Former Rockies owner Jerry McMorris dies at 71

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Jerry McMorris, who was instrumental in getting an expansion team in Denver, died Tuesday following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

“It’s a very sad day for the Rockies and for his family,” Rockies owner Dick Monfort said.McMorris, who built NationsWay Transport from scratch, was one of the Rockies’ original investors and CEO of the team from 1993-2003. He sold the controlling interest of the club to the Monfort brothers in 2005.

“Jerry was a friend to me,” Todd Helton said. “He wasn’t just the owner of the team. He was a genuinely good guy, a kind-hearted man. He went out of his way to make me feel like Colorado was my home. He kind of defined what this state is about all about. He made me feel like I was a part of Colorado.”

Patrick Saunders has a full obituary up at the Denver Post.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.