Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tulowitzki contract links and thoughts

Not a whole lot of congratulations coming the Rockies way over the past 24 hours. That's to be expected given the length of the contract and the risks involved in such deals. It's unlikely Tulowitzki will hold his value for the entirety of the contract, I think we all understand that. It would be a total disaster if his skills fell off before his original contract was set to expire. We get that too.

That said, sometimes teams have to take risks to stay competitive and keep the fan base happy. Tulowitzki, when healthy, which is a key, has shown he can be a franchise player. It's also pretty clear he WANTS to be here long-term and the fan base has accepted him wholeheartedly. Those two factors alone make it far less risky from the Rockies standpoint, and if this franchise accomplishes the ultimate goal even one time over the next decade with Tulo leading the way, it'll be brilliant business.

I guess we'll know for sure 10 years from now when we look back at this contract as we've looked back at Todd Helton's. Yes, Todd's contract hampered the team over the past couple of seasons. Maybe it even kept the team from making a move that would put them over the top last season.

But to me it was worthwhile because I don't think this team makes the 2007 World Series without Todd Helton anchoring the greatest single season team defensive effort in MLB history, and contributing his usual clutch hits down the stretch.

It's also safe to assume this team will be structured better over the course of this contract than they were throughout Helton's contract. The Rockies have a different mindset now than they did then, and a better reputation. A winning reputation. An expectation that they will be at or around the playoff hunt come September. That makes doing business a little easier when it comes to adding key pieces.

I'm on record right now saying I like that deal. I don't necessarily love it or consider it a guarantee for future success, but I like that our ownership and front office are not afraid to lock up a guy they love and face the backlash they're receiving today around the league. Believe me, there are some teams that shy away from deals for that reason, so it's nice to know ours will face it head on.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Missing out on Dan Uggla and other Rockies issues

With the Florida Marlins officially trading second baseman Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for what even the most casual baseball fan would recognize as a weak return, Rockies fans are left to wonder how and why their team didn't get involved.

For the price the Atlanta Braves paid, yes, the Rockies could have easily topped that package without losing a truly meaningful piece to their present or future plan, and probably should have. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Rockies were not in on recent discussions.

I don't know why that is. But one thing we shouldn't discount is that the Florida Marlins are a pathetically run franchise. This isn't all about what the Rockies were willing to part with, it's also about who the Marlins valued in return. As Troy Renck pointed out on Twitter, the Rockies didn't have the pieces that would have satisfied Florida based on what they took.

It's also possible Marlins GM Larry Beinfest's demands during talks last off season led Dan O'Dowd to believe a deal would be impossible then and in the future. That could be BS in itself, but believe me, it's never as easy as we're led to believe by the armchair GMs with blogs and Twitter accounts.

I completely understand the frustration, though. I'm frustrated to see Uggla go elsewhere for such a lousy return, but again, there are a lot of factors involved. Of course you can put money at the top of that list.

Other Issues

I don't like the pattern developing with the Rockies roster. In the past 18 months we have seen once valuable trade pieces like Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Taylor Buchholz and now Manny Corpas unloaded from the squad with absolutely nothing in return.

It's concerning because the model for the franchise to stay competitive is never going to be excessive spending. I don't think it has to be or should be either, but they do need to stay ahead of the competition, evaluate their talent better and trade out pieces before they lose value. That's why I've always been big on the idea of dealing Ryan Spilborghs and Clint Barmes the past two off seasons. Their value will never get that high again.

The Rockies also stand to lose Jeff Francis for nothing in the coming weeks as we're hearing up to five teams have interest. His case is a little different though with the injury bug having bitten him repeatedly.

I've stated many times this is the most important off season for Dan O'Dowd as Rockies GM. It's off to a quiet start. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's understandable that many fans will start getting antsy. Hopefully we'll see something worthwhile develop in the next couple of weeks so he's not left scrambling to fill several roles in February.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughts on Miguel Olivo being traded to Toronto

It's Official: The Colorado Rockies have traded Miguel Olivo to the Toronto Blue Jays for a guy not yet identified and/or cash money.

There had been at least two incorrect reports from Tracy Ringolsby leading up to the official announcement of the trade. Sloppy reporting on his end, no question about that. But all reporters get caught with bad information from time to time. I don't think it makes him any less the credible source. Though you give credit to Thomas Harding and Troy Renck for sticking to their guns here.

Anywho... a lot of Rockies fans seem disappointed by the news, which I guess I expected, though not to the extent I've seen on Twitter.

Unfortunately the arguments for Olivo staying mostly center around him fitting in, being a nice guy, always smiling, wanting to be a Rockie, so on. All nice things, but things that play little part in winning a championship.

Really all you need to know is that Toronto will be Olivo's 7th different team since 2004.
  • Chicago White Sox 
  • Seattle Mariners 
  • San Diego Padres 
  • Florida Marlins 
  • Kansas City Royals 
  • Colorado Rockies 
  • Toronto Blue Jays
Not to rip on the guy, but this isn't a monumental loss from any baseball standpoint. In fact, that Dan O'Dowd was able to swing a last minute deal is a pretty nice piece of GMing on his part. It saved the team a $500,000 buyout, which could be signficant in making another signing down the road.

Also, Olivo wasn't brought in to be a long term solution. He was brought in to play a backup role to Chris Iannetta for a year or two while the Rockies young catching talent developed.

It turned out he had an amazing start to the season, very likely all-star worthy, took the job, and then he regressed back into being the guy he's been his entire career -- an okay backup catcher that moves around a lot like all backup catchers do.

Unfortunately Chris Iannetta never got into a rhythm, so the Rockies had a gaping hole behind the plate the last three months of the season, but the way it was designed made sense.

I know names like Mike Napoli and Victor Martinez are being tossed around. I'm sure a couple more names will be thrown in that mix. We'll see what happens. There are many factors involved here including how the Rockies want to spend their money, roster flexibility, and how they view their catchers behind Iannetta.

It's a process and it's impossible to predict which way they'll go until some chips start falling around the league.

Also, in case you haven't heard.

The Rockies declined the option on Jeff Francis. They will attempt to re-sign him for far less money.

They also declined the option on Octavio Dotel, which had to be one of the easiest decisions O'Dowd has ever made.

And finally, O'Dowd declined the option of fries with his sandwich at lunch today. By my count he's 4-for-4 so far in the offseason.