Rockies offseason preview: Shopping list

October 14, 2010 | 9:52 am | 45  

If you’ve been following our position-by-position discussions (SP, RP, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF) much of this has already been covered. But here is what the Colorado Rockies will be out looking for this winter:

Right-handed-hitting first baseman
The Rockies probably aren’t going to turn Todd Helton into a full-time pinch-hitter, but they certainly will want someone who can split time at first base. The ideal candidate would be a right-handed hitter who can give Helton a break against some lefties and take over the position if, as happened in 2010, Helton needs an extended break or lands on the disabled list. Whomever the Rockies add will likely to able play another position as well. A few candidates: Ty Wigginton or Jose Lopez, who could also play second and occasionally spell Ian Stewart at third against lefties, as well; Conor Jackson, who could play some outfield; or Victor Martinez, who could split time between catcher and first. Martinez, however, would cost the Rockies their first-round pick as well as a substantial amount of money. A young first baseman blocked elsewhere, like the Reds’ Yonder Alonso, is also a possibility. But Alonso is a left-handed hitter, which wouldn’t create an obvious power-sharing situation at first.

Starting outfielder
Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs are now likely backup outfielders, so the Rockies will be looking for a new right or left fielder with Carlos Gonzalez taking the other corner. The Rockies have some intriguing in-house outfield prospects like Charlie Blackmon, Tim Wheeler and, even further down the line, perhaps 2010 first-round pick Kyle Parker. But none of the three is ready to assume an everyday major-league role; Parker has yet to even see a professional pitch. The Rockies will look for someone through free agency or a trade. However, don’t expect the team to dive into the market for Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, who are in line for a substantial raises as the top free-agent position players on the market. The Rockies have some room under their budget, more than they’ve had in some time, but either player would fill up that budget in a hurry. The Rockies are more likely to get involved in talks for several outfielders who could be available in trades, like the Kansas City Royals’ David DeJesus or the St. Louis Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus.

Impact bat
This item will be found along with one of the previous two. Because a first baseman will inevitably share time with Helton, the Rockies are more likely to look for an impact bat in the outfield, where there’s a clear open position, or someone who can play multiple positions like Martinez. The Rockies will be looking for a No. 5 or 6 hitter with power and a better walk-strikeout ratio than their current in-house options.

Starting pitcher
Whether or not they can bring back Jorge De La Rosa will be one of the first questions the Rockies have to answer after the World Series. Prospects for his return look promising at the moment. While the market for De La Rosa, a lefty with the stuff to be a frontline starter, has the potential to get out of control, the lack of a long history of success for De La Rosa might be enough the dampen the free-agent outlook enough that the Rockies look like the safest bet for a payday. If that happens, the Rockies, who understand they won’t get De La Rosa for nothing, could bring him back with a substantial raise that still fits their budget. Regardless of whether the Rockies bring De La Rosa or their other left-handed free-agent starter, Jeff Francis, back, they will continue to look for upgrades to the rotation in the trade market or other free agents like Francis, who have something to prove and might be had for a bargain on one-year deals.

Reliever
Of lower priority given the excess of candidates for two or three spots in the bullpen is finding an additional arm to take some of the load off the Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle and perhaps provide some insurance for Huston Street. The Rockies may look for help in a trade or veterans on minor-league contracts. But given the amount of money already committed to the bullpen — $7.3 million for Street, $3.775 million for Betancourt, $3.5 million to an injured Manuel Corpas and an arbitration raise for Belisle — this probably will not be a high-expenditure area.

45 Comments »

  • Nate W | October 14, 2010 | 10:09 am

    Crawford might be worth the money…. at least more so than Werth. He would be the perfect leadoff hitter for this team and would turn the spacious coors field outfield into seemingly a little league outfield with Dexter in Center and Cargo in right. I wish the rockies would at least consider that… but I realize that the market will probably call for about 20 mil a year which is way out of the rockies budget. Still fun to think about three of the fastest guys in the league patrolling the same outfield…

  • Julian | October 14, 2010 | 10:15 am

    Can Alonso also play another position? I think that we hurt ourselves last year by having Giambi who could only play first and Mora who for all intents and purposes could only play 3B.

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 10:20 am

    IMO OF isn’t even a position I’d think about free agency or trade. Between the myriad of depth on the team and minors someone should have a decent season.

    Same with relievers. Unless there is an injury I think they can make do with what they have.

    all of the money should go to infield and starting pitching to get 2 or 3 good players, none of this spreading it thin to get 5 or 6 average players.

  • Wayne | October 14, 2010 | 10:22 am

    Steve, I like Rasmus (an laRussa doesn’t). So what do you think it would take to pry him away from the Cards? Also DeJesus bats left, so if we are looking for a right handed bat I don’t see him fitting in the line-up.

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 10:23 am

    Alonso played some left field in the minors this year (17 games) as the Reds tried to find a way to keep both Alonso and Joey Votto. But it was sort of like Todd Helton as a left fielder way back when the Rockies had thoughts of keeping him and Andres Galarraga. Helton, like Alonso, didn’t make an error while he played in the outfield, but anyone who saw Helton play the outfield knew he was a first baseman.

  • Wayne | October 14, 2010 | 10:26 am

    Prog, I agree. SP 1B 2B and 3B all need more attention. I’m with you all the way on Uggla. Wish there was a way to get Zimmerman from Nats.
    We upgrade significantly in the infield and SP and the outfield takes care of itself.

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 10:36 am

    The asking price for Rasmus is a bit of a mystery because of the LaRussa issues, but they aren’t going to sell cheap just to get rid of him. Probably a major-leaguer and a top prospect, may two. DeJesus might be about the same because he’s in the last year of his contract. If the Royals hold onto him for 2011, they would get two first-round picks when/if he leaves as a free agent. Just as the Rockies sought for Holliday, the offer for DeJesus would have to exceed what they would get otherwise. A lefty hitter isn’t ideal. The Rockies are looking for a right-handed bat, but the only position at which that’s a real requirement is first base, ideally a first base/third base option to spell two lefties, Helton and Stewart. Which, as much as I like Alonso, I find that a poor fit. In the outfield, I think the Rockies will look for a right-handed hitter, but it the end will seek the best outfielder they can for that spot. They will not, however, seek a left-handed hitter who can’t hold his own against left-handed pitchers. That said, someone like Carlos Beltran if he’s healthy, might be a better fit than DeJesus and Rasmus.

  • Steve Foster | October 14, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Given the in-house options at second base, it’s highly unlikely they’ll do anything there. Not saying it’s the right decision, just saying what’s going to happen. I understand everyone’s frustration with Stewart, too, but the Rockies are not giving up on him. Again not saying it’s the right decision, just saying that’s the case — 95 percent chance Stewart is the Rockies’ Opening Day third baseman. Only way he goes elsewhere is if the Rockies are overwhelmed by an offer or in a package that lands a blue chip player in return, like a Zack Greinke or a David Wright. Because of that, the best options for adding offense are first base and the outfield. The Rockies have some interesting outfield prospects — personally, I’m a big believer in Blackmon — but no one ready to make the impact they need in the lineup in 2011. Someone with a year or two left before free agency, like a DeJesus or a Beltran, might be a good bridge to Blackmon or Wheeler.

    The Rockies will devote a lot of attention to starting pitching — De La Rosa will either be back or they’ll find someone significant to take his place. Even if he comes back, I expect the Rockies to make a serious push to find a big-time but afforable arm, someone entering a second or third year of arbitration with a team heavy on pitching like the Rays.

  • C Thistle | October 14, 2010 | 3:30 pm

    I wonder if Derrek Lee is an option at 1st. He’s a right handed power hitting, good fielding, veteran 1st baseman; it seems like he’d be a good complement to Todd. His price may be too steep, however.

  • Eric G. | October 14, 2010 | 3:53 pm

    I really hope the Rockies spend some money on a big time free agent. I don’t buy into that Mid-Market team crap. I remember when the Avs were going well before the salary cap they were the Yankees of hockey. They were always at the top of the list in payroll. Last time I checked they too played in the “mid-market” town of Denver. Spend some money Monforts and lets win a World Series!!!

  • ProgMatinee | October 14, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    The beginning of the end of the Avalanche was when they THOUGHT they were the Yankees of hockey bringing in Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanee, Theo Fluery, Rob Blake.

    The Avs made 2 deals in their history that made a difference. Trading Owen Nolan for Ozolins and trading for Roy. The vast majority of their players were home grown. Every other major free agency or trade move has been pretty irrelevant or a bad move. Trading away some of their youth and going for the has beens killed the team.

  • Eric G. | October 14, 2010 | 4:14 pm

    Yeah but the players they had weren’t cheap. Their whole team was pretty much an All-Star team. I’m just saying the Avs had one of the highest payrolls in hockey for a long time. Why can’t the Rockies? They play in the same city.

  • Bill | October 14, 2010 | 5:51 pm

    The Rockies will never have one of the highest payrolls in baseball because of the Yankees and Red Sox, and to a lesser extent the Dodgers, Mets and Cubs. But they could spend a lot more in payroll if they wanted to. And Colorado fans have already shown that they will come out and support a winner, but (except for the Broncos) will not support a loser.

    They should raise their payroll budget but they need to spend smartly and my question is does the front office have the real expertise to get it done. The Yankees since Steinbrenner bought the team spent big bucks but many times it was just spending good money after bad. If was when George was suspended for a few years that the Yankees spent wisely (And some of those guys are still playing: Jeter, Posada, Riveria and Pettite). And while the Yankees are in a different ballpark budget wise than everybody else, they still have to spend wisely and get lucky or it doesn’t work. A few years ago Cashman refused to go after Santana of the Twins and chose to keep both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Hughes was very good for them this year. And a year later they went after CC Sabathia and he led them to a WS win last year and they are in the final four this year. The Mets, who spend alot of money, traded for Santana and he’s pitched ok but for the most part has been a hard luck non-winner and then got hurt.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this but just because you spend big bucks it doesn’t mean a thing. Choose wisely and stay lucky.

  • Doc | October 14, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    Seems like deja vu all over again–if only Stewart, Iannetta, Smith and Spilly turn it around, all we need to do is look at pitching. I’m wondering if any of these “disappointments” is going to play some winter ball, and at least show some desire to improve. Might as well throw Olivo into that group–would be nice if the guy could learn the strike zone.

  • Rich M | October 15, 2010 | 7:44 am

    Steve,

    Any idea when decisions on the coaching staff will be annouced? Not that I am expecting sweeping changes, but the Baylor situation deserves to be watched pretty closely. For my money he should not be retained for 2011, as I would much prefer a “contact” approach by most of the hitters in the Rockies lineup. The all or nothing “homer” approach is getting a little tiresome and has had some disastrous results on the road.

    Ironically the one guy that actually changed his approach this season was Barmes, although the results were still not what he or the team were hoping for. And as much grief as I give Barmes on this site, I also have to give him alot of credit for at least trying to adapt his approach at the plate.

    Barmes will still chase that low and away slider somewhat, but not near as much as just a year ago.

  • jimboelrod | October 15, 2010 | 8:05 am

    Steve

    Just wanted to let you guys know how much I enjoy this website. Thanks to you Tracy and Jack for the good work.

    I would also like to thank all the people who post on here regularly. I generally enjoy reading their posts and hearing their opinions. There seems to be very little vitriol on here.

    The Rox have managed to set the bar a little higher for themselves now. Remember when an 83 win season would have been a dream? Can’t wait for the 2011 season!

  • Curt in Florida | October 15, 2010 | 9:01 am

    Someone, maybe his agent, maybe his Dad, ought to take Kyle Parker aside and tell him to stop fooling around with football. There is a major opportunity in front of him in Denver. I have little to go on other than stats (less than convincing) and YouTube videos, but somehow I think the guy could be a Dante Bichette.

    And please, please, please, do not even think about bringing in Derrek Lee. Even though Lee’s just 35, he’s done.

  • C Thistle | October 15, 2010 | 9:04 am

    I wonder how much a hitting coach can help. Look at three popular Rockies and their flame-outs at the art of hitting: Garrett Atkins, ’05,’06, ’07, and ’08, a .300 hitter. Crashed and burned out of baseball. Barmes is a career .254 hitter after batting .235 this year. His upside may have been more imagined than ever possible. Brad Hawpe, a career .285 hitter who dropped to .255 with the Rockies this year.

    I wonder if a different approach from a hitting coach could help these guys or if it is just a case of the league discovering how to get them out.

  • Curt in Florida | October 15, 2010 | 9:21 am

    IMHO, hitting coaches definitely can make a difference, and do. Charley Lau and Rudy Jaramillo come to mind. Why is it that people are quick to credit (and discredit) pitching coaches, while far less attention is paid to batting coaches? Bring in a good one and I think there could be, if you allow me, an upswing in averages and a decrease in strikeouts. Now wouldn’t that be nice!

  • Eric G. | October 15, 2010 | 9:32 am

    Bill,

    I guess where I was going with the, “I wish the Rockies would spend some money”,comment is I would like to see them step up and get someone like a Cliff Lee or big time impact player. I’m tired of the “Oh, well, we can’t spend that type of money because we’re a ‘mid-market’ team”. I guarantee they won’t sign Cargo when the time comes. Winning isn’t cheap. We are almost there! Now open the check books and let’s do something to get us there. Get a big bat and front line pitcher.

  • Eric G. | October 15, 2010 | 9:45 am

    Just read the Red Sox may be interested in Iannetta. Any truth to this Steve?

  • Wayne | October 15, 2010 | 10:02 am

    I’ve read that many of the Rangers are praising Hurdle for his hitting approach. Not that I want Hurdle back here, but a good hitting coach can make a difference, and one with a philosophy that the players can’t fit to can hurt a team. Where does Baylor fall? I know he has helped players before, but the approach then was the “Blake Street Bombers”. Not sure that approach works with the current team. Someone with a situational, contact, gap to off gap philosophy would probably work better. Some of these guys aren’t listening either. If we all can see the holes in Stewart’s swing, and the long loop in Hawpe’s and lack of strike zone discipline in Barmes and Olivo, then I would hope that the coaches can also. Coaching is only as good as the players ability and what is between the ears.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 10:42 am

    Staff decisions should come shortly after the World Series. A lot will depend on what new managers end up where. Baylor has been mentioned as a candidate and was recommended by Cito Gaston for the Blue Jays job.

    A hitting coach can have an impact, but in the end he’s not the one swinging the bat. The Rockies’ current problem is a more of a personnel issue. Baylor’s return as hitting coach coincided with some player changes that in many cases swapped in players who strike out more often than their predecessors: Ian Stewart for Garrett Atkins. Miguel Olivo for Yorvit Torrealba. Clint Barmes for Kaz Matsui and Jamey Carroll. Atkins and Torrealba had other problems and high salary demands that made their exits inevitable — Atkins, a struggle to make contact and a shocking drop in power; Torrealba, no power — but inordinately high strikeout totals were not a problem for them. Individually, the decisions were not necessarily bad, but cumulatively the moves made the Rockies a big swing-and-miss team and an easier target for a pitcher. How many times during games this year did Drew Goodman note that the opposing pitcher wasn’t really known as a strikeout pitcher while sitting on something like seven Ks after three innings? If you look at the Rockies’ splits as a team, every position on the field and every spot in the order combined for 100+ strikeouts in 2010. The lowest by position was second base (as you note, Rich, Barmes’ strikeouts were down even if his batting average didn’t improve) with 103. Strikeouts by spot in the batting order: 154, 128, 148, 105, 149, 167, 131, 125, 167.

    That’s more of a personnel problem on the field than in the dugout, because a lot of the hitters like Hawpe, Barmes and Olivo are what they are: veterans who swing and miss a lot. Hitting coaches for years have been telling Barmes he’s vulnerable to the breaking pitch low and away, but he continues to chase it. On Hawpe the issue that was pressed, particularly when Tracy took over as manager last June, was his pickiness with two strikes, looking at pitches that might actually be an inch or two off the plate but are a little too close to take at times. So Baylor and the hitting coaches before him have been aware of the problems and have worked to correct them, but the players haven’t been executing. The Rockies started the season with four regulars young enough that coaching could have a significant impact in their approaches: Stewart, Smith, Fowler and Gonzalez. Gonzalez obviously made enormous strides. Fowler was solid after he came back from Triple-A. Stewart and Smith made little progress, but part of Stewart’s problem was him not doing what the coaches were, in fact, telling him: stop looking at the first pitch all the time; it was very often going to be a fastball down the middle because pitchers knew he wouldn’t swing at it. Maybe Baylor (as well as the hitting coaches before him, Alan Cockrell and Duane Espy, who had similar problems) has trouble connecting with the hitters and convincing them they need a better approach. But the issue is the Rockies hitters not executing the approach he’s coaching, not Baylor coaching the wrong approach.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 10:44 am

    Red Sox were rumored to have interest in Iannetta before. They may again, but they just re-signed Saltalamacchia so don’t know that it’s a good fit. Won’t know until we see what happens with Victor Martinez there. If he stays with the Sox, obviously they have no interest in Iannetta.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 10:58 am

    Rockies won’t go after someone like Lee. Would love to see Lee here, but at $20 million per (or more)? Would much rather see that money devoted to Gonzalez in four years or spread among two or three solid starters. Rockies are spending more than they once did. Not long ago, the remaining Denver newspaper, such as it is, was trying to convince its readers that the Rockies were cheap and would never spend more then $60-70 million on a team, if that much. The Rockies’ payroll in 2010 was around $85 million, about where it will be in 2011. If the Rockies attendance can continue to increase or stabilize around 3 million, I expect their payroll to end up in the $90-100 million range. An interesting exercise though: go to Cot’s Baseball Contracts and start browsing the teams who are above the Rockies in payroll. Forget the Yankees and Red Sox, because they’re in their own stratosphere. Teams like the Mariners, Astros, Cubs, Mets, Tigers and even the Phillies. You’ll find that indeed some teams spend their resources more freely but that what is dramatically separating the Rockies payroll from those teams are bad contracts and overpaid players: Oliver Perez, Carlos Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Chone Figgins, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Beltran and Raul Ibanez. Would like to see some of those guys as Rockies, but not at what they’re making now.

  • Cub ex-patriot | October 15, 2010 | 11:42 am

    Steve,

    Excellent remarks on Baylor. Stewart is the classic case of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’m not giving up on him just yet, but I’m close.

    Previous comments on the payroll indicate we’ve forgotten the lessons of Mike Hampton. It’s not how much the Rox are spending, it’s what they spend it on. Signing Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford will bust the budget and hamstring future moves. DOD knows where the holes in this ballclub are. I have faith in him to creatively solve the problems.

    It’s going to be an interesting offseason for sure.

  • Eric G. | October 15, 2010 | 11:48 am

    Mike Hampton is no Cliff Lee. Signing Cliff Lee would be worth it in my opinion.

  • Wayne | October 15, 2010 | 12:12 pm

    Steve, in your response on hitting coaches, you echoed exactly what I was getting at. It’s between the ears of the players. And after two + years on the team, it is apparent that Stewart is either not listening or not comprehending what he is being told. Either way, to me, that would warrant a change of scenery and let someone else have a shot. Just as DLR needed a different voice and location before it sunk in, maybe too Stewart needs the same thing.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 1:02 pm

    Cliff Lee would be a perfect complement to what the Rockies have right now, no question, and the ballpark plays very different than it did when the Rockies brought in Hampton. But the issue with Lee is total salary relative to age. He’ll be 32 at the start of 2011 and will sign at least a six-year contract. Some are now suggesting he’s going to get something like Sabathia, seven years, $161 million, but I think that’s probably agents whispering in the ears of a few reporters to get reporters talking to other reporters to drive the market for other players behind Lee. Sabathia was 28 when he started his deal with the Yankees, so I don’t see Lee going that high. But six years, $120-130 million is probably the market. For the next three years, that looks fine. But I wouldn’t guarantee his production into this mid- to late-30s. He may continue to be worth that much money, but if he’s not, you’re saddled with an enormous salary that hampers all other moves. Consider how Helton’s contract became troublesome and out of proportion with his production around 2005. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets can pay for mistakes and still compete. That is the concession that teams like the Rockies (also Brewers, Rays, Twins and Braves among others) do have to make. They just cannot afford a mistake, at least not of that magnitude. So, while it limits them from being able to go after Lee, who presents a risk in the later years of his contract, it doesn’t necessarily keep them from signing players like Gonzalez and Tulowitzki to long-term, market-value contracts in four years. It’s not a sure thing the Rockies won’t be able to sign both — revenue is rising as attendance rises and with a couple good draft classes between now and then, the Rockies might have the flexibility to make it happen. But on Lee, if he were 28, I might jump on that bandwagon, but you just need to be absolutely certain he will pitch up to a $20 million salary when he’s 37-38 years old.

  • robba | October 15, 2010 | 1:03 pm

    Failure, or mediocrity, is always the fault of the leader. The military corollary to this is, “There are no bad units, only bad commanders.”

    But I’m not calling for O’Dowd’s head, or Tracy’s, either. I just think the two of them need to examine their approach, and the effectiveness of their coaching staff, very closely.

    Personally, I think it is time to change both the batting and pitching coaches. There are enough talented pitchers and position players who have not progressed as necessary and expected, for me to believe that they’ve just tuned out their principal coaches. We won’t know whether the players are “uncoachable,” or whether it is the coaches’ approach, until something different is tried.

    O’Dowd and Tracy have already tried giving up on players–Hawpe, Atkins, and (soon) Barmes and Iannetta. I’d like them to try shaking up the coaching staff instead of going further down this road.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 1:04 pm

    On hitting coach, nice timing: see the news about Lansford.

  • Rich M | October 15, 2010 | 1:14 pm

    Eric G I understand your point that Hampton does not equal Lee. However, I would suggest that Hampton at the time the Rockies traded for him was as highly valued at that point in the MLB as Lee is today. Not suggesting that Lee would regress like Hampton did here, but stranger things have happened before.

    If you could bring Lee in at $20m per year, and he injures his arm or became a head case like Hampton, then you end up spending a ton of money for at best a mediocre pitcher.

    Now my question would be this: If you could (and not sure that you can) trade Matzek for the best available right handed power hitting MLB ready 1st base prospect, would you?

    The three reasons that I would are: 1. Friedrich might be better, 2. Matzek’s BB/Innings ratio scares me some, and 3. the fact that Matsek is still at the low A level and almost anything can happen along the way to the MLB.

    Not exactly sure why you don’t see this type of block buster minor league trade very often, but if its possible then I think the Rockies should seriously consider the possibilities.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 1:17 pm

    Surprised the coaching announcement happened so soon. Intersting note on Twitter from Tracy Ringoslby, who points out that Lansford is very familiar with Smith, Stewart and Iannetta from his days at Colorado Springs.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 1:31 pm

    On Stewart, I will offer this: like many of you, I find his at-bats sometimes incredibly frustrating and predictable. But I would like to see the Rockies surround him with a couple tough outs before they give up on him. Find a big bat like the names we have mentioned (Victor Martinez, et al) in front of him and Todd Helton, who still sees a lot of pitches in his at-bats, or someone like Ty Wigginton behind him and force pitchers to take a different approach. No guarantee that it will work because in the end, Stewart needs a better approach at the plate. But I would to see the effect that would have opposed to someone like Olivo or Barmes, two of the least patient hitters in baseball, behind him.

  • Rocky | October 15, 2010 | 1:36 pm

    I wonder how the Rangers can afford a Cliff Lee, and the Rockies can’t? Lee seems to have been the piece that pushed the Rangers to the next level.

  • Steve Foster | October 15, 2010 | 1:45 pm

    Lee only made $9 million in 2010. Also the Rangers play in the fifth-largest TV market in the country and just signed a huge TV deal worth around $1.6 billion. (It was originally reported at $3 billion, but that number was apparently inflated.) The new deal comes with a big upfront payment, too, that gives the Rangers some money to play with now.

  • Mike123 | October 15, 2010 | 3:24 pm

    I dont want to give up on Stewart like alot of people do…I still believe he has a huge upside…I still think he can be a 30 HR type of guy. Even Giambi often stated he’s probably one of the strongest hitters on the team. Hopefully with this new Batting coach he can re-connect with Stewart and others to get the right discipline at the plate. This is a big year for both Stewart, Smith and Spilly…We need alot more consistency from all 3. As they all had their moments this year but just not consistent enough.

  • Eric G. | October 15, 2010 | 3:30 pm

    The Rockies can afford him. They just won’t go for him.

  • Rocky | October 15, 2010 | 3:53 pm

    If only the Rockies could convince FSN to pony up some big bucks. Just kidding, thanks for the update. I had no idea the Rangers had those kind of resources available to them. I thought they were bankrupt or something.

  • Eric G. | October 15, 2010 | 3:55 pm

    Every team in MLB is loaded but not every team wants to spend their money. It all depends on who the owner is.

  • Bill | October 15, 2010 | 4:38 pm

    I remember the excitement in Denver when we signed both Hampton and Neagle. They both became busts, Neagle in two ways. Sorry couldn’t resist that pun.

    But ever since then Rockies have been gun shy about going after big time expensive free agents, especially pitchers. I can see their point but sometimes you got to take chances. But I keep hearing that he’s almost a sure bet to go to the Yankees. And if the Yankees want him, there is no way the Rockies can sign him.

    Renck’s (or was it Armstrong) in the Post this morning about the Rockies being interested in signing Berkman was weird. Why would they do that? As the article stated, he plays only 1st base. And what the article didn’t state is that he’s only a switch-hitter in name but not in fact. Yankees use him almost only as a left handed DH. So we’re going to spend big bucks to sign a left-handing hitting backup to Todd Helton. Sounds like Jason Giambi light. Granted he’s a better fielder but if he can’t hit right handed what’s the point. You need a right handed power hitter there, and preferably one who is young. Steve is right that the long contract that Helton signed has really hurt the Rockies payroll flexibility the last few years.

  • reader f/k/a Mike | October 15, 2010 | 7:14 pm

    “I’m just saying the Avs had one of the highest payrolls in hockey for a long time. Why can’t the Rockies? They play in the same city.”

    You’re assuming the way the franchises make their money are similar, and I’m not sure they are. I would guess MLB teams make a far greater pct of their revenue from tv contracts, and that’s why the Rockies are generally a “mid market” team, as slippery as that term is.

    The issue with a guy like Lee, I’m sure, is the risk combined with inability or unwillingness to have a top level payroll. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it were both.)

    Cliff Lee projects much better than Hampton, but Lee will still likely demand a contract for more per year and more years than the Rockies would like. Suppose he gets hurt, a la Helton.

    Texas taking him on at midseason is no big deal, and a completely different story from the prospect of signing him in the off-season. We’re talking a half season risk @ $9 million vs what, 4-6 years of risk at 20 million.

  • reader f/k/a Mike | October 15, 2010 | 7:18 pm

    Helton’s recent trouble aside, though, superstars do tend to be better FA buys than other players as they tend to retain value into their mid 30′s when lesser players tend to be decline into liabilities. As long as you can manage the risk of that large a chunk of your payroll being dedicated to one or two players.

    It’s an interesting dilemma for the Rockies as currently constructed. O’Dowd has been very good at recent years in avoiding holes (last year notwithstanding). He has at least averagish players all around the roster. Problem is, you need to be better than average, and it’s easier to replace bad players with average ones than to upgrade from average…diminishing returns and all that.

    Are Ubaldo, Tulo, and CarGo enough in the premium category? Do they need one more all-star level player?

  • Eric G. | October 16, 2010 | 8:04 am

    They need someone to get them to that next level. Just like what Cliff Lee did for the Rangers this year. I’m not saying we have to go get Cliff Lee, although I would love to see that. I’m saying we need to sign a big impact player to get us over that hump and that means spending some money.

  • Eric W. | October 16, 2010 | 10:20 am

    Steve- do you see the Rockies re-signing Jason Giambi at all? Out of Lance Berkman, Derek Lee, Colby Rasmus, Zack Grienke, Yonser Alonso, and Victor Martinez who has a greater chance of getting traded/ signed with the Rockies?

    Could Garrett Atkins get a chance in a Rockies Uniform on a Minor League Contract?