Following up on some old Rockies…just because we all remember their greatness when they were here….
3B – Ian Stewart For those who thought after last year’s blow-up in Chicago (which really, can you blame anyone for getting fed-up playing for the Cubs) Ian was done in baseball…no! Ian Stewart is not only still in baseball but…he is the starting 3B for the Anaheim Angels. Ian was expected to be an above-average bat great glove player. He could crush balls a longway, but at some point he and the strike zone became mortal enemies. Well his average is still in the .230s area, but he had 2 more hits and 2RBIs as the Angels crushed Kurado and the Yanks. His second homer of the season was to deep deep center field. Oh, and he is sporting a beard that even Charlie Blackmon is envious of….we are talk Duck Dynasty level beard. Ian is playing where he grew-up and while the average is low (many said with his stroke he would win a batting title one day….guess scouting is really hard), nice to see him back playing, contributing, and having fun.
SS – Juan Uribe Okay, couldn’t miss the chance to talk about Juan Uribe as we play the Dodgers this weekend. Way back in 2003 they traded Uribe to the White Sox for…anyone…Aaron Miles of all people. We can safely put that trade in the “miss” pile, as Uribe has not only won 2 World Series (and been big parts of both), but has become a power machine as he got older and still plays a good 3B these days. The following year the SS for the Rox was Royce Clayton! Uribe has been along with Dee Gordon the best player for the Dodgers this year. Uribe is the hottest hitter on the Dodgers and showing the 2 year $15 million deal was a sharp move.
2B – Mark Ellis Sorry but Mark is the only name that works here so far. Mark was an interesting trade in 2011. He hit .274, with 6 homers and 7 steals but they didn’t resign him. After a few years with the Dodgers (Dee Gordon now has the job in LA), he was signed by the Cardinals in case Kolton Wong isn’t the prospect they think he is. It is not been a good start (Wong is only hitting .239 so no one is doing great there right now), and word is his spot on the team could be in trouble.
P –Matt Lindstrom I mentioned the other night that Colin McHugh pitching for the Stros against the worst offense in baseball (sure hope Cano is enjoying cashing those checks) went all Sandy Kolfax, with 12Ks and 3H in 6 innings for his first career win. But tonight we take a look at former Rockies reliever and sometimes closer Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom has electric stuff. But he has a tendency to give up the gopher ball and to walk people. Pitching the 9th for the White Sox against the Ray, walked the leadoff man and then gave up a long long homer to Longoria to make it 6-4. After the grand slam off Bettis on Wednesday a reminder its not just Rockies but also ex-Rockies that give up late homers. Funny thing, in the 9th near-Rockie Jose Abreau hit a grand-slam off Grant Balfour. Wins for relievers are a sign of failure more often than not.
CF – Dexter Fowler Fowler continues to under-perform in his new home. Look, he left the #1 best place to hit to go to the #2, but after a great opening weekend…not much to talk about. Fowler was 1-3 last night, leaving 2 men on. Losing another game late. Dex is a great guy but how much is losing starting to grate on him…especially as Houston, with all their talent coming up the minors still seems far away from actually winning games. I don’t think Dex will be there when they do (if they do) start winning, so the trade is just bonus for the Rox.
Starting Pitcher – Ubaldo Jiminez – I hate to talk about Ubaldo. He was so good for this team from 2007 to 2010. He grew and developed. And then he flat-lined. The trade in 2011 was a wash for both teams. He did get the Indians to the playoffs last year, so they got something for their effort. I figured he would re-sign with Cleveland after finally feeling comfortable at the end of last season. But no! He first turned down the qualifying offer (how many guys will be taking those in coming years?) Had to wait and wait and eventually was given what he wanted – a “big” free-agent deal. He has a 4-year deal in Baltimore paying him between $11.5 and $13.5 million over the next four years but I don’t think he will be happy (how much could he have made the previous 3 years if a deal could have been worked out in 2010?). So far, neither is Baltimore. He gave the Os 6 innings of 6hit, 4ER ball as they were shutout by Ventura and the Royals – this is the kid I call baby Ubaldo cause that is who he reminds me of when he throws). He is now 0-4 and an ERA of 6.59! That deal is going to hurt I think. Ubaldo is now 30. It cost them a draft pick. And this is a guy who has now thrown over 1300 major league innings. Wish you well Ubaldo. But so far, things are not going great in Baltimore.
Starting Pitcher – Jason Hammel – One of the guys the Rox loved but never got figured out, was Jason Hammel. Hammel is pitching on a 1year, $6million deal for the lowly Cubs. He has been all the Ubaldo has not been so far. He is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA and a league-leading WHIP of .687. He has pitched into the 7th every game as well. He gave the Cubs their only win against the lowelier DBacks on Tuesday with a 4 hit effort. I had heard that Colorado contemplated trying to re-sign Jason over the winter, and at age 31 might have been a good move. So far, Jason is probably among the top 10 pitchers in the NL. Still early of course….
Left Field – EY Jr. – Maybe the most popular ex-Rockie right now is EY, Jr. We all wanted him to be his dad. And actually, he is not a bad 24th or 25th man on the roster. There are guys whose whole career is being the 24th or 25th guy (the Mets feature one of those, Omar Quintanilla, the former Rockie, who at 33 is still fielding balls and doing his part, even if he never fulfilled his 1st round potential). Well EYJr is currently riding a 4 game hitting streak!!! Granted…its 4 for 15, but it counts. EYJr is also 2nd in steals with 11 (Dee Gordon is leading the league at 12), and is tied for 2nd in runs (with a ton of folks) at 19. EYJrs OBP is .337, which is not horrible, so the Mets are getting a lot from him considering his limitations. And remember, we traded him for Colin Kolfax McHugh.
If you hear of other ex-Rockies doing well or…not so well, keep us update.