In the Rockpile: Roster moves show improvement

Who will be the next to get replaced? (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

In order to make a statement as a smaller market team, you can’t just beat up on division opponents and expect the rest of the league to respect that alone. The Rockies have begun making a resurgence the last few weeks by posting a winning record and putting in work against Detroit, Cleveland and now the New Yah-k Yankees. June (13-8) has been much kinder to the Rox than May was (8-21) and part of that can be attributed to a total roster shake-up the last month and maybe some better weather.

Since the beginning of what would turn-out to be a horrendous May, after a red hot April start, the roster has experienced a facelift that would make Joan Rivers jealous. The starting line-up on Opening Day was:

Dexter Fowler – CF, Seth Smith – RF, Troy Tulowitzki – SS, Todd Helton – 1B, Ty Wigginton – 3B, Jose Lopez – 2B and Chris Ianetta – C.

The last couple weeks have featured a line-up that isn’t nearly the same:

Carlos Gonzalez – CF, Chris Nelson – 2B, Todd Helton – 1B, Troy Tulowitzki – SS, Ty Wigginton – 3B, Seth Smith – RF, Charlie Blackmon- LF, Matt Pagnozzi – C.

There has been a huge turnover of players. Gone from the Rockies organization are Felipe Paulino, Jose Lopez, and Franklin Morales. Paulino ended up in KC, Lopez in Miami with the Marlins and Morales was traded to Boston. Triple-A Colorado Springs has installed a revolving door in their clubhouse after seeing guys come, go and then come back again. Ian Stewart didn’t make the Opening Day line-up at third base and is now a starter in triple-A after being sent down twice.  Utility man Alfredo Amezaga has been back and forth after not being terribly effective and the Rockies dugout and bullpen looks more like a who’s-who of the Rockies affiliates after adding: Clayton Mortensen, Matt Daley, Juan Nicasio (double-A), Rex Brothers, Charlie Blackmon and Chris Nelson, just to name the guys who are still on the 40-man.

These options have led to an increase in offensive production and a spark in the bullpen. Mortensen and Nicasio have been good as starting pitchers and Rex Brothers has been exceptional in his reliever role. The baseball gods have seemed to appreciate these moves since the Rockies have spent June beating division foes and beginning a good inter-league session by winning against the Tigers, Indians and taking game one against the Yankees.

The Rockies are good at drafting and developing talent and its times like this (plus good trading) when it really pays off to focus on talent development instead of writing checks in furious numbers for high-priced veteran talent.

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