Overcrowding in outfield
The Rockies don’t have any extra space for extra men. Manager Clint Hurdle and his staff are going to be challenged in settling on the final two roster spots. Somebody is going to have hurt feelings.
Accept the assumptions:
- The Rockies will go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
- They will keep two catchers: and Yorvit Torrealba.
- They will keep six infielders: 1B , 2B , 3B Garrett Atkins, SS and backups Omar Quintanilla and Jeff Baker.
- They will keep five outfielders, only two of which are set: , who figures to start in center field, and , who will start in right field.
Those last three outfield spots are the challenge. Give, a left-handed hitter, an early edge for the starting spot in left field.
That leaves two backup spots for six players:
Pro: A left-handed power bat, he could force his way into the picture because he also can play third base on days Garrett Atkins gives Todd Helton a rest at first.
Con: Jeff Baker, who health permitting will be a backup infielder, also is a third baseman by trade, and he provides a right-handed bat. Face it, when Helton rests it will most likely be against a left-handed pitcher.
is the third baseman of the future but has the athleticism to play the outfield. He has an option remaining so the Rockies can send him to the minors without risking losing him to another team.
Pro: Primarily a corner outfielder, Gonzalez also has shown an ability to play center field and could be a left-handed-hitting alternative to Spilborghs. He has potential power and base-stealing ability.
Con: He is still developing as a hitter. He hit .242 in 85 games with Oakland last year and struck out 81 times in 302 at-bats.
came from Oakland as part of the package for Matt Holliday. He has an option remaining so the Rockies can send him to the minors without risking losing him to another team.
- Scott Podsednik made the team out of spring training a year ago as a non-roster invitee, same role he is in this year. Podsednik is signed to a minor-league deal but has the right to opt out if he doesn’t make the big-league team.
Pro: He is the one base-stealing threat on the roster, and a left-handed alternative to Spilborghs in center. A veteran, Podsednik showed an ability to adjust to part-time duty last year.
Con: The power isn’t there to play the corners, and arm strength is minimal.
- Matt Murton, acquired from Oakland in trade for infield prospect Corey Wimberly. Murton has an option remaining so the Rockies can send him to the minors without risking losing him to another team.
Pro: A right-handed hitter, Murton would provide a right-handed alternative to the left-handed bats of Hawpe in right and Smith in left.
Con: After showing signs in three partial seasons with the Cubs, Murton got lost in the shuffle last year, playing only 19 big-league games between the Cubs and A’s.
Pro: Best defensive outfield on team, glides after balls in gaps and has a plus arm. Great speed potential.
Con: Experience. There’s nothing wrong with Fowler that playing time won’t cure. He hasn’t played at the Triple-A level yet.
, switch-hitter and top prospect in system. Has option remaining so the Rockies can send him to the minors without risking losing him to another team.
- Dan Ortmeier, switch-hitting again this spring after hitting solely right-handed last year. Signed to minor-league contract and does not have ability to decline assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Pro: Experienced big-leaguer who can play corner outfield positions and give Rockies a right-handed-hitting backup to Todd Helton at first.
Con: Offensive inconsistency has kept him from sticking in big leagues. Left-handed swing is questionable, making it a surprise he decided to try and switch-hit this spring instead of focusing on cleaning up swing from right side.