The Coors Effect

December 19, 2010 5:22 PM

What's going on with the Rockies?

Wow.  It's been a while.

So, over the last month or so, I've had virtually no internet access, unless I want to go hang out at Starbucks for a couple of hours.  With that now out of the way, we're back to the regularly scheduled Rockies coverage.  So what's been going on?

The Rockies' offseason plan hasn't been terribly exciting; but then, the Rockies were fairly well set for 2011 anyway.  Aside from the traded Clint Barmes, there weren't any real offensive holes.  Yeah, a couple of players (Todd Helton, Ian Stewart, and Dexter Fowler) disappointed in 2010, but with a solid offensive core in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies can afford a couple of disappointments, so long as no position on the field devolves into a black hole of suck.

After Miguel Olivo was traded to the Blue Jays (who basically wanted a compensatory pick, I guess), the Rockies haven't added a catcher who I can really see being a starter, which means that the team is going to sink or swim with Chris Iannetta until Wilin Rosario is ready (maybe midseason, maybe not until 2012.)  The team traded for Jose Morales this week, but Morales, who hit .264/.350/.380 for AAA Rochester last season (he's 27, so not really a prospect), isn't a threat to start.  Nor is Michael McKenry; Morales and McKenry will probably enter the season competing to back up Iannetta.  The Rockies also traded for Jose Lopez, who could start at second (he was an acceptable fielder there before moving to third last season) or play a utility role.  Lopez is nice insurance to have around if neither Eric Young nor Chris Nelson can cut it, in any case, and could bounce back to his 2008-09 levels of offensive production, which would help a lot.  Ty Wigginton was also signed this week, potentially to spell Helton at first base against lefties.  Wigginton has a career .816 OPS against lefties and can also play third base and the outfield, so he should be a nice player to have around.

On the pitching front, the Rockies brought back Jorge de la Rosa, which basically sets in stone the first four spots in the rotation (barring injuries): Jimenez, Chacin, Hammel, de la Rosa.  That's a solid front four, and that leaves Aaron Cook, Esmil Rogers, and newly-acquired Felipe Paulino to compete for the fifth spot.  Whoever loses out will join a solid bullpen that includes Belisle, Betancourt, and Street.

Things look pretty good for the Rockies entering 2011, despite the fact that the team hasn't really done a whole lot in the first couple of months of the offseason.  It's starting to remind me of the 2008 offseason, when the general wisdom was that the Rockies underperformed and needed to retool.  Instead, the team stood relatively still, made a few quiet moves, and came back much better in 2009.

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