If you’re going to replace Todd Helton at first base in Colorado while wearing Larry Walker’s old number, you better have a solid résumé. The Rockies are convinced four-time All-Star and former American League MVP Justin Morneau is the answer.
“It’d be tough for anybody to have to fill those shoes,” manager Walt Weiss said of Helton, the freshly retired five-time All-Star who holds nearly every Rockies career offensive record. “But we’re doing it with a guy that’s been a league MVP and has been an elite player. Maybe that ghost isn’t overwhelming for someone like a Justin Morneau.”
There were many compelling reasons for Morneau to sign his two-year, $12.5 million free-agent deal with Colorado in December.
It meant being reunited with former Minnesota teammate and friend Michael Cuddyer, and they now have adjacent lockers.
Walker, Morneau’s boyhood hero and fellow Canadian, recruited him to where he was National League MVP in 2007. Walker even signed off on Morneau wearing his No. 33.
Morneau has an offseason home minutes away from the Rockies’ spring training facility. And playing in the high altitude of Denver in a park that sparks a fond memory helped, too. “In the end it turned out to be a pretty easy decision,” Morneau said Tuesday.
But there will be pressure.
Morneau has to replace the face of the Rockies in Helton, who spent his entire career in Colorado and is the franchise leader with 2,519 hits, 369 home runs and 1,406 RBI.
“From the outside looking in, it looks like I’m coming in to replace him,” Morneau said. “But that’s not my thought process. My thought process is just come in and be me and do what I can do. He has things that he can do that I can’t do and the other way around.”
Jimenez signs with O’s
Reports indicate that free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a contract, pending him passing a physical.
Several media outlets reported earlier that the sides had reached an agreement, which is reportedly for about $50 million over four years.
Jimenez went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for Cleveland last season. He turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Indians, so Baltimore would have to forfeit its first-round draft pick (17th overall) to sign him.
|Minnesota - WP: C. Thielbar||7||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Banuelos||3|
|Seattle||1||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Texas||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Portland||109||4th Qtr 0:35|
|LA Lakers||58||3rd Qtr 0:33|
|LA Clippers||43||3rd Qtr|
|Edmonton||1||2nd OT :00|
|Nashville||3||3rd Prd 8:05|
|NY Rangers||4||3rd Prd 9:21|
|Anaheim||1||2nd Prd 13:38|
|Stephen F Austin||85|
|Ark-Little Rock||113||4th OT 0:20|
|Coppin State||55||2nd Half 2:12|
|Sam Houston St||45||2nd Half 11:17|
|Northwestern||30||2nd Half 14:02|
|Colorado||28||2nd Half 15:58|
|Massachusetts||36||2nd Half 15:46|
|San Diego St||29|
|Northern Colorado||35||2nd Half 12:57|
|Idaho||42||2nd Half 14:59|
|Utah Valley U||40|
|Eastern Mich||28||2nd Half|
|Connecticut||25||1st Half 2:32|
|Prairie View||18||1st Half 8:43|
|Cal Poly||31||1st Half 0:04|
|Clemson||23||1st Half 2:30|
|Ole Miss||24||1st Half 8:06|
|Xavier||18||1st Half 8:02|
|Baylor||24||1st Half 6:28|
|Boise State||10:30 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Long Beach State|
|(22) Middle Tennessee||64|
|(25) Bowling Green||55|
|New Mexico St||65||FINAL|
|Coll of Charleston||70|
|Illinois-Chicago||50||2nd Half 2:41|
|Montana||55||2nd Half 5:21|
|Illinois State||22||1st Half 8:12|