|Desperate to find starting pitching, the Rockies traded minor league infielder Matt Macri to the Twins for righthander Ramon Ortiz. With injuries to Aaron Cook, Jason Hirsh and Rodrigo Lopez, the Rockies will likely insert Ortiz into their starting rotation.|
|The Big Leaguer|
|Ortiz struggled mightily this year for the Twins, posting a 5.14 ERA in 91 innings, splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Ortiz struggles to strike out hitters, with a steadily declining strikeout rate (4.35 K/9 this year) that was already poor to begin with. Ortiz, 34, has not posted an ERA below 5.00 since 2004 with the Angels, but one of his virtues is that he does not walk many hitters (1.48 BB/9). He is making $3.1 million this season, and will be a free agent at the end of the year.|
|Macri is a 25-year-old who hit .298/.349/.502 in 79 games for Double-A Tulsa before his promotion to Triple-A earlier this week. Macri's strong season comes a year after struggling to the tune of .232/.293/.370 at the same level.|
The Twins originally picked Macri in the 17th round in 2001, but Macri chose to attend Notre Dame instead, and the Rockies selected him in 2004 in the fifth round. Macri has also played shortstop and second base in the minor leagues. Marci is old for his level, though, and his walk rate (6.7% of his plate appearances) in Double-A is a number that will likely decrease should he make a two-level jump to the majors.
|The Twins badly need help at third base, where Nick Punto is one of the worst--if not the worst--offensive starters in baseball (.204/.296/.266), so Macri may get a chance to play in Minnesota at some point. With Ortiz, the Rockies acquired a pitcher who has been bad this year, has been bad the last few years, and is a pitcher with fly ball tendencies heading to Coors Field. Then again, the Rockies did not have to part with a significant prospect, and with young righthander Ubaldo Jimenez already in the Colorado rotation and lefthander Franklin Morales scheduled to make his first big league start Saturday, there wasn't much freely available starting pitching talent for the Rockies to promote from within to fill the void in their rotation.|