ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies, perhaps looking to see if beefing up at catcher could help their young rotation, have expressed interest in the Rangers' Jonathan Lucroy, Major League sources said Tuesday. However, there was no indication that this interest has produced extensive trade talks.The Rockies have not commented on
ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies, perhaps looking to see if beefing up at catcher could help their young rotation, have expressed interest in the Rangers' Jonathan Lucroy, Major League sources said Tuesday. However, there was no indication that this interest has produced extensive trade talks.
The Rockies have not commented on the possible pursuit of Lucroy, or any player, with the non-waiver Trade Deadline set for Monday.
Lucroy, in the final year of a six-year, $15.5 million contract, also has attracted the interest of the Cubs, according to reports, and would be of help to any contending club seeking an experienced catcher.
The Rockies, who entered Tuesday with a five-game lead for one of the National League Wild Card positions, like the energy and athletic ability of Tony Wolters, but the second-year catcher is 25 and working with as many as four rookies in the starting rotation. Wolters has veteran help in backup Ryan Hanigan, 36, whose knowledge of pitch-calling has filled in some experience blanks.
Other catchers who are on the Rockies' radar are the Braves' Kurt Suzuki and the Tigers' Alex Avila, but Colorado understands that a valued commodity could take more than the club has to give. The Rockies are known to be seeking late-innings relievers to help primary setup man Jake McGee and closer Greg Holland.
• Ideally for the Rockies, they would trade for a closer-type. They extensively scouted Tigers lefty closer Justin Wilson, who entered Tuesday with 55 strikeouts against 16 walks in 39 1/3 innings this season, and Orioles righty Brad Brach, who has 16 saves and 46 strikeouts against 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings.
Of course, that doesn't end the list of controllable pitchers the Rockies could pursue. They've been monitoring Orioles lefty closer Zach Britton, who is pitching well after missing time this season with a left forearm injury, and Marlins righty closer AJ Ramos, who would bring a high strikeout rate (10.8 per nine innings) but also a high walk rate (4.9 per nine).
Relief pitching is the Rockies' biggest need. What isn't clear is what they are willing to give up. These teams, especially, are said to be seeking youthful power prospects.
The Rockies have some power -- middle infielder Brendan Rodgers (the Majors' ninth-ranked prospect and team's top prospect, according to the MLBPipeline.com midseason rankings), corner infielder Ryan McMahon (No. 67 overall, No. 3 Rockies), and outfielder David Dahl, who is coming back from a rib injury that has kept him out of the Majors this season. But they have to balance the current need against the future.
• Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster returned to the team Tuesday, after experiencing chest pains while going for a run early Monday morning. Foster spent the night at Mercy Heart Hospital and returned after passing a series of tests. Foster, 50, said the fact his father had a heart attack at 48 led to the extra precaution.
"They ruled out there was any heart episode, and they ruled out any clotting in the lungs through the blood tests that they gave me throughout the night," Foster said. "They said to be very careful because of the family history. They gave me a clean bill of health."
Foster said he was told to be careful in St. Louis' heat, but he promptly went out to Busch Stadium to watch right-hander German Marquez's throwing session.
• The Rockies recalled right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned righty Jairo Diaz to Albuquerque before Tuesday night's game.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.