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12/13/08 12:15 AM EST

Rockies non-tender outfielder Taveras

Speedster becomes free agent after leading Majors in steals

DENVER -- The Rockies non-tendered center fielder Willy Taveras after realizing they would not be able to trade him before Friday's 10 p.m. MT deadline for offering contracts to arbitration-eligible players.

The Rockies tendered offers to third baseman Garrett Atkins, second baseman Clint Barmes, starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, and relievers Taylor Buchholz, Huston Street and Jason Grilli.

The Rockies attempted to deal Taveras, who turns 27 on Christmas, and right-handed pitcher Juan Morillo to the Nationals for pitcher Tim Redding during the Winter Meetings earlier this week, but the talks were unsuccessful. However, Redding was also non-tendered on Friday, meaning both players are on the open market.

Taveras led the Majors with 68 stolen bases in 2008. He hit .251 with a .308 on-base percentage and felt he lost his rhythm when he was moved in and out of the lineup.

Now the Rockies are expected to go with Ryan Spilborghs (.313, .374 on-base, six home runs, 36 RBIs), with prospects Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez also getting looks this spring.

Hot Stove

Non-tendering Taveras and infielder Jonathan Herrera, who made his Major League debut in 2008 and appeared in 28 games, reduced the Rockies' Major League roster at 38 players, two below the limit. The Rockies are in line to sign left-handed pitcher Alan Embree to a one-year deal under which he'll earn $2.25 million.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.