The Rockies already have multiple candidates to fill the one existing vacancy in their lineup, the second-base hole left when free agent Kazuo Matsui signed with Houston. Now they have another -- veteran Marcus Giles, who agreed to a Minor League deal with the National League champions on Tuesday. The agreement with Giles includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Giles, 29, will have a chance to resurrect a career that has gone south quickly since 2005, his third straight impressive season in Atlanta. The Braves made no attempt to re-sign him after he slumped to .262 in 2006, and he was similarly waived by San Diego after batting .229 last season. Giles' average has declined every season since his breakthrough in 2003, when he batted .316 and earned a berth on the NL All-Star team. But he could be a valuable veteran backup to No. 1 on the pre-Spring Training depth chart, rookie Jayson Nix. Nix has the credentials -- MVP of last fall's World Cup in Taiwan, as Team USA captured the event for the first time since the 1970s -- but no big-league experience yet. Of manager Clint Hurdle's fall-back options, Giles would be the only bona fide second baseman (where he has played all but nine of his 754 career games). Others in the field include 2005-06 starting shortstop Clint Barmes, lefty-hitting Omar Quintanilla and a pair of third basemen seen capable of shifting -- Ian Stewart and Jeff Baker.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.