Posted on: January 1, 2009 6:12 am

Off to a decent start this winter

We all knew Holliday was leaving. The Rockies offered him a significant extension last winter (he would have been among the 10 highest-paid players in MLB), and he turned it down. With Boras on board, the writing was on the wall.

I like what they got from Oakland for him, too. I know it's hard to project prospects, but let's at least look at the fact that Carlos Gonzalez is more developed in his age 23 season than Matt was during his. Greg Smith put up respectable numbers, and he will be in the mix for the #5 spot in the rotation this spring, battling it out with de la Rosa (the early favorite in my mind), Reynolds, and Hirsh. I think Morales is headed to the bullpen, to be honest. There was talk of that last season, and I think they are going to make the move this spring. He'd look nice down there in middle or long relief and spot-starting. And Huston Street is going to be the closer. Mark it down.

Colorado is going to ultimately look like the winner in the deal with the A's after Holliday walks at the end of next season.

Jason Marquis was brought in for one season in a trade that was also addition-by-subtraction in sending away Luis Vizcaino. The Rockies added about $5 million in payroll in the deal (Marquis's salary minus Vizcaino's plus the $1 million the Cubs threw in), and I expect Marquis to pitch about 180-190 innings of 4.50 or so ball.

Willy Taveras is gone. We know someone will be starting in CF for the Rockies, and at the moment it looks like Ryan Spilborghs. But I have what I think is a better option, if they're willing. Give Ian Stewart a chance to play LF. I believe he's athletic enough to pull it off, and that would give them the best offensive lineup. Otherwise, either Atkins or Stewart has to sit in favor of either Spilly or Gonzalez, and that's not going to give them the best chance to score runs. Let Spilly keep his 4th OF role (he excels at it) and start Gonzalez in CF.

That would leave one HUGE need: 2B. Everyone took Taveras to task for his awful OBP (and rightly so), but most of that same group of people seems to be okay with Clint Barmes starting at 2B for the Rockies. Newsflash: Barmes is even WORSE than Taveras in that department, yet he's being tossed out as the likely starting 2B and hitting second. Unless Eric Young, Jr. blows them away in spring training (and he's having a good run in winter ball) and becomes the starting 2B, I see this as the biggest area of concern right now. They need someone who can play 2B and be the leadoff hitter. Right now, that looks like Young.

Category: MLB
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