Aaron Cook, the winningest pitcher in Rockies history, has left the building, but he could return.
Cook has declared for free agency, meaning the Rockies, as expected, declined his $11-million option for 2012. He instead will receive a $500,000 buyout.
While Cook has severed ties with the organization, Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has told Cook and his agent, Joe Bick, that the club is open to him returning at a reduced salary.
“We’ve had conversations,’’ said O’Dowd. “Certainly the door is open … absolutely. I wouldn’t rule out anything. We’re going to be looking for starting pitching, so there’s no way anybody in my position right now would rule out anybody.
“We probably just want to catch our breath a little bit, canvass the market and get a better feel on the health of our own players. We’ll see what matches are out there as it relates to trades, and it takes the bulk of the winter for that to unfold.’’
Cook, who’ll turn 33 in February, is the franchise leader with 72