I'm happy for both of these deals. I'm really glad to have Torrealba back, without having to get into a bidding war for him. We can see how Ianetta can do with a half season or so in Colorado Springs, and we have Yorvit to remain a calming influence on the young, Latin guys. And Herges was huge in the bullpen down the stretch last year.
Deals in place for key cogs in playoff run
Torrealba, Herges OK deals with Colorado
By Troy E. Renck and Patrick Saunders
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 11/29/2007 02:13:52 AM MST
Catcher Yorvit Torrealba and reliever Matt Herges have reached contract agreements with the Rockies and returned to Denver on Wednesday for physicals, multiple sources told The Denver Post. Pending the outcome of the physicals, the deals are expected to be announced today.
With Major League Baseball's winter meetings opening Monday in Nashville, Tenn., those additions leave second base as the club's only huge focus. Kazuo Matsui, a key component of the Rockies' run to the World Series, is expected to sign with either the Astros or the Cubs this week.
Torrealba consistently delivered clutch hits during the playoffs and earned the respect of the entire pitching staff with his game-calling skills. He was especially important to the development of the Rockies' two young Latino starters, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales.
Torrealba is expected to sign a two-year deal for approximately $7 million, with an option year.
There is no concern his right shoulder will sabotage the deal. The Post learned Wednesday that Torrealba did not fail a physical with the Mets, something that had been speculated. Two weeks ago, Torrealba was closing in on a three-year, $15 million deal with the Mets. However, that deal fell through at the last minute when the Mets reversed course and traded for veteran catcher Johnny Estrada.
Re-signing Herges, a bullpen mainstay during the final two months of the regular season and in the playoffs, was one of the Rockies' top offseason priorities. Herges was 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 35 appearances with Colorado.
The Rockies originally offered Herges a one-year deal for about 2 million. However, with the recent windfalls for free-agent relievers, the Rockies' new offer is expected to include a club option year.
General manager Dan O'Dowd declined to comment on the expected signing of Herges and Torrealba. O'Dowd did say the Rockies remain interested in re-signing setup man LaTroy Hawkins and will look to replace Matsui.
Matt Herges looks like he's returning to the Rockies' bullpen in 2008. (Post file)
"We are always looking for pitching depth," O'Dowd said. "So that will be part of the winter meetings. And then there is our second-base situation, because it looks like Kaz is going to sign with somebody else."
O'Dowd said that although the Rockies have several internal candidates to fill second — Jamey Carroll, Omar Quintanilla, Clint Barmes, Jeff Baker, Ian Stewart and Jayson Nix — the club will be on the lookout for a veteran during the winter meetings. One possibility could be free agent Mark Loretta, 36, who played with Houston this past season. He's a player the Rockies have liked in the past.
"If we can create competition for those internal candidates, without blocking their path completely, we will certainly do that," O'Dowd said.