Questions swirl as Rockies return to the diamond
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — While most of the Colorado Rockies already are at their spring training facility, shortstop Jose Reyes is a notable exception.
Contact with him has been limited since his Oct. 31 arrest in Hawaii on a domestic-violence charge that could lead to discipline under Major League Baseball’s new domestic-violence policy. He pleaded not guilty to allegations of abusing his wife, and baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes to have a decision on possible sanctions by opening day.
“I hope everything works out for Jose,” manager Walt Weiss said Wednesday. “He brings a certain energy to our club that was nice to see last year. But I’ve got to coach and manage the guys that are here.”
Weiss, whose team is coming off its fifth straight losing season, said he was last in touch with Reyes through text messages around the December holidays. Weiss said if Reyes is out for a significant time, Trevor Story would get a chance to make the opening-day roster.
“It’s kind of a tough situation with the legal implications and everything,” Weiss said.
All-Star second-baseman DJ LeMahieu won’t move to shortstop.
“DJ is entrenched on the other side of the base,” Weiss said.
Troy Tulowitzki spent nearly a decade at shortstop for the Rockies, earning five All-Star selections and two Gold Gloves. He was sent to Toronto in the July deal that brought Reyes, a four-time All-Star who hit only .259 in 47 games in Colorado.
Reyes, due $22 million in each of the next two seasons, is slated for a trial starting April 4, the day the Rockies open the season at Arizona
“I’m sure the guys upstairs feel the same way: We’ve got to work with who’s here,” Weiss said. “The guys that are here are something that we’re going to focus on.”
The 23-year-old Story reached Triple-A last season, and the Rockies seem unconcerned with the possibility they might not push his free agent eligibility back a year, until after the 2022 season, if he makes the roster coming out of spring training and doesn’t go back to the minor leagues.
“There will be some open competition, if Jose is not here,” Weiss said. “That’s a good thing. That’s always a good thing. But as far as the service-time stuff, I don’t think that’s going to play into it.”
Utility infielder Daniel Descalso and 24-year-old Cristhian Adames also are possibilities if Reyes is unavailable.
NOTES: Among newly acquired Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls, who will leave spring training as the closer? Maybe no one. “I’m not sure as I sit here today if we’re going to break camp and I’m going to name a closer,” Weiss said. . Pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals Thursday. The first workout is Friday, and the emphasis will be throwing strikes. The Rockies’ bullpen allowed a major league-high 249 walks last season. “Really drive that point home, just going after hitters and attacking,” Weiss said. … LeMahieu agreed to a $7.8 million, two-year contract ahead of his scheduled salary arbitration hearing Wednesday. He gets $3 million this year and $4.8 million in 2017. — MIKE CRANSTON
LeMahieu gets a payday
PHOENIX — All-Star second baseman DJ LeMahieu and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a $7.8 million, two-year contract ahead of their scheduled salary arbitration hearing Wednesday, leaving players with a final record of 3-1 this year in cases decided by three-person panels.
He gets $3 million this year and $4.8 million in 2017.
Players had their first winning record in arbitration since they went 2-1 in 2011. Management has a 302-224 advantage since arbitration started in 1974, including an 8-6 record last year, the most hearings since 2001.
While 156 players filed for arbitration on Jan. 12, just four failed to settle. Three pitchers won their hearings: Toronto’s Jesse Chavez ($4 million), Tampa Bay’s Drew Smyly ($3.75 million) and Cincinnati’s J.J. Hoover ($1.4 million). Astros catcher Jason Castro ($5 million) lost.
A Gold Glove winner in 2014, LeMahieu set career bests last year with a .301 average and 61 RBIs, hitting six home runs. He became an All-Star for the first time.
When the sides exchanged proposed arbitration salaries last month, LeMahieu had asked for a raise from $517,500 to $3.3 million, and the Rockies had offered $2.8 million. — AP
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