November 9 2009, 11:22 AM
Earlier this year I joined others in calling for the firing of former Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle---and the baseball gods obliged. It wasn't personal; he just wasn't getting the job done and something had to give. The Rockies went on to lead one of the most dramatic turnarounds in baseball history under interim manager Jim Tracy before falling in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Phillies. Late last week, the otherwise lovable Hurdle was finally hired as the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers (via ESPN). Hurdle was the Rockies' manager from 2002 to 2009, but served as the team's hitting coach from 1997 until April 2002. In a relatively thorough analysis, The Dallas Morning News points out that the Rockies' hitting improved, sometimes dramatically, under Hurdle's tutelage, and a similar boost for the Rangers could go a long way. Meanwhile, the Rockies have agreed to new deals with bullpen pitchers Matt Belisle and Randy Flores (via The Associated Press). Each finished the season with a disappointing ERA over five. The Rockies declined to re-sign spark-plug catcher Yorvit Torrealba, MLB.com reports, but he may end up on the team again next year anyway---at a reduced salary. In the 2009 season, Torrealba lost his job to backup Chris Ianetta, but more significantly he had to deal with the kidnapping of his son in his native Venezuela. After putting that behind him, he won his job back and became one of the Rockies' key players, consistently coming up with clutch hits. MLB.com also reports that pitcher Jason Marquis, first baseman Jason Giambi, and reliever Alan Embree have all filed for free agency.