed power.
Since the end of the season, the Rockies declined the 2016 option for veteran Justin Morneau and designated for assignment Wilin Rosario, who began 2015 as the right-handed complement to Morneau. Also on Tuesday, Rosario refused outright assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque and opted for free agency.
The moves leave the Rockies with left-handed-hitting Ben Paulsen, who has had productive stretches over parts of two seasons, with an .809 OPS in 147 combined games, including a .261 average with a .778 OPS against left-handed pitching. Last year, however, he dipped to .235 with a .554 OPS against lefties in just 39 plate appearances. At the end of the year, manager Walt Weiss said Paulsen had better at-bats against lefties than the numbers indicated. But the flirtation with Trumbo is an indication that the lure of a righty power hitter exists.
In other developments:
• The Rockies are expected to tender 2016 contracts to all of their current arbitration-eligible players -- star third baseman Nolan Arenado, 2015 All-Star second baseman DJ LeMahieu, regular center fielder Charlie Blackmon, right-handed starting pitcher Jordan Lyles and right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino, who was the team's closer in 2015 before suffering a season-ending right elbow injury.
The Rockies did all their non-tendering of arbitration-eligible players early, by designating Rosario, right-handed closer John Axford and lefty reliever Rex Brothers (who was traded to the Cubs) for assignment. Previously, they outrighted catcher Michael McKenry, who elected free agency.
Those decisions saved the club slightly more than $12 million in projected arbitration-induced payouts for 2016. All weren't strictly money decisions, however. The Rockies attempted to re-sign Axford, but they parted ways with him when the sides couldn't come to an agreement.
• The Rockies' signing of outfielder Brandon Barnes last week to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration will pay him a $1 million base salary, plus the opportunity to earn $100,000 in incentives -- $50,000 for 300 plate appearances and $50,000 for 120 games played.