Interesting article in the Denver Post this morning regarding the Rockies offseason. The general gist is that the Rox are trying to approach respectability in 2006 by acquiring veterans that can help the team right now. On the surface, I don’t mind that strategy, but when Yorvit Torrealba and Jose Mesa are the veterans you’re talking about, it doesn’t exactly look like “helping the team right now” is the main concern.
Still, it appears that the Rox may not be done this offseason. The plan is to have a $45 million payroll for 2006, and currently the team is about $3 million short of that mark. That leaves money to pursue some more players, which were listed in the article. Let’s see if there’s anything that’s really worth much on the Rockies ‘big board’, so to speak:
JUNIOR SPIVEY, 2B:
PROS: Versatile infielder – can handle 2B, 3B, and SS. Former All-Star (2002). If signed, would give Omar Quintanilla some more time at AAA to prepare himself for future utility duties.
CONS: Since his All-Star season, has been erratic, sandwiching a solid 2004 (.272/.359/.421 in 228 AB with Milwaukee) between rough years in ’03 (.255/.326/.433 in 365 ABs with Arizona) and ’05 (.232/.315/.378 in 259 AB between Milwaukee and Washington). Maybe that just means even-numbered years are his thing, which would mean 2006 would be a good year to have him on your roster. In addition, Spivey whiffs too much and walks too little (175/373 BB/K career ratio).
PEDRO ASTACIO, P
PROS: Knows how to get it done at Coors Field – he’s the second winningest pitcher in the history of the ballpark.
CONS: He has absolutely nothing left in that right arm of his.
TONY ARMAS JR., P
PROS: Last year’s ERA for Armas, 4.97, was a career high – he’s been remarkably consistent in his career with ERA’s in the mid-fours. Has never allowed more than one hit per inning. Only 28 years old.
CONS: Has battled arm troubles his whole career, missing significant time the past three years. Walks a lot of guys (4.43 BB/9 career) and gives up far too many homers (1.12 HR/9 career).
BRETT TOMKO, P
PROS: Consistent innings-eater who posts mid-fours ERAs. Hard fastball – I think he and Sunny Kim would be the hardest throwers in the Rockies rotation.
CONS: His strikeout rates are never what they should be with his velocity – it’s a fast fastball but not a particularly good fastball. Career HR/9 rate of 1.22 means things could get real ugly real fast at Coors.
SHAWN ESTES, P
PROS: We’ve been over these before, though it was a while ago… Estes won 15 games with the Rox in 2004, and his numbers were actually fairly decent last year in Arizona, especially his walk rate, which dropped significantly.
CONS: He was injured last year, and he is 33 years old. Plus, he might be a little too expensive for the Rockies.
RYAN FRANKLIN, P
PROS: None I can see. Seriously.
CONS: Hothead who was suspended for steroid use last year. Sign him up!
WADE MILLER, P
PROS: It wasn’t long ago that Miller went 16-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 183 Ks in 212 IP with the Astros – 2001, to be exact. Miller throws hard and doesn’t give up a ton of hits. The Red Sox picked him up cheap last year, so the Rox might be able to as well. Plus, he’s still only 29.
CONS: Injuries have derailed Miller’s career, as he missed significant portions of 2004 and 2005.
DANNY KOLB, P
PROS: 2004 All-Star with the Brewers.
CONS: 2005 disaster with the Braves. Doesn’t miss enough bats and walks too many guys to be a reliable reliever.
ERIC BYRNES, OF
PROS: Haven’t we been down this road before? Byrnes is a hustling, hard-nosed, versatile outfielder who will steal some bases and hit for power. I’d rather have him in center field to start 2006 than Cory Sullivan.
CONS: Can not hit righties. Like, at all. Wasn’t exactly impressive in his brief time with the Rox in 2005, hitting just .189/.283/.226 in 53 AB.
CRAIG WILSON, OF/1B/C
PROS: This is what Wilson did the first time he got regular playing time for a whole season: 561 AB, .264/.354/.499, 29 HR, 50/169 BB/K. That was two years ago. He’s only 29 and would provide some outfield pop, and could platoon with Brad Hawpe in right.
CONS: Strikes out a ton, and isn’t a particularly adept outfielder. He reminds me just enough of Dustan Mohr that I get a little worried.
So who’s worth a shot? On the hill, I’d certainly make overtures towards Armas Jr. and Miller, hoping that they’re past the injury nexus of their careers and are ready to be steady full-season rotation contributors. I suppose Estes wouldn’t be a bad pickup, either – it really seems like last year might have been a step in the right direction for him, and he showed in 2004 that he can throw his big curve effectively in Coors. If we sign Ryan Franklin, I will quit being a Rockies fan. Of course, all of this is moot if the Rockies sign BK Kim, but as the days go by I’d say that’s getting less and less likely.
In the field, Spivey and Wilson would be useful backups, with Wilson providing an excellent platoon partner for Hawpe and Spivey serving as the super-utility player that Luis Gonzalez has been the last two years. If I could only have one, I’d take Wilson, even though his worst-case scenario is 2005 Dustan Mohr, and no one wants to go through that again.