Rockies still trying to re-sign Yorvit Torrealba

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Yesterday the Rockies signed Chris Iannetta to a three-year, $8.3 million contract with an option for 2013, but they’re apparently not done handing out multi-year deals to catchers. Iannetta actually lost his starting job to Yorvit Torrealba down the stretch and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have offered Torrealba a two-year, $5.6 million contract to stick around and split time again.
Torrealba is said to be seeking $6 million over two years, so only $400,000 stands in the way of a seemingly inevitable agreement. Both catchers are right-handed hitters, so they don’t really form any kind of platoon, and presumably the 31-year-old Torrealba realizes that the 26-year-old Iannetta will get every opportunity to claim most of the playing time.
Torrealba has a good defensive reputation and has hit .258/.316/.393 in four seasons with the Rockies, which is somewhat respectable for a catcher, but Iannetta’s career .242/.361/.446 line gives him significantly more upside. Having both Iannetta and Torrealba would be a nice luxury for the Rockies, but if they like Iannetta enough to keep him around through 2013 it would probably make more sense to back him up with someone making $400,000 and spend $5 million elsewhere.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”