Rockies offseason preview: Outfield

October 13, 2010 | 10:36 am | 47  

The Colorado Rockies entered 2010 with too many outfielders, a problem that resolved itself with the release of their most-veteran outfielder, who was once a cornerstone of their rebuilding process. They still have plenty of outfielders to choose from, but might be looking for someone new to take over one of the everyday roles.

(Read our other previews and catch up with the discussions here: SP, RP, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B)

WHO’S LIKELY TO RETURN
Carlos Gonzalez, .336, 34 HRs, 117 RBI, 26 SBs: Gonzalez’s explosion certainly should have made the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics — the two teams that gave him up in trades for players who have since been traded again — jealous. He won a batting title and while occasionally prone to stretches of chasing pitches when opposing pitchers find a temporary vulnerability, he’s excellent at making adjustments to close that hole. He also has a knack for the dramatic. He should continue to grow as a hitter as he becomes more patient and understands that pitchers are increasingly likely to pitch around him. The only question surrounding Gonzalez is which outfield position he will play any given day. He has the range for center field, the arm for right and the instincts for all three spots.

Dexter Fowler, .260, 6 HRs, 36 RBI, 13 SBs: A rough start earned Fowler a demotion to Triple-A at the end of May. The numbers following his return on June 29 — .280 batting average, .357 on-base percentage — were more in line with the Rockies’ expectations for him than the .216 batting average he compiled before being sent to Colorado Springs. He went on to lead the league in triples but was occasionally prone to popping the ball up rather of using his speed. Defensively, he changed more than one game for the Rockies, including saving Ubaldo Jimenez‘s no-hitter with a brilliant diving catch. The Rockies need him to continue to grow as a hitter, strike out less often and make an impact from one of the top two spots in the Rockies order.

Seth Smith, .246, 17 HRs, 52 RBI: The Rockies gave him a chance as an everyday player after releasing Brad Hawpe, but Smith struggled, hitting .184 with three home runs and seven RBI after Hawpe’s departure, and never laid claim to a full-time job. His batting average and on-base percentage dropped significantly in 2010 despite nearly identical playing time as 2009. The Rockies now appear convinced he is a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter.

Ryan Spilborghs, . 279, 10 HRs, 39 RBI: The veteran among returning Rockies outfielders, who are all otherwise a year short of arbitration eligibility. Spilborghs will earn $1.95 million in the second year of a two-year contract and will still have a year of arbitration remaining after the 2011 season. He continues to be a valuable bat off the bench and an outfielder who can play all three positions effectively, but hasn’t had much success in an everyday role.

WHO MIGHT RETURN
Jay Payton, .323, 6 HRs, 74 RBI (minors): The Rockies brought back Payton on a minor-league contract and gave him a chance in September. He played well and could get a chance in 2011 as a backup outfielder, but he has said he isn’t interested in signing a minor-league contract next year.

WHO’S IN THE PICTURE
Eric Young Jr., .244, 17 SBs: If Young doesn’t win the starting second base job, he could stick in a utility role playing some second base, left field and center field. Defensively, however, he looks even less comfortable in the outfield than he does at second base.

Cole Garner, .304, 13 HRs, 61 RBI (minors): A 26th-round pick in 2003, Garner could find a role as a fourth or fifth outfielder after his solid season at Triple-A. But he can be a minor-league free agent if the Rockies don’t add him to the 40-man roster in the offseason, a decision they would need to make within five days of the end of the World Series, a fast and unlikely turnaround for the team. So the decision about whether he remains with the Rockies will probably fall to Garner. If he stays, he could have a shot at making the team in spring training depending on what other moves the team makes.

ON THE FARM
Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies’ second-round pick in 2008, had a very good season at Double-A Tulsa and will play in the Arizona Fall League. He has some speed and power and could make it as an everyday left fielder or a fourth outfielder. He might have a shot at winning a job in spring training, but more likely he will start the season at Colorado Springs and see the major leagues later in the season. Behind him, Tim Wheeler, a first-round pick in 2009, was pushed to Modesto in his first full season and didn’t put up great numbers, but otherwise met the Rockies’ expectations.

WHAT THE ROCKIES NEED
The Rockies will hope for more of the same from Gonzalez, who is locked into one outfield spot, and for a significant step forward from Fowler, who will return to center field. If the Rockies indeed have given up on the idea of making Smith an everyday outfielder after his disappointing audition, they have several choices: platoon Smith and Spilborghs, give Blackmon a chance if he has a solid fall in the AFL or look elsewhere, either in a trade or free agency. Gonzalez’s versatility in the outfield gives the Rockies some flexibility in their search.

WHAT THE ROCKIES WILL DO
The Rockies’ likely need for a third outfielder coincides with their need to significantly upgrade their offense with an impact bat. Blackmon could be a quality outfielder in a fairly short time, but the Rockies probably won’t turn the spot over to a rookie unless they find another big bat elsewhere in the lineup and Blackmon makes a huge splash in the fall and spring. Smith and Spilborghs could return as the Rockies’ primary bats off the bench if they don’t end up in a platoon for the third outfield spot. They could also end up as trade bait, allowing Payton, Garner or Blackmon to enter the picture off the bench. Whatever the end result, the outfield will be active source of rumors throughout the offseason.

47 Comments »

  • Julian | October 13, 2010 | 10:46 am

    Given the number of players currently on the 40 man roster who are likely not to be Rockies next year, it would seem that there would be a spot on the 40 man roster for Garner.

    At this point, who is the better player: Garner or Payton? If the answer is Payton, then I would try to sign Payton (or another free agent)(aren’t there a few outfielders out there who can also play 1B and bat right handed?) and take my chances with Garner. It seems that Garner may get caught in a numbers game where he is the odd man out.

    BTW, I read that Matt Murton had a very good season in Japan. Do the Rockies still have any rights as to him?

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 11:01 am

    The issue with Garner and the 40-man isn’t so much whether they might have a spot, but whether they will know their plans and have a spot open within five days of the World Series. There are potential free agents and players with options who remain on the 40-man roster until decisions regarding them — whether a team is going to pick up an option or a player is going to declare free agency — have been made. So even if a player, like say Octavio Dotel, isn’t likely to return to the Rockies, he might not be off the 40-man roster within five days of the WS. Also, if the Rockies added Garner to the 40-man right away then changed their minds and decided that he had no clear role, that would reduce his choice in where he lands, because he would then have to clear waivers. The Rockies have a history of trying to be fair in these situations. If we were talking about someone who might compete for an everyday job, the Rockies would be more aggressive in protecting him. But because we’re talking about a backup role at best in 2011, the team will likely give Garner substantial choice in his next move.

  • Eric G. | October 13, 2010 | 11:33 am

    I say we make a trade for Corey Hart. Problem solved right there. He’s pretty much Jayson Werth but cheaper.

  • Wayne | October 13, 2010 | 11:53 am

    EY2 No No No!!! in the outfield. I like Payton but he is not an everyday player anymore. Spilly and Smith as a platoon with Garner and/or Payton as backup, possibly. Garner given a chance, more possible. Corey Hart or Jayson Werth? Corey Hart. Or maybe a free agent like Jonny Gomes from the Reds. One thing is for certain, Dexter needs to step it up and put together a full season. He has all the potential, but we need him to reach it next year.

  • Ike | October 13, 2010 | 12:08 pm

    The Rockies must find more production from the corners. With Stewart complicating a 3B change and Helton complicating a 1B change, the third outfield spot seems to be the place to do it. I’m not going to pretend to have the answer (not now anyway) but in my mind it should be a priority to find a stud or at least a near stud to occupy this position. It seems to me that this move would make all the other non-pitching decisions much, much easier.

  • Shane | October 13, 2010 | 12:14 pm

    Any news on Cargo’s wrist/thumb tendonitis? It hobbled him down the stretch and wrist injuries are terrible for hitters. Just wondering if there’s anything from the Rox or Cargo on this? It would be horrible if this is something re-occuring next year.

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 12:23 pm

    No lingering issues with Gonzalez’s wrist that I’m aware of. Offseason rest should resolve it. If it were more serious, he wouldn’t have been in the lineup during the last week of the season.

  • Shane | October 13, 2010 | 12:29 pm

    Steve – I’m hopeful that is it. The problem is Cargo’s a competitor and it’s something he can play through. The concern is that it will sap his power. Praying that with rest it will resolve, but from what I read on tendonitis in the wrist, it’s something that can come back and is very painful.

  • Julian | October 13, 2010 | 12:36 pm

    Steve,

    Thanks. Your comments on how the Rockies need to manage the 40-man roster are interesting. You’re right that the Rockies need to save room on the 40-man roster for other teams’ free agents. We all hope there are a few of those whom the Rockies sign, although we don’t all agree on at what positions.

  • Ike | October 13, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    I suppose I am dreaming, but I would be happy going into 2011 with the following starting lineup:

    Dex
    Herrera / EY / Nelson
    Cargo
    Tulo
    Stewart
    Werth
    Helton
    Olivo

    Can / would the Rockies sign DLR and Werth? It would be a pleasant surprise.

    I’ll repeat my feeling that this 3rd OF spot is the place to fix the offense.

  • Rich M | October 13, 2010 | 2:01 pm

    DanO rumor has it that you were looking for a right handed corner power bat that could be had on a budget. Well once again I am here to help, and I know you will soon be putting that check in the mail.

    The only problem with this idea is that you have fleeced the poor Orioles more than once over the last couple of years. But just in case they are still taking your telephone calls, then you should go get Nolan Reimold – that’s a right handed power bat that can play left field and first base.

    This little trade won’t cost you much either as I am guessing that Seth Smith or maybe even EY2 might be enough to do the trick. AL ROY candidate in 2008 with a lost injury year in 2009, this is a deal that you can get done on a limited budget without raiding your prospect list.

  • RocketMan | October 13, 2010 | 3:03 pm

    In watching the playoffs over the last few days, and the fantastic pitching from Giants, Phils and Cliff Lee, I’d say find the least expensive outfield/corner solution (e.g. Reimold above)and pour the cash into DLR or a playoff-proven starter. The shutdowns of lineups (e.g. TB, Cincy and Atlanta) by the division winners’ power/control pitchers is the proven approach to playoff success. Hitters will only get us there, pitching will make it worthwhile

  • robert | October 13, 2010 | 3:25 pm

    Why is it that Fowler seems to get a free pass? Is he really the answer for the Rocks? At what point do we say Fowler and Stewart are what they are? They have had a couple of years and have done the same things showing little improvement.

  • Rich M | October 13, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    Sorry that Reimold ROY candidate year should be 2009 and the lost injury year should be 2010. But I too agree with RocketMan in that pitching, pitching and more pitching is what we really need to spend the Monforts money on.

  • Rich M | October 13, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    robert – Might be because Fowler plays Gold Glove defense in center and has shown substantial improvement at the plate in 2010. If Fowler was hitting in the eight spot, you would love him, but because the Rockies have few alternatives, they have to hit him at the top of the order.

    BTW Fowler has only been in the MLB about a full season combined now, it’s way too early to give up on him.

  • ProgMatinee | October 13, 2010 | 3:52 pm

    Dexter is a year younger than Stewart and has played pro ball 1 year less. Therefore deserves at least 1 more year of scrutiny than Stewart.

    Fowler also offers the kind of speed and glove that is essential to play centerfield in Coors. He is also a speed demon on the basepaths, something the Rockies lack.

    That said, he doesn’t get a free pass at all. A lot of people here have been ready to throw in the towel on him as well.

    The Rockies, as good as they’ve been, have a lot of room to grow. If 2 or 3 out of Iannetta, Stewart, Fowler, Smith, EYJ finally blossom in 2011 this team is going to be really really good. World Series type of good. But if none of them blossom soon we are going to be scrambling to put an 80 win club together.

  • Rich M | October 13, 2010 | 5:11 pm

    Last thought on the outfield, as I am really confused as to why players that have the potential to hit .300 at the MLB level are shunned by the Rockies, cut loose and never given a real shot. The recent list includes Murton, Miller, Payton and soon to be Garner.

    Sure none of those guys will likely ever hit 30 homers in an MLB season, but a right handed outfield bat that can at least approach .300 wouldn’t seem to be all that awful?

    Not that I don’t like Spilly, but it seems to me that each of the four players above could fill Spilly’s outfield role and likely come with a substantially lower price tag.

  • Julian | October 13, 2010 | 6:01 pm

    Lots of great comments that I agree with. Yes, I think that we should spend for starting pitchers as our highest priority, whether it’s DLR or someone else. Assuming that we resign Hammel and Cook can start, then we need at least one starting pitcher. If one of those assumptions doesn’t pan out, then we need more.

    I hope that there’s a time when Fowler is our worst offensive player and he bats eighth. I’m not convinced that he’s a leadoff hitter, although he has speed. On days when he plays, I think that Spilly’s average allows him to bat leadoff.

    I think that this coming year is the year when players like Stewart, Fowler and Iannetta have to produce. That’s enough patience.

    Rich M, I’m a bit confused about the same issue. We’ve talked about Matt Miller on this blog. From a box score perspective it appears that he can hit in the major leagues, although he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, and his defense perhaps is a liability at Coors Field. In that case, why wasn’t he converted at some point in the system to a different position that he could play in Coors Field, such as 1B or 3B? Or did the team think that at some point he could become an adequate Coors Field outfielder? There has been some discussion on Garner’s good year at AAA, but wasn’t Miller’s year better at the plate?

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 6:39 pm

    Success at Triple-A is not necessarily a guarantee of success in the majors.

  • Karl | October 13, 2010 | 7:18 pm

    Also on Garner, I don’t want another development project of potential in the outfield. I move fwd with the five we have unless a great trade presents itself, i.e. Greinke or other 1-2 type starter. I then would advocate signing Payton if a trade of Smith or Spilly is needed to get that done, but I don’t see a reason to protect either Payton or Garner on the 40 man.

  • SteveinAurora | October 13, 2010 | 7:33 pm

    Time/position to open up the purse strings (you listing Brothers Monfort??) . Previously, I advocated going cheaper but sound at second base, while saving some funds for other positions. As good as Barmes is on defense, there is no reason to pay more than $3M per year to a (mostly) non-factor at the plate. Visualize…if you will…an outfield of Cargo, Fowler and Jayson Werth. Phenomenal range, great speed, complimentary yet off-setting skills. Oh…and the right-handed bat that Cargo and Tulo need in the fifth spot for protection with a little bit of speed/winner/competitor/attitude added in for flavor. Fill out the roster with plus-subs like Smith, Spilly, Payton…maybe EY and up and coming prospects. Perhaps not the definitive answer, but I can dream.

  • SteveinAurora | October 13, 2010 | 7:46 pm

    Sorry…another add-on. I get to typing and forget about some other points. Corey Hart – I know fantasy baseball is not real baseball, but I had him on teams for the last 3 or 4 years. Complete disappointment to the point that I avoided him completely this year. His team was ready to give up on him and ship him out, but he did end up having a pretty good year. I say avoid at (almost) all costs as he reminds me of the special first half that Hawpe had last year, only to be cut loose a year later. Go bigger (see above post) or figure out a similar player for less money.

  • Rich M | October 13, 2010 | 8:19 pm

    Steve,

    I agree that a player will not likely hit for the same average at the MLB level as in AAA, however in most cases I have already adjusted the average down by about 25 points or so. Those four outfielders would still be hitting better than many of the guys on the MLB roster.

    Also unless you EY2, and I don’t for the outfield, there are only four outfielders on the twenty five man roster – Cargo, Dex, Smith and Spilly. If EY2 is traded as I expect he will be, then the Rockies will need the fifth outfielder for the active roster.

  • Agbayani | October 13, 2010 | 9:11 pm

    Julian, you know who would’ve helped this year?

    Matt Murton. Career v. LHP: 853 OPS

    He did go to Japan, and he had a monster year there. Broke Ichiro’s record for hits in a season.

    Really, it shouldn’t be that hard for the Rockies to find another 820 OPS-type platoon righthanded hitting corner outfielder. Maybe someone like Spilly but with a bit more power. O’Dowd is known to like Ryan Ludwick (thank God the Cards turned down Holliday for Ludwick + a good prospect!). He’ll be a 6th year arb-eligible guy, but I’m guessing the Padres may pass on him because (1) he’s a bit pricey for a club that draws 22,000 in the middle of a divisional race; (2) he really stunk for the Padres since coming over from the Cards. He’s be a possible platoon partner for Seth Smith, perhaps putting on a first baseman’s glove to spell Helton too.

    As for Smith: I don’t get the notion that he was given the chance to be an everyday player and failed. Not much of a chance if you ask me. Let’s say a full-time player gets at least 100 plate appearances per month (that’s 4 per game for 25 games, sitting out 3-4 games per month). Here’s what Smith got in 2010:

    April 52
    May 85
    June 66
    July 66
    August 57
    Sept 59

    Looks like a guy who played about 60 percent of the time. Oh, and he had 52 at bats all year against lefties. (And was predictably crappy against them in that tiny sample.) In other words, a pure platoon player who actually sat out some against righties as well. So folks should be confident in saying things like, “We’ve seen enough of him over the last couple years to have our doubts about whether he’s our rightfielder for the next couple years.” But it’s really silly to say things like, “He had his shot at proving he can play every day in 2010, and he failed.”

    By the way, I still think he’s pretty good, and I’d have no qualms about going into 2011 with a RF platoon of Smith and Spilly again. But that doesn’t mean the Rox shouldn’t be trying to upgrade. Hey, we all know they’ve gotta upgrade somewhere, so if there’s an outfielder out there at the right price, go for it … get better in the outfield and maybe you can get away with a Herrera at 2B. It all depends on where the value is this offseason.

    What’s totally lacking (and it’s kind of weird that it is) is any kind of power bat in the Rockies minor league system from Modesto on up. The guys they’ve drafted lately can already be labeled busts (Brian Rike), or they’re real close to being labeled busts (Wheeler). Really, it’s so bad that if you worked out Chris Nelson in the OF he’d immediately be the best outfield prospect we’ve got. The Rockies simply need to do better at finding corner players with pop. I think they’ve gotten a little too carried away with looking for good athletes (toolsy guys, although of an unorthodox/ex-quarterback mold), and a little too hesitant to look for more plodding guys who can hit the ball out of the park. Blackmon has promise, but he’s still iffy and at least another year away unless he goes all wild on us this fall and next spring. This is really an area in which the Rox need to make a smart trade or two, or hit the free agent market for some veteran with a little pop.

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 10:07 pm

    If Eric Young Jr. is traded, I would be shocked.

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 10:21 pm

    On Miller, like many of you I would have liked to see him at Coors Field just to know if the assessment I’ve heard of him for years — below average defensively, not enough power for a corner outfield spot in the majors — was accurate. But 29 other teams had a chance to take him in the Rule V draft the past two years and didn’t. That tells me enough in this case.

  • Bill | October 13, 2010 | 10:23 pm

    I don’t think our 3rd outfielder is in the system. We have to out and get him. Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford are two free agent outfielders. Crawford is the best and probably the most expensive but can you imagine an outfield of Cargo, Dex and Crawford at Coors Field. What a defense. That being said the Monferts won’t go for him. If Werth has a monster playoffs he will probably price himself out of the Rockies budget. Too bad because I think he would be the perfect Coors Field outfielder. The problem is Werth probably wouldn’t want to play for Tracy who platooned him in LA. Perhaps if he played him full-time Werth and Tracy would still be in LA

    I’m a Dexter Fowler fan and if he can have a .350+ OBP he more than does the job. If the Rockies can only get him to improve his baserunning and bunting skills he would be more than enough in Center Field. Only problem is, he seemed to go backward in both of those skills this year. And that might have been Tracy’s fault because he doesn’t emphasize those skills.

    I think Smith, Spillborhgs and Peyton are 4th and 5th outfields and unless one of them can also play 3rd and/or 1st one of them has to go.

  • Steve Foster | October 13, 2010 | 10:25 pm

    On Wheeler, far too early to consider him a bust.

  • Agbayani | October 13, 2010 | 11:01 pm

    Wheeler had a very unimpressive season at Modesto. 114 strikeouts in 510 ABs, 12 HRs, a 725 OPS in what has always been considered a great hitters league. I guess there’s a couple things to hang our hopes on: good speed (22 of 30 in SBs), and the fact that he’s still young (he’ll be 23 in January). But still, you’d like to see something better than those numbers from a guy who was drafted out of college in the first round. So Steve, I guess you’re right and it’s too soon to start using the word “bust” in relation to him, but certainly “disappointing” fits the bill.

  • Julian | October 14, 2010 | 12:25 am

    I’d like to figure out what the Rockies’ budget is for filling out a roster. Steve, you had posted some salary figures in the posting about starting pitchers: So, for Helton (10.6), Cook (9.25), Street (7.3), Tulo (5.5), Betancourt (3.775), Corpas (3.5), Ianetta (2.55), Spilly (1.95), Ubaldo (2.8), Olivo (2.7), Hammel (3.0), Belisle (2.0), Delcarmen (1.8), and Stewart (1.2), it comes to a total of $57,925,000. (There were some arbitration estimates in that total.) If Cargo, Fowler, Smith, Herrera, Rogers, G. Reynolds, Chacin, Morales, Daley, M. Reynolds, and EY are all slightly over $400,000, that come to roughly $4.5 million. If you round, call the total so far $62,500,000. Our budget last year was $84,000,000. So, that would leave us about $21,500,000 to pay DLR and some new players (ignoring the fact that we might trade away some of the players on this list) if we assume that next year’s budget will be the same as last year. Steve, am I figuring this out right, or am I missing something? If I’m in the right ballpark (no pun intended), then it seems that we should be able to sign a few decent free agents and stay within a budget.

  • Wayne | October 14, 2010 | 7:19 am

    Julian, you are in the right ballpark. I did the same math back on 10-5 in starting pitcher posts. My numbers were off from yours, but only slightly (you had $57,925 for 14 players, I had $55,125 for 13 players). After adding everything up we both came up with over $20 million to spend. Seems like with a modest bump in payroll we have well over $20 million to round out a roster. DanO and Monforts need to open the strings like SteveinAurora said.

  • Rich M | October 14, 2010 | 7:48 am

    Probably the biggest EY2 fan here on this site, however I will give you three reasons that I believe that he will be traded by the Rockies:

    1. The Rockies really don’t have very many tradable, valuable and expendable players. The list might include S Smith, EY2, Spilly and maybe some relievrs. So if the Rockies want to fill some holes, one or more of these guys might have to be sacrificed.

    2. Defense, although I think EY2′s defense at second base is at least acceptable, many around here strongly disagree. His outfield defense is substantially worse and probably not acceptable at the MLB level at least at this point.

    3. Nelson is ready to take the second base job. While many here think he should start the year at AAA, I not only think Nelson will win the second base job, but barring injury, I think he will play most everyday there.

    4. EY2′s speed game is not exactly the style of baseball that J Tracy embraces and really wants to play. EY2 and Fowler both seemed to have the J Tracy brakes placed firmly on them this past year. Do I agree with that, no – but J Tracy is going to be the manager again at least for 2011.

    So you add all that up and I don’t see EY2 on the Rockies opening day 2011 roster. Hope I am wrong and he wins the second base spring training competition, but the signs seem to be pointing to EY2 packing his bags and leaving town.

  • Agbayani | October 14, 2010 | 8:02 am

    Rich, you’re right — the base stealing game really didn’t seem to be Tracy’s style. And that makes sense with CarGo and Tulo having MVP type years right behind Dex and EY. Why run yourself out of a big inning with those guys behind you?

    Which raises the question: why bat those guys (particularly EY) at the top of the order if they’re not going to run? EY isn’t exactly an on-base percentage champ. That why I’ve always thought you need guys on base in front of CarGo and Tulo, even if they’re not “classic” leadoff types.

    I don’t think EY has much trade value, however …

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 8:28 am

    Rockies budget should be somewhere in the same neighborhood as it was this year: $80-85 million. The math you did is right. The arbitration numbers I threw out there are complete guesses (some could be higher) and there’s a good chance that some parts get moved around. But the Rockies probably start the offseason with between $57-65 million committed or expected to be committed to players currently on the roster. If you do the math on 2012 (Cot’s Baseball Contracts is an excellent resource for this kind of information) it’s roughly the same number (less for Helton, no Cook, but more arbitration raises, including a big on Gonzalez). So if the Rockies were to commit between $15-20 million to free agents or players acquired in trades this offseason, it wouldn’t have a serious negative effect on their budget next year. That’s a significant difference in their flexibility than in past years — they have rarely had arbitration raises coincide with a significant drop in other salaries that would give them some room in the budget. $15-20 million is not a lot to go shopping with, but it’s enough to make a couple significant moves.

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 8:31 am

    Agbayani, the reason you have speed at the top of the lineup for Tulo and Cargo is that they can score from 1st on a double or score from 2nd on a single whereas Seth Smith or Spilborghs probably don’t (unless they are doing hit and run).

    Whats the point in having speed at the bottom of the lineup when you have a pitcher coming up next?

    Also, I don’t know where to get the stats to see if this is supported, but my eyeball test says that Seth Smith and Spilborghs have been better lower in the line up than at the top.

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 8:36 am

    If we really want to put some more strength at the top of the lineup, how about moving both Cargo and Tulo up 1 notch this.

    Fowler
    Cargo
    Tulo
    Stewart
    Helton
    Olivo
    Smith
    Herrera

    or if you want to leave Cargo at 3.

    Fowler
    Tulo
    Cargo
    Stewart
    Helton
    Olivo
    Smith
    Herrera

  • Eric G. | October 14, 2010 | 8:43 am

    SteveinAurora,

    Corey Hart is Jayson Werth only cheaper. Take a look at their 162 game averages.

    Runs – Hart 87, Werth 91
    Hits – Hart 160, Werth 143
    Doubles – Hart 37, Werth 29
    HR – Hart 24, Werth 25
    RBI – Hart 88, Werth 85
    SB – Hart 17, Werth 16
    BB – Hart 42, Werth 75
    SO – Hart 124, Werth 152
    BA – Hart .275, Werth .272
    OBP – Hart .329, Werth .367
    SLG – Hart .483, Werth .481
    OPS – Hart .812, Werth .848

    Jayson Werth gets a lot of more credit for what he does because he plays with the Phillies. I’ll take Corey Hart.

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 8:49 am

    One positive of getting Jason Werth however is he’s as big a Rockies killer as there is.

    Personally, I think both are going to be way overpaid. I’d rather have Dan Uggla.

  • Eric G. | October 14, 2010 | 8:52 am

    Don’t worry, Werth will be moving on to the Yankees or the Red Sox along with Crawford and Cliff Lee. Haha!!!

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 9:04 am

    Hart signed a contract extension this summer with the Brewers, so I don’t expect him to be traded. Some outfielders who might be available on the trade market: the Royal’s David DeJesus, the Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus, the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Cubs’ Kosuke Fukudome. There may be more, but those are the big names that have been rumored.

  • Eric G. | October 14, 2010 | 9:11 am

    Trade Dexter for Rasmus. Would the Cardinals do that?

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 9:20 am

    I’ll take Dexter. Rasmus is pretty much the same player as Seth Smith and Spilborghs. Not sure we need 3 or 4 of the same style player.

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 9:26 am

    Rasmus has big-time potential and will be an All-Star before all is said and done. But the same can be said of Fowler. If the Rockies had another obvious solution at the top of the order it’s an interesting idea, but I doubt the Cardinals would trade Rasmus for Fowler straight up.

  • Julian | October 14, 2010 | 10:07 am

    OK, how do we spend 15 – 20 million dollars?

    I think that we need a starting pitcher (maybe 2), a left handed situational reliever to be the second lefty reliever out of the bullpen (Reynolds will be the first, and we may not need a second if Morales finally comes around, and I am assuming that Beimel will be too expensive given the presence of Reynolds and Brothers being on the horizon) backups at 1B and 3B, and perhaps a starting outfielder.

    Do we spend 8 million a year for 3 years for DLR? It seems we could fit that amount into our budget for a good starting pitcher. Is there another pitcher who would pitch as well, but cost less, or someone else that we could pay a little more for who would pitch better? DOD has done a good job of finding one year stopgap starting pitchers to plug into the lineup.

  • Ike | October 14, 2010 | 1:41 pm

    I don’t discount the importance of pitching in the least, but the Rockies must get production from the corners. Coming into 2010 Hawpe was supposed to provide it, and if All Star Hawpe had shown up he would have. Failure to add this player during this off-season, would be a regression in design. Unless the Rockies are willing to pay Helton $10M to be a bench player, I don’t think it makes sense to put a bunch more $$$ at 1B. Similar at 3B; Stewart is going to be back and has a great deal of upside. Cargo is obviously solid at one outfield corner. So, in my mind the Rockies must get an impact 3rd outfielder. With the fingers already being crossed at 1B and 3B, I think it has to be a “can’t miss” guy. Crawford and Werth would seem to fit the bill. Btw, this has to be in addition to signing DLR. Needless to say, DOD is staring at a much different off-season this year than he did last year. It is tough to wait for it to get rolling. Is it time for pitchers and catchers yet?

  • Will | November 4, 2010 | 10:49 pm

    I think Smith still has a lot of potential (and he’s produced quite a bit vs. RHP the last 3 years). This year his AB/HR ratio was a low 21.1 (league leader was Pujols at 14, and Smith’s in good company . . . Jayson Werth 20.5, Ryan Zimmerman 21, Matt Holliday 21.3, Matt Kemp 21.5, Chris Young 21.6). Obviously, that’s just one category, but we’re also talking about a mere slump of a month or two.

    And if you guys don’t want him, the Braves will take him!

  • Royalsfan101 | November 5, 2010 | 1:49 am

    I know you guys are high on Fowler, and I’m not knocking him. But as a Royals fan, or just a non- rockies mark (Although I do like the Rox a little), you guys don’t want to find your “Alex Gordon” in Fowler. What I’m saying is don’t rule out the posibility that the brass wont make Charlie Blackmon your every day starting CF by 2012. I know, I know, it’s too early to give up on Fowler. Us Royals have been saying that about Gordon for years now. It’s evident that yall don’t like Blackmon for a corner OF spot, but the guy plays very well in Center. Not to mention, with the very little experience as a hitter he has, he is really putting up great numbers for a 24 year old center field prospect. As a royals guy, I would love to get him in a Royals Uni. I’d give you Dejesus for him and a B level prospect or cash. Don’t be surprised if Fowler can’t put it together next year, and you have Blackmon maning the middle line by 2012. That’s all I’m sayin’ If anyone would like to offer there input on Blackmon being in Center, or not being in Center, please. I’d love to hear your input.