Rox sign two pitchers; Giambi deal done
Righty Speier, lefty Gobble to compete for bullpen roles
DENVER -- The Rockies have signed right-handed reliever Justin Speier and left-handed reliever Jimmy Gobble to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training.
Speier, 36, starred for the Rockies from 2001-03 (12-5, 4.04 ERA in 177 games) before signing with the Blue Jays. He spent the past three seasons with the Angels (8-13, 4.39 ERA in 154 games). He went 4-2 with a 5.18 ERA last season before being released in August. A veteran of 613 Major League appearances (35-33, 4.11 ERA), Speier has been among baseball's best at preventing inherited runners from scoring.
Gobble, 28, was in the White Sox organization last season. After beginning the year at Triple-A Charlotte (0-1, 5.25 ERA, one save), he posted a 7.50 ERA in 12 games with no decisions with Chicago. Gobble has made 43 career starts, but has been used exclusively as a reliever since 2007.
The Rockies have their late-game bullpen back from last season -- closer Huston Street, right-handed setup man Rafael Betancourt and left-handed setup man Franklin Morales. Righty and onetime closer Manuel Corpas is coming back from an elbow injury at the start of the year, and Taylor Buchholz, the righty setup man in 2008, is due back at midseason from elbow surgery. Speier and Gobble are experienced candidates, and will compete with right-handers Matt Belisle and Matt Daley and left-hander Randy Flores for roster spots and innings. The Rockies continue to pursue right-hander Derrick Turnbow with a Minor League offer. A decision is expected soon.
The Rockies also made an official announcement on the signing of first baseman Jason Giambi to a one-year deal. The deal is reported to be worth $1.75 million by FoxSports.com. Giambi is hoping to reprise the pinch-hitting role he held last season. The Rockies also have Eric Young Jr., who played multiple positions after being called up late last season and is a base-stealing threat, and non-roster candidates Paul Lo Duca and Jay Payton competing for bench spots.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.