First and foremost for the news of the day, Matt Herges has signed with the Indians according the the Rocky Mountain News. While Herges was very good in 2007, posting a sub 3.00 era, he was much worse in 2008 and his loss is not huge to the team, considering his projections this season have him being no more worse then this guy.
Also from Troy Reneck at his Denver Post Blog, it looks as if the coin flip for deciding homefield advantage on tie breakers by coin flip is gone. Instead homefield advantage will be given to the team who had the best in season recored against each other. In 2007 the Rockies had the series advantage by 11-8 so the tiebreaker game would have still been in Denver under this new system. This system also seems to be a better way to determain homefield advantage in my opinion.
I think we should take a look at what will be in left field this season for the rockies, now the Holliday is gone. While this subject has been touched upon breifly, I think an in depth look at our options will be useful. What I have done is averaged the 3 projections for the 2 main contenders to get an idea of what we can expect. Numbers in the standard Ave/OBP/SLG/OPS format.
Player A: .282/.354/.452/.806
Player B: .267/.345/.461/.806
Basically look at the numbers, player A and B will for the most part give us the same kind of production with the bat. Where the difference lies is with defense. While one player has played the OF before and has been able to play CF in a pinch a few times, the other is strictly a corner infielder. If you havn't figured it out yet, player A is Seth Smith and Player B is Ian Stewart. I have heard a lot of grumbling lately from here and the comment sections of the two Denver newspapers about Stewart in LF. This in my opinion would be a mistake. Seth Smith, while short on the tools that Stewart brings to the table, has hit at every level he has been to. This trend hasn't stopped when he has been in the Majors either. In 116 AB, he has hit .284/.366/.466/.832 and while 116 AB's is nothing to get hot and bothered with, he has at least shown some what of a conistancy, and he has the minor league numbers to give plenty of projection into what he can do in the future. I wouldn't be surpised if he hits 20+ homeruns next year while having an OBP closing in on .900
This isn't to say that I'm not high on Stewart because I am. When taking into account defence I would go on a limb and say right now will be just as good, if not better then Atkins next year. Atkins has a projected OPS in the .830's next year, and I think that he might have a hard time getting there, where as I wouldn't be shocked if Stewart added .40 points to his projected SLG perecentage. To prove it, I have put my money where my mouth is. In a sim league I am in, I have traded Atkins for pitching prospect Wade Davis. While I don't think the Rockies could get a Wade Davis for Atkins in real life, I think that once Helton proves he is healthy, Aktins should be out the door. Stewart and Smith are going to be good players going forward. Both have nothing to prove at the minor league levels. Please Colorado, lets give them a shot, and I guarantee by June the fans will forget all about who was in left field during the 2008 campain.