Rockies Magic Number

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free Agent Frustration

So it's Feb 12, pitchers and catchers are reporting on Saturday, and I don't feel like the Rockies have done enough this offseason to separate themselves from the rest of the division.

I'll quickly break it down position by position

C - Chris Iannetta. I really think that Iannetta, Brian McCann (ATL), and Russell Martin (LAD) are the best catchers in the NL. Iannetta and Martin are very different style hitters, and I think Iannetta has the edge over Martin, but the point is that our starting C is a position that we aren't going to improve upon.

1B - Todd Helton. Todd is one of the wildcards here, because of his back. It sounds like rehab is going well, but he's definitely gonna have limited playing time. If he's healthy for a full season, he'll still probably bat .320/.430/.470 or something like that. In terms of starters, we can't really go out and get a new 1B, what Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Jeff Baker, and Joe Koshansky. It's not really a position we can upgrade.

2B - Clint Barmes/Jeff Baker. Now the thing here is that Barmes and Baker are good when they're hot, and barely average otherwise. Bake has a lot of raw power, and Barmes is a big contact hitter. Baker has enough glove to keep his head above water, but he's definitely below average. Barmes is slightly above average, and oftentimes, that's the only thing that keeps him in the lineup. Problem is here, I think we could upgrade at this position. Orlando Hudson is available, and while he'd cost a draft pick, it'd only be a second rounder, and I think the offensive and defensive package, even if it's only for like 120 games, would be worth a couple extra wins on what Barmes or Baker would provide. I feel like we would be a better team with Hudson on board, and that's a fact. 

SS - Troy Tulowitzki. He'll rebound from his poor 2008, and if he puts up numbers like his 2nd half last year, he'll be solid.

3B - Garrett Atkins. He's trade bait, and then Stewart will take over full time. He also needs a good rebound to establish his trade value.

LF - Seth Smith. It's a big hole to fill, Matt Holliday's. I don't think Smith has been given a good chance to prove himself yet, and until Garrett Atkins is gone, I don't think he's going to. Smith has shown an improved eye every level of the minors, as well as an improved power swing. Chances are his .296 BABIP has room to grow. His minor league cumulative BABIP was .349, which tells you he has the potential to be a better contact hitter than his major league numbers suggest. He really should be the starter, but there's gonna be a lot of offense cycled through there just for playing time. In terms of a FA upgrade, I guess we could've gotten Burrell or Dunn or Manny or someone, but I really wonder how much benefit they'd add when you factor in their abominable defense.

CF - Ryan Spilborghs. I'd really rather see an OF of Smith - Fowler - Spilborghs, but Spills has shown he can play a passable CF until we can realign the defense more optimally. Again, looking for upgrades, there really weren't any that we hadn't just gotten rid of ourselves.

RF - Brad Hawpe. Hawpe has pretty much proven his bat to be a good and stable one. However, his glove could use some work. I won't hit on that much more.

Other - Ian Stwart. He should be playing 3B full time, but Atkins is still here. Bummer. Stew's gonna take ABs from Smith in LF this way.

Other - Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez. These guys are the real wild cards for the 2009 season. They'll probably both start the season in AAA, and when they start showing real strides, they'll probably get the callup. Dex is the CF of the future, and then we have a logjam in the OF between Spilborghs, Smith, Gonzalez, Hawpe, etc. Frankly, I'd like to see Atkins get traded for some sort of value, Stewart play fulltime 3B, Hawpe play 1B when Helton is hurting, and we can platoon Smith and Murton in LF. 

Ideally, I want C Iannetta 1B Helton 2B Hudson SS Tulowitzki 3B Stewart LF Smith CF Spilborghs RF Hawpe

and eventually

C Iannetta 1B Hawpe 2B Hudson SS Tulo 3B Stewart LF Smith CF Fowler RF Spilborghs.

Just looking at the guys we have available, it's a LOT of unknowns. Not just Helton's back, but Stewart's plate discipline, Atkins and Tulo rebounding, Hawpe's glove, Spilborghs and Smith as fulltime players.

It could be great

And it could fall flat on its face and be awful.

I'll touch on pitchers later.

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