Rockies expected to move Aaron Cook to the bullpen

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Aaron Cook has the distinction of being the Rockies’ all-time leader in wins, but none of that matters as the team’s playoff chances continue to fade by the minute.

A team source tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies are likely to move Cook to the bullpen, clearing a spot for Jhoulys Chacin to re-enter the starting rotation on Sunday.

Cook has been pretty bad all season, posting a 5.34 ERA through 21 starts, but he has reached a new level of awful lately, allowing five runs in each of his last three starts and failing to escape the fifth inning in any of them. He was chased after just three innings in a 10-0 loss to the Giants last night.

Just recently, we heard that the Rockies were “quietly shopping” the veteran right-hander. Cook is owed $9.5 million next season and has an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2012. He would receive an additional $1 million if he is traded. There’s still a chance that could happen this month.

Chacin, 22, was sent back to the minors late last month shortly after Jorge De La Rosa returned from the disabled list. He has a 4.04 ERA overall this season and was very impressive during his time in the rotation, compiling a 3.67 ERA and a 74/34 K/BB ratio over 12 starts. He quite simply gives the team the best chance to win right now.  

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).