Playing catch up…
Let’s take a look at what the Rockies have done so far this off-season since the ending of the Winter Meetings last week in Nashville.
Losing second baseman, Kaz Matsui to the Astros for 3 years 16 million. This hurts the Rockies in many ways. They lose the best one, two hitters combo in Taveras and Matsui in the National League. Matsui’s clutch hitting and defense and they will surely miss his speed on the basepaths.
Losing relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the Yankees. This hurts simply because Hawk wanted to stay and the Rockies reportedly wanted him to stay. LaTroy struggled early in the season but after coming off the disabled list he was the solid veteran reliever they needed him to be. Hawk wanted a multiyear deal of at least 2 years and the Rockies let him slip away to the hated Yankees for an extra $500,000 more than what the Rockies offered in a one year deal. They should’ve made this deal work, but simply didnt.
Losing utility infielder, Jamey Carroll to the Cleveland Indians. Certainly a fan favorite, a solid infielder and a sparkplug off the bench in key situations. These reasons alone will hurt the Rockies. Carroll was traded for a “player to be named later” and more times than not this usually means it will be someone of very little worth to the Rockies in the future. But with the logjam in the number of players in the infield you can see why this move was made. I would’ve rather the Rockies moved Clint Barmes and gotten more in return, maybe a young prospect or two that you could groom down in the minors for a few years and either Carroll or Quintanilla as your starting second baseman in 2008.
Resigning catcher, Yorvit Torrealba to a new two year deal. The Rockies got a reprieve here thanks to things falling apart in New York with the Mets. Why would you risk losing the one player who was probably the most valuable at keeping your young pitchers under control in the latter half of the season and during the playoffs. Morales, and Jimenez learned to trust Torrealba and that in turn at times made them effective and sometimes dominant pitchers. Losing Torrealba would mean having to rely on Chris Ianetta who the Rockies believe is the future at that position. Ianetta batting average hovered around the Mendoza line for the entire season, finishing with a .218 average and no appearances in the post-season. Torrealba also provides the team with the emotional lift it sometimes needed in 2007.
Resigning starting pitcher, Aaron Cook to a 3 year extension. It’s good the Rockies are looking the starting rotation intact. Cook is a solid ground ball pitcher, something that is needed when playing at Coors Field. I have to question the amount of money over the next 3 years. I’m not so sure Cook would’ve gotten that amount of money as a free agent somewhere else, but it’s totally possible. Baseball owners have proven many times before they will spend money foolishly on players, i.e. the Dodgers and Kevin Brown, the Yankees and Kevin brown, and let’s not forget our own Rockies and Mike Hampton. I could go on, but you get the picture. Cook struggled early last season in a few games and bounced back strong after coming off the DL. But looking at his record over the past 4 seasons, Cook is 24-24 and 34-34 if you go back 6 years. 34 million is hardly the amount of money you spend on a pitcher who is average in wins and losses. But maybe the Rockies front office is sending a message to their youunger players in their commitment to building and maintaining a winning ballclub. I guess it’s better to spend your money on what you know you’re getting rather than what you dont know, again see Mike Hampton.
Resigning relief pitcher, Matt Herges. This is a good resigning. Herges had his best season out of his last 5 in major league baseball with a 5-1 record and an ERA under 3. Herges may fill the shoes left behind by LaTroy Hawkins as a veteran reliever. Let’s just hope the results will be the same if not better.
Signing Jose Capellan from the Tigers. Dont know a whole lot about this guy other than he’s a relief pitcher. His record is 5-7 in his 4 year career with an ERA of 4.90. Going into his 5th season in the majors, the Rockies will be his 4th team. I’m not going to get too excited over this acquisition, just yet.
Grade so far this offseason: B-