Rockies' deal for Redding falls through
Colorado intended to swap Taveras for Nationals right-hander
LAS VEGAS -- The Rockies attempted to acquire right-handed pitcher Tim Redding from the Nationals on Tuesday night for center fielder Willy Taveras, but the deal fell apart.
The Nationals considered obtaining Taveras in 2005, when he was with the Astros. That was before Taveras joined the Rockies in a December 2006 trade. However, the Nationals covet outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whom the Rockies received last month in the deal that sent Matt Holliday to the Athletics.
Redding, who will turn 31 on Feb. 12, went 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA this past season and is eligible for arbitration. The Rockies inquired about Redding at the Trade Deadline and have had interest in him since his days as an Astros prospect.
Redding had surgery in late November to repair a bone in his left foot, but he is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
The Rockies went into the offseason looking to improve their pitching depth, and possibly add a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Redding was the Nationals' No. 1 starter.
Taveras, who turns 27 on Christmas, also endured a rough and unhappy 2008, after a career year in 2007 as the Rockies' center fielder and leadoff man. He went from .320 with a .367 on-base percentage in '07 to .251 and .308. Taveras did lead the Majors with 68 stolen bases, but his low on-base percentage led the Rockies to reduce his playing time and bat him second for 22 of his starts.
Manager Clint Hurdle gave him a few September starts in the leadoff spot, saying he wanted to find out once and for all whether he could capture his 2007 form. Taveras, however, expressed unhappiness that he was pulled from the lineup when he slumped and not given a chance to gain a rhythm over the course of the season. But his year ended when he suffered a stress fracture of his right tibia and missed the final five games.
In addition, the Rockies are preparing Ryan Spilborghs, 29, a .302 hitter in reserve and part-time starter duty over the last three-plus seasons, for a shot at regular duty. Spilborghs is set to play center field in the Mexican Winter League this month to gain a rhythm.
The Rockies are still looking to deal Taveras, who is eligible for arbitration.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.