Rockies bring back catcher Yorvit Torrealba on minor league deal

4 Comments

UPDATE: Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Torrealba has received a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The Rockies are looking at him as insurance and depth with Ramon Hernandez slated to play for his native Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

11:15 PM: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rockies have signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba. It’s not clear whether he has received a major league deal or not, but Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported earlier this week that the Rockies had offered him a minor league contract.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Torrealba, who previously played with the club from 2006-2009 and enjoyed his best seasons there. The 34-year-old backstop batted just .227/.293/.330 with four home runs, 14 RBI and a .623 OPS in 218 plate appearances last season between the Rangers, Blue Jays and Brewers.

The Rockies already have Wilin Rosario and Ramon Hernandez as their projected catching tandem, so it’s unlikely there will be a place for Torrealba on the Opening Day roster unless there’s an injury. It’s worth noting that Hernandez had left hamstring surgery in September, so perhaps the Rockies just wanted some veteran insurance.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

Getty Images
11 Comments

As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?