Like many teams, the Rockies are headed into the off-season with a to-do list that is longer than most teams. The list was created assuming optimal scenarios, not underperforming scenarios. Most post season teams have multiple players experiencing optimal seasons. There were some teams that also play into October due to tremendous depth in their organizations. At the top of the list is the Rockies needing to do a better job of organizational management. That means don’t experiment with the Jamie Moyers/Jon Garlands, fly ball pitchers (Guthrie), ride scrap players into the summer (Ty Wigginton, Tyler Colvin, etc), keeping deserving players down too long (Chatwood, DJ LeMahieu), overworking pitchers (Belisle), using best pitchers in mop up situations, believing in a pitcher too long (Lopez), have a deadweight on the bench (Giambi), anointing Hawkins as the closer, 75-pitch limit, etc etc. The RWOers can add to this long list of organizational mismanagement. On the field, the “to do” list is based on the following optimal scenarios from our current roster:
Chatwood, JDLR, and Chacin having relatively healthy seasons with at least 180 IP and 10-plus wins.
Tulo & CarGo play a full season of at least 140 games each.
Cuddyer remains a big bat in the lineup even after some regression from his career year in 2013.
Rosario’s bat is so good we find a way to keep his bat in the lineup (play some 1B?).
Somebody who can play 2B the full season with a positive WAR stat. (D.J. or Rutledge)
Arenado has another gold glove type season with at least 20 HRs and 80/90 RBIs
Dickerson and/or Blackmon play serviceable LF and contribute with the bat.
Based on the optimal scenarios, Colorado’s needs are:
Get a base stealing coach.
#4 and #5 that can pitch into the 6th inning with more than a couple of wins
Strengthening the bullpan.
Add organizational depth.
Find a first baseman if not Cuddyer.
Find a lead-off hitter with good OBP and few Ks.
The off-season actions got started early with the hiring of EY, Sr as the first base coach followed by the acquisition of LaTroy Hawkins. For whatever reason, Hawkins was named the closer replacing Rex Brothers. But at minimum he should add to the bullpen depth as long as he’s not overworked. Before the RWOers knew what happened, Dex Fowler got traded to the Astros in exchange for CF Brandon Barnes and righty P Jordan Lyles. No one seems to know why we needed Barnes (CarGo is playing CF) except to maybe steal some bases. Lyles is a young pitcher who adds depth in the pitching department. Next year Fowler would have been expensive so that might be the brass’ line of thinking. Get something in return without holding on to a player too long. Our history showed that the Rox often held on to players or ask too much for too long before they lose their values. With the money freed up (Fowler traded), they signed 1B Justin Morneau who is on a steep decline. The thinking is having Morneau reunite with Money to reboot his career. Today the Rockies made the biggest splash of the off-season obtaining Brett Anderson and some cash to pay part of his salary while giving up scuffling Pomeranz who’s still trying to find his groove and an organizational pitcher (Chris Jensen). The first reactions were probably “too expensive”, “injury bug”, and “can’t pitch at altitude.” Upon closer examination, it may yet be the steal of the winter. Anderson is two years removed from the TJ so he is pretty much on the same level as DLR. He’s still young (26 yrs) and MLBN analysts say that they have no problem with Anderson pitching at altitude, but they have a problem with his injury history. If he stays healthy, we could strike gold and eliminate one of the #4/#5 black holes in the rotation.
If you love the rumors twirling around, the latest is that the Rockies are looking at Michael Morse who would bring a right-handed power bat who can play the corners. He will turn 32 on March 22nd which is still young for a hitter that can mash to any part of the field. They are also thinking about bringing back Jason Hammel, yes the same Hammel we gave away for Guthrie. The feeling is that the Rockies are not done with the off-season moves. At minimum, we should have a new backup catcher unless they decide Pacheco should be the backup catcher.
UPDATE: Dec 12th: Rockies selected Thomas Kahnle, a 98-MPH flame thrower from the Yankees in Rule 5 draft. He must be on the Rockies 25-man roster the entire season unless he’s offered back to the Yanks for $25,000. The Rockies hope he can add a power arm to the bullpen.
UPDATE: Dec 13th: Rockies signed Boone Logan to a three-year contract at $16.5M. It is the largest contract given to a non-Rockies free agent pitcher since the Neagle/Hampton splurge. Logan had a “tender elbow” during late 2013 which turned out to be a bone spur that was removed immediately after the season ended.
The pitching staff is starting to shape up with Brett Anderson solidifying the rotation and Logan solidifying the back end of the bullpen. The Rockies now turn their attention to adding bench bats.