Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Torrealba, Herges Sign on the Dotted Line
2007-11-29 11:14
by Mark T.R. Donohue

A banner day for Dan O'Dowd, as two key members of last year's playoff team have agreed to re-sign with Colorado at extremely reasonable rates. Yorvit Torrealba, spurned by the Mets at the last minute (possibly due to concern over an injury to his throwing shoulder), inked a two-year, $7 million contract with a team option. That's almost precisely what he's worth, and the length of the deal protects the Rockies from the dread Early-Thirties-Catcher-Collapse phenomenon. Final numbers on a new deal for Matt Herges, who went from non-roster invitee to minor leaguer to Clint Hurdle's most trusted seventh-inning guy in 2007, are less clear but it looks like Herges will get about $2 million for 2008 with a club option for a second year.

These are great deals -- the Rockies are keeping valuable pieces, but not at rates that will hurt them or at contract lengths that will create dead money to deal with in three or four years' time. Has a franchise's overall apparent health ever swung more from one offseason to the next than Colorado's has from last year to this one? Clearly, everybody -- and particularly me -- was way too down on the club entering last year. A decade of losing will do that to you, but with no other NL team (and particularly the Rockies' immediate competition in the West) having done anything real exciting in free agency thus far, it's not unreasonable to look ahead and see at least a few years of winning baseball for the Rockies and their young, good, cheap core.

O'Dowd does still need to find a second baseman to replace Kazuo Matsui, whom he all but concedes in the above-linked Denver Post piece will sign elsewhere. Mark Loretta, a solid veteran contributor who's been variously overrated or underrated depending on his home ballpark the past few seasons, is a name to watch according to that report.

2007-11-29 12:24:09
1.   Jon Weisman
I gotta say, I can't believe Herges will get a guaranteed $2 million. He hit his stride at the right time.
2007-11-29 13:07:59
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
1 I think the deal he's signed is an okay bet for the Rockies that he's having a late-career renaissance. If not... well, it's only one year, maybe with a buyout.
2007-11-29 14:29:52
3.   LAbits
I remember after Jeff Shaw left as Dodger closer, Herges had the lead near the end of Spring Training to get that job and was offered over a million. His agent was like, "What! You can't get a closer for that price!" and the Dodgers traded him... (which caused Lo Duca to wear a gag for like a week so he wouldn't curse out somebody). I'm pretty sure Matt hasn't seen a million a year since then; nice to see him finally get somewhere monetarily. Its been an odyssey for this former "replacement player". He sure has hung in there. I wish him a good year, except vs. the Dodgers.
2007-11-29 16:45:06
4.   El Lay Dave
3 Depending on the source, Herges made a total of either $2.5M or $2.7M in 2004/2005 combined; ironically they are arguably his two worst seasons.

The Dodgers' closer job went instead to
Eric Gagne. And now you know the rest of the story.

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