Rockies add Capellan to bullpen mix
Colorado acquires righty from Detroit in exchange for Bautista
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rockies increased their bullpen competition by acquiring right-handed relief pitcher Jose Capellan from the Tigers on Tuesday for Triple-A pitcher Denny Bautista.
Capellan, 26, has a strong arm and has been close to developing into a solid Major Leaguer, but it hasn't happened yet. He is out of Minor League options, so this is a make-or-break year. If he sounds almost exactly like Bautista, 27, there's a reason.
In other words, it's not the type of deal that on the surface provides a solid bullpen. The Rockies still have work to do in that regard. But if they hit on Capellan ...
"It's just one good arm for another good arm," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "Hopefully a change of scenery will help both guys."
Capellan appeared in 10 games for the Tigers last season, but made his way onto the Rockies' radar by going 4-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 61 games for the Brewers in 2006. He is 5-7 with a 4.90 ERA in 98 Major League games with the Braves, Brewers and Tigers.
Last season, he went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven games with the Brewers, and 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in 10 games with the Tigers. He also went 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 appearances with Triple-A Nashville in the Brewers' organization, and 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Toledo of the Tigers.
Capellan has a lively fastball that pops in anywhere from 92-97 mph, plus a potentially good slider. Capellan was upset at the Brewers' decision not to place him on the Opening Day roster, and he didn't report to Nashville for several days. He hoped to be traded. It didn't happen then, and that was the start of a difficult year.
"Capellan was real good two years ago, his first year at the big-league level," O'Dowd said. "He struggled last year. We thought he was pitching well in the Dominican. We thought it was a good chance to take.
"The bottom line is these relievers are like the stock market. Hopefully, we'll hit when he's on the upside."
Capellan is 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings for the Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League. That's another mirror of Bautista, who is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in eight games with Estrellas de Oriente in the Dominican.
Bautista pitched in 51 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA. He went 2-1 with a 12.46 ERA in nine appearances with the Rockies.
The Rockies will not quit here.
Colorado wants to add veteran right-handed help in the bullpen, and will need a lefty as well with Jeremy Affeldt in line for bigger money elsewhere. As they make their pursuit, the Rockies remain open to see if they can obtain a bonanza for lefty reliever Brian Fuentes, the closer until Manny Corpas took the job at midseason.
The Rockies have re-signed veteran right-hander Matt Herges, and are still looking at adding experience to the bullpen. Righty LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched for the Rockies last season and was strong down the stretch, is a free agent, and O'Dowd acknowledged Tuesday that the Rockies may consider offering him a multi-year deal to retain him.Colorado is also in discussion with the Astros about young second baseman Chris Burke, with multiple reports saying the Rockies have offered infielder Clint Barmes. But they've also talked to the agent for Tadahito Iguchi and were expected to enter talks with Mark Loretta, both free agents who could fill the starting second-base hole. Rocky Hall, Iguchi's agent, termed discussions with the Rockies "preliminary." One problem is the Rockies are expected to offer a one-year deal, but Iguchi is looking for more. However, the Rockies are attractive because several teams are looking at Iguchi at third base. While Iguchi is open to playing third -- the Phillies, the team he finished last season with, want him to play there -- his preference is second. Marcus Giles, who played for the Padres last season, is another option at second.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.