Colorado Rockies identify needs: Will it be enough?
The Colorado Rockies were determined to try to quiet the ever-present negativity fans send their way on a daily basis. It seems every Facebook post to come from the official Colorado Rockies account is bombarded with “fire Dan O’Dowd” or “sell the team to someone who knows baseball.” Now, that didn’t change with the signing of Justin Morneau, Brett Anderson and Boone Logan, but nobody can say the Rockies didn’t spend or try this winter.
The Rockies identified their needs after the 2013 season: acquire a starting pitcher, a solid reliever and an impact bat. They may not have picked up the best available — they never do — but the front office put its best clubbed foot forward and spent some money (though they did save $7.5 million after trading Dexter Fowler).
Morneau is 32 and appears to be on the downside of his career. His bat power has fallen (which riled fans who knew he was supposed to be the “impact bat”) and he really is good only against right-handed pitchers. Luckily, he can platoon at first base with Wilin Rosario, who does well against left-handed pitchers. Mornea’s two-year contract is a bit much at $13 million, but the Rockies are banking on him having a resurgent run in Colorado as former teammate Michael Cuddyer had this past season.
The Drew Pomeranz/Ubaldo Jimenez trade has been settled: The Rockies lost. No shocker there. The Rockies dealt Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for Pomeranz and Alex White, both no longer with the club. This was just another failure on the part of Rockies management at identifying quality pitchers. Anderson, 25, is being brought in to stop the backend slide. When Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin or Tyler Chatwood weren’t starting, the Rockies starter was 12-38. Anderson has been injured often, so his health is going to largely dictate whether he can change the stinky backend of the rotation. When healthy as a starter, Anderson had a 2.81 ERA in 2010, a 3.81 career ERA overall. My line has always been “no one with an ERA of more than 4.00 should be brought here.”
That leaves Logan, a reliever. He and newly re-acquired LaTroy Hawkins will be the late relievers, with Hawkins most likely to be the closer, pushing Rex Brothers back to the setup man role with Logan. Logan comes at a steeper price than the Rockies would like to pay (a good sign they may want to change) with a $16.5 million, three-year contract. He was 24-12 as a reliever and had a 3.38 ERA in his last four seasons with the New York Yankees. The bullpen needed the help with Wilton Lopez untrustworthy and Matt Belisle, possibly burned out, struggling last season.
I’ll give the Rockies some finger snaps for trying to address their areas of concern, but they naturally did it with players who are physically unsound, overpaid and old. The Rockies will be spending a bit more money this season than last, but their payroll still is in the lower half of baseball and they have yet to wow the fans with a signing in quite some time.
The 2014 season should still be better than 2013. “Better” could easily mean a fourth-place finish instead of a fifth.