Rockies free agent possiblities?

November 17, 2009 | 5:12 pm | 25  

Reader Wayne Gould asks,

“Any chance the Rox open the checkbook a little and maybe entertain a Polanco or Hudson fronm the free agent market, or any interest in making a trade for Phillips in Cincy. I know that they seem committed to Barmes. What about Glaus or Figgins at 3rd?
I know they are committed to Stewart.

As you can tell I’m not sold on either Barmes or Stewart. I would not be unhappy if they stayed, but I feel those are the two areas needing the most upgrades offensively.

Also, if Marquis leaves, are there any right-handers out there that you thinks could give us the same results (12-15 wins) and come affordably enough. Hammel would be a great long reliever and spot starter, or he could very well beat out another righthander for number 5 spot.”

Tracy answers,

The loss of Marquis is taken care of with the return of Jeff Francis. Marquis was acquired as a one-year fill in while Francis healed.

I am a BIG believer in Stewart. I wouldn’t touch Glaus. His time has past. Stewart has big time upside and is a very good athlete. His defense is at the top of the list. I don’t see Figgins fitting as a corner player for many teams. Sorry. I like run production at that spot.
Barmes will be the incumbent at second base but EY Jr., will get his chance and if he can play adequate defense, which is something he has to prove he can do, he will get time, too.



  • Ryan | November 17, 2009 | 5:40 pm

    Agreed with Tracy on Ian Stewart. Has the makings of an excellent player. It’d be a shame to see the Rockies go for someone else at the hot corner. As for Barmes, I’m not impressed with him either. Orlando Hudson is just as good a defender and a much better hitter, and I’d love to see the team go for him. Doubt it, though. The club does seem committed to Barmes for some reason.

  • ProgMatinee | November 17, 2009 | 5:47 pm

    I do think at some point the Rockies need to make a splash and take some risk. Playing the kids that came through the minors is nice, but to crack through to a WS win.

    They’re farm is deep, if you have to trade some of them to get a big time player, do it.

  • snel7083 | November 17, 2009 | 7:04 pm

    I believe you see how the kids do and then fill in the spots you need during the season. Why trade away the future until you see what your new year brings you. Most of the team will have improvement from playing a full year and have another play off year under their belts.


    Any word on the GM and Managers contracts? Is there a concern?

  • KU JayRox | November 17, 2009 | 7:06 pm

    I agree, Prog. But, having said that, I feel that they are doing the right thing by looking in-house first. If they can find a solution for every position on the farm, then I am all for it. But every so often there needs to be trades made to shore up a few needed spots, and a Hudson player would be just that. We need a solid righty bat that hits for power and slugging percentage. The only position I feel we could make improvements, or the only position that we do not have the pieces in place for a player to truly emerge, is at 2B. Power at 2B is hard to come by, but I feel Barmes as a platoon infielder would be a HUGE commodity, and having Seth Smith as starter/platoon outfielder would really put this team in a place to make it back to WS baseball.

  • Julian | November 17, 2009 | 8:06 pm

    I agree with Tracy that you have to give Stewart the first chance at third. Between his defense and his offensive potential, he has the chance to be an exceptional player. I would much rather give Stewart the time to develop his game then go for a player whose best years are in the past.

    I think that the Barmes/EY combo will work out OK at second.

    The Rockies need a backup third baseman and a backup first baseman, and a right handed pinch hitter(hopefully, one player will meet all three needs), so that may come from signing a free agent because I don’t see it coming from within.

    Also, the Rockies need a long reliever/spot starter, and that may come from signing a free agent (Jose Contreras?).

  • Rockpile | November 17, 2009 | 8:41 pm

    I agree with KU JayRox and Ryan about Hudson. He’s a good hitter pretty good defensive player and an exellent clubhouse guy. He’d be a fine addition as a starting 2nd baseman.

    If we signed O-dog, Hudson, we could solve the problem of backup 3rd basemen and right-handed pinch-hitter, that Julian mentions, by moving Barmes to a super utility role, for which I think he’s best suited, and have Hawpe back up Helton at first.

    Stewart is our 3rd baseman. Learn to get used to him over there. I totally agree with Tracy. Stewie is just awesome at the hot corner.

    And then there’s the roster matter of the crowded outfield. Because it is so crowded, I’d probably trade Spilborghs, not because I don’t think he’s a good player–he is good–but because he’s our fifth outfielder right now and won’t get much playing time if we have smith, hawpe, gonzo and fowler fighting for starting time. So I’d probably dangle spilly as bait for pitching, like a long man/spot starter.

  • Karl | November 17, 2009 | 9:11 pm

    I don’t see the power in Jamey Carroll, but is there any discussions about him coming back here? I would wonder about him being the best fit but it’s an idea to throw out there. I am really wondering more about Spilly and or Murton? Is the team going to keep one or both of them on the roster. I happen to like the platoon of EY and Barmes with Barmes getting 120-130 starts there. I hate his strikeouts but if Iannetta can hit .270 with 20hr and 80 rbi’s we will be thrilled. Barmes defense is great up the middle and I think having another off season knowing he is the starter will do a lot for him as a professional.

  • Dustin | November 17, 2009 | 9:37 pm

    I’ve said it since day one. Ian Stewart is a game changer on both sides of the ball and he’s only going to get better.

  • Mojogoober | November 17, 2009 | 10:01 pm

    No way the Rox go for O-Dog… Barmes holds down the fort until Lil’ EY is ready, besides Hudson can’t be that good if he’s sitting on the bench during playoffs, which he was for LA.

    I think Stewart has some monster years coming up and they’d be crazy to miss that possibility.

    As someone alluded to, it’s Iannetta’s right-handed bat that could be the key to the lineup. That and I think they need to eventually get CarGo into the 3-hole.

    Hawpe backing up 1b is a great idea.

  • Ryan | November 17, 2009 | 10:13 pm

    Hudson sat on the bench for LA because Joe Torre made a really dumb choice. Not because he isn’t good.

  • Elliotlc | November 17, 2009 | 11:16 pm

    Orlando Hudson isn’t an upgrade offensively or defensively. I’ll take barmes and ey jr over him from here on out. He will get payed pretty well plus Barmes is a short stop who is playing second if anyone remembers and is solid at either position. And we don’t need a backup third basemen but we do need a first basemen backup unless they use Hawpe over there which was originally his place on the field.

  • Bob K. | November 18, 2009 | 5:59 am

    I probably sound like a broken record on this because I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, but Ian Stewart’s numbers this year across the board were better than Mike Schmidt’s at the same age. The notable difference, rookie Schmidt played for a dreadful Phillies team in ’73 that was still three years away from it’s great ’76-’80 run. Ian is playing for a contender and his lack of immediate BA success and high K count became more noticeable accordingly. Danny Ozark was able to tell Schmidt that he was committed to him and that he would be the starting third baseman no matter how he played, which allowed him to develop into the hall-of-famer that he became. Jim Tracy needed production daily to get the team back into contention and therefore had to do a lot more juggling of the lineup in the field and with pinch hitting, causing Ian to have a more inconsistant role.

    The upside to Stewart is huge. Already blessed defensively, he did show the ability at times this year to produce under pressure. My guess is that he will get the swing adjusted this off season and we will begin to see a great improvement next year in his hitting with fewer K’s.

  • Brian H | November 18, 2009 | 7:04 am

    “Hawpe backing up 1b is a great idea.”

    The question is, how long would that be viable? He’d be a pricey backup. If Helton has years left in him, then that could be a tough call.

    Helton’s certainly getting older though – it’s just a matter of how his age will play out.

  • C Thistle | November 18, 2009 | 8:20 am

    I like the idea of Hawpe backing up Helton at 1st. I think the idea is that he would back up Helton and then play RF the other times. I don’t know how viable an option that is; I understand that he played there in the past, but I wonder how good his glove is.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | November 18, 2009 | 9:22 am

    I will always wonder about Hudson.
    I have liked him as a player, but first Arizona doesn’t attemp to re-sign him. He goes to the Dodgers, is extolled for his life in the clubhouse and lineup and then finds himself playing behind Ronnie Belliard when it counts. And we’ve all seen plenty of Belliard. I just wonder if the wrist injury is something that will haunt him forever. He is a great individual and sure look good on the limited basis the Rockies have seen him.

  • joseph | November 18, 2009 | 9:42 am

    I see where the optimism on Stewart comes from, but I think it is risky not having a real viable plan B. The fact is that until he is not, he’s a .220 – .230 hitter at best and that’s pretty unforgiving at 3B. Would I be shocked if he broke out? Of course not but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he hit .175. There is a reason that he wasn’t playing full time down the stretch when the chips were down and assuming that it will be magically fixed in an off-season and not having a contingency plan seems foolhardy.

  • Stace R | November 18, 2009 | 1:53 pm

    I’ve been meaning to post on this topic for a while.

    Since when did second base become a spot in the lineup where you demand a 1-6 hitter’s type numbers? I know the game has changed, but it wasn’t so long ago, that Second, Short and Center were premiere defensive positions that didn’t demand the offensive numbers that the corner infield and outfield positions usually filled.

    Clint Barmes detractors must be running out of things to complain about with this Rockies team. Or they are so offensively minded that that’s how they judge everybody.

    Well, let’s take a look at those numbers a bit.

    Barmes 2009 ranking vs. NL Second Basemen:

    9th in Hits
    8th in Runs Scored
    7th in Slugging Percentage
    5th in Doubles
    4th in Runs Batted In
    3rd in Home Runs

    Now I know those numbers don’t scream Silver Slugger or Tripple Crown, but average to above average offensive numbers PLUS being solid to better than good defensively I think makes him one of the top 5 NL second basemen to have.

    I just don’t think folks see the forest thru the trees.

  • Paul | November 18, 2009 | 2:52 pm

    While it was great to see Helton bounce back in 2009 and have a productive season, maybe the opportunity exists to get out from under that contract and help the Rockies going forward.

    It seems it would help both teams to trade Helton to Atlanta for Derek Lowe. I know Helton has a no trade but he might agree to Atlanta and the Rockies would have to believe in Hawpe as a first baseman. However, for less salary in 2010 and 2011, the Rockies could add a veteran ground ball pitcher and commit to their young outfield (Smith, Fowler, Gonzalez).

    The Braves have six starting pitchers, could get rid of their largest salary commitment (to Lowe) and need a first baseman. Helton’s remaining contract (2 years) is for less total money than Lowes’ remaining three years. Is this possible?

  • Matt G | November 18, 2009 | 2:56 pm

    Thank you to Stace R for doing your research and making a solid point. As for those of you calling for the Rockies to make moves for 2nd and 3rd baseman…I don’t understand your logic. After the disaster of signing Mike Hampton and another pitcher for a ton of dough (cant remember who) the Rockies management decided that it would be wiser to invest in a solid scouting and farm system in order to build talent from within and put out a solid, contending club without having to spend big money on aging players. And guess what…that’s exactly what has happened! We have seen the Rockies play in October for 2 of the past 3 seasons because of excellent scouting, coaching, and a very savvy general manager. I guess my point is, stop your whining. The Rockies are not and never will be a big market team so stop calling for trades for proven players, especially when we don’t need them! Barmes is a solid starting 2nd basemen as Stace R pointed out and Stewart is an incredible talent who has already produced decently and will only get better. And if you are going to complain, keep in mind that pitching wins championships, not slugging 2nd basemen.

  • Doctor Christopher | November 18, 2009 | 2:59 pm

    I think we have to remember also that the budget means we cannot have A+ at every posiiton. If, and this is a big if, Stewart can figure out the strike zone and can take the pitch where it is pitched, he could become a top flight 4 tool 3B, and there are few of those in the majors. As for Barmes, you got to love the guy personally, and his D is plus and his power at the 2B position is rare. Can he hit .265 and avoid popping up so much? Can he and EY together form a 2B/Utility platoon that will provide plus O and enough D between the 2 of them? That along with Ianetta returning to 2008 form will be key in catching the Dodgers next year. As for the rotation and pen, every team accept the Braves have a ? in their front 5, and every team faces the chance a quality reliever has an off year. I think we are well set-up for the upcoming, especially if (again that word) Francis comes back strong, one of the young guys steps up, and the figure out the Lefty and 8th innning roles.

    Hey, we came close last year and no one had a “career” year accept for maybe Tulo (and at 25 do we know that). So lets stay positive and trust ODowd to make good use of the $ he has. Certainly do not sign Glaus.

  • HyukHyuk | November 18, 2009 | 6:15 pm

    If we’re going into the season without making a change in the starting IF, don’t we need a utility guy, specifically an RH bat off the bench? EY’s defense is only proficient enough for 2B and we have no one behind Helton and Atkins. I think Bobby Crosby would be worth a shot on a minor league deal. He can back up Tulo in a nice role reversal from their Dirtbag days and also play 1st and 3rd.

  • Rockpile | November 18, 2009 | 8:10 pm

    HyukHyuk, I think Bobby Crosby is a great suggestion. He can play all the infield positions and even played the outfield last year. He’s solid on D, hits for power and won the Rookie of the year a few years ago. I’d say go after him. He’d be a solid utility guy to replace Atkins. And we’ve had good luck with those Long Beach State guys–Giambi, Tulo. And the funny thing about those Oakland guys is when they leave there they end up hitting again, as we saw with Holliday and Giambi last year. Must be the football stadium they play in. No one can hit there.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | November 18, 2009 | 11:49 pm

    Another thought on Hudson — he is a type A free agent. If he is signed before Dodgers decline arbitration — if they do decline — the Rockies would have to give up their first-round draft choice next June, and that’s not going to happen.

  • ProgMatinee | November 19, 2009 | 4:25 pm

    Barmes seems fairly solid offensivly, but 2b is becoming a position where the TOP teams get huge production. During the playoffs it felt like the Rox had a huge hole at that 8 spot. Combine that hole with the swing and miss style of Ianetta and Stewart, you just can’t have 6-9 of your lineup as strike outs waiting to happen.

  • Rocky | June 18, 2010 | 10:04 am

    I would like to see how the expressed opinions from Nov. are holding up. Stewart as we have now seen, has been maybe a little of a disappointment at the plate. He seems destined to be a .225 hitter and a strikeout king.