Rockies sign Betancourt to two-year contract extension

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According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Rockies have reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with reliever Rafael Betancourt.  The deal also carries a club option for 2013.

Betancourt, 35, has been one of the most reliable setup men in baseball for the past several seasons, especially recently in Colorado.  Since coming over from the Indians in the summer of 2009, the right-hander has posted a 3.08 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 87.2 innings.

He will make $3.77 million this season, $4 million in 2012, and that option is worth $4.25 million or a $250,000 buyout.  According to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, who did some translating of Rojas’ article, the total worth of the new deal is $8.02 million.

It’s rarely wise to shell out multi-year contracts to relievers, but Betancourt is a good one and probably worth the risk.  He will handle the eighth inning behind closer Huston Street this season for the Rox.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.