Hey Rockies fans! I'm trying a slightly different format for this Rockpile, one that I've seen on a few link-driven blog posts before. Links, with basic information, then my personal opinion on the topic. Rocket science, right? Here we go...
I know that this has already been discussed to some extent, but the RMN's Jack Etkin takes a closer look at the Garrett Atkins arbitration situation. Etkin's article also shows the salaries of the other arb-eligibles that have already signed. That article touches on the similarities between Atkins and Justin Morneau, and Etkin expands on this point in a separate blog post.
My take: Is Atkins really comparable to Justin Morneau, who won an MVP award in 2006 (that should have went to Joe Mauer) and finished second in 2008? Looking at the hitting stats, Morneau's career line (281/.348/.498/.846) is a little better than Garrett's (.298/.360/.474/.834), especially if you acknowledge or are a proponent of park factors. Add in defensive metrics, which I admittedly know little about, and Morneau is bound to come out ahead too. But the point is that the comparison is far from unrealistic. What do you think Rowbots? Is Atkins worth Justin Morneau money (six years, $80 million)? Given the Ian Stewart situation and Atkins' mini-regression the last few years, I'd say no, but I'm interested in what the Row thinks.
According to Etkin, it appears that Carlos Gonzalez is on his way to join the Rockies from Venezuela.
My take: As has been discussed, much for Dan O'Dowd is riding on the short term success of CarGon, Greg Smith, and Huston Street. After all, Matt Holliday leaves big shoes to fill. In my opinion, the Oakland three are more than able to create over their years with the Rockies more value than Holliday would have in 2009, but Dealin' Dan had better hope they do or he'll be out of a job. A bigger part of the question is where Gonzalez ends up playing when he does make it to the show. Do the Rockies stick him in his natural center field position, or does he supplant Hawpe and/or Spilly next year in left/right in favor of Dexter Fowler?
Troy Renck at the Denver Post gives us a Josh Fogg update. Basically, the Rockies have an open invitation to Fogg, but he sees the sheer amount of competition for a roster spot and will weigh his options.
My take: There's been way too much Josh Fogg talk considering the depth we already will have in camp for the rotation/swing man. After all, how many long men can a bullpen have? To be honest, the Rockies don't really need Fogg unless they want another AAA starter.
For those of you with ESPN Insider access, Keith Law has his 2009 minor league organizational rankings. He has the Rockies right in the middle, 16th out of 30, but second in the division. Other divisional rankings were Giants (9th), Padres (19th), Dodgers (20th), and D-Backs (24th). Here's what he says:
There's a little more here than meets the eye, between under-the-radar prospects and guys like Hector Gomez (a toolsy infielder who missed this past season due to a fractured shinbone and Tommy John surgery) and Casey Weathers (who is about to miss 2009 due to his own blown-out elbow).
My take: Law's analysis is often pretty spot-on (see Morales, Franklin), so I put a lot of stock in his opinion. With this list, Law gave a much larger weight to higher-impact players as opposed to organizational depth (which is more of a strength for us). Unfortunately, Law doesn't really give me much to go on here as he is talking about all 30 teams, not mentioning our best prospects or his opinions of them. His top 100 prospects rankings to be posted later today at ESPN will doubtless shed some light on our blue chippers. To be honest though, I'm not sure if his rankings of the rest of the division are accurate as I'm not familiar with their depth or impact prospects.
And finally, a quote for those of you who don't like the designated hitter one bit:
The designated hitter rule is like letting someone else take Wilt Chamberlain's free throws. ~Rick Wise, 1974