Yorvit Torrealba has played his last game in a Colorado Rockies uniform. The team has instead inked Miguel Olivo to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, and it will head into 2010 with Olivo (pictured) and Chris Ianetta splitting duty behind the plate. The duo has a real chance to bring power to the spot.
Thirty-one-year-old Olivo hit .249 with 23 home runs and 65 runs batted in for the Kansas City Royals last year, according to MLB.com. Ianetta hit 34 home runs over the last two years and is the first Rockies catcher since Charles Johnson in 2003 and 2004 to finish with double figures in home runs in consecutive years.
Torrealba didn’t necessarily hit for power, but last year he posted a career-best .291 batting average and was always up for a clutch hit late in the season on the team’s push for the playoffs. The New York Daily News writes that while Torrealba was a good contact hitter last year, the Rockies’ decision is a net gain for the team.
Olivo’s power will help the Rockies, and he will be able to throw more base stealers than Torrealba. But The Denver Post questions whether Olivo will be able to provide the passion and leadership that made Torrealba a fan favorite and a popular guy in the locker room.
Indeed, Torrealba’s passion for the game and ability to spark rallies when the team really needed some energy will be missed, but let’s hope it creates an opportunity for Ianetta to become a better all-around catcher and the long-term answer for the Rockies.