With the emergence of Rafael Betancourt in the last half of the 2011 season the Rockies decided that Huston Street was expendable. The team decided that Betancourt will be their closer in 2012 and that there is no reason to pay a middle reliever $8 million. After the Padres traded away their star closer, Heath Bell, the team became a target for the Rockies.
What is Street worth on the open market? Not much apparently as the Rockies are getting the infamous “PBTNL” (player to be named later).
The closer position is a fickle position and Street fell out of favor with many Rockies fans after his performance in the 2009 playoffs. One of the lasting memories of Street for Rockies fans is him entering game four of the 2009 National League Division Series in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies with the Rockies up 4-2, but trailing the series two games to one, and Street giving up a double to Ryan Howard to tie the game and then a single to Jayson Werth to put the Rockies down by a run.
The Rockies couldn’t scratch a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and they lost the series 3-1.
What Rockies fans fail to realize was that Street had a sub 1.0 WHIP in 2009 and kept the ball in the yard. In 2009 Street allowed 6.3 home runs per nine innings and that number went up in 2010 to 7.4 HR/9 and peaked last year allowing 9.6 HR/9. At PETCO Park in San Diego many of those deep fly balls Street allowed last year (I feel like he allowed a warning track shot EVERY appearance last year and many of them did scrape the wall for a home run) will die in the thick San Diego nighttime air for outs. Any pitcher going from Denver to San Diego should see a positive impact to his numbers.
Rockies fans will wait…and wait…and wait…while Betancourt fiddles, picks, ticks and stutters on the mound in the ninth inning in 2012. Last year, during one appearance, I counted how many times Betancourt touched the brim of his hat and counted 70 or so touches in an inning in which he faced four batters. He might be slow and he might be slightly annoying and boring to watch, but he does get guys out. He does strikeout batters and he does pound the zone. Things needed in the ninth inning.
As of this writing the deal isn’t official but here are a few of the latest Tweets from the guys who know the Rockies best:
From Troy Renck:
Deal is not done yet. But expected to soon cross finish line. Players involved still haven’t been told.
And Thomas Harding:
Rox agree to send RHP Huston Street to Padres for Minor Leaguer. Pads will pick up most of $8 M guarantee. Expec Rox to make free-agent move
It’s as good as done.