Wednesday Rockpile: More notes from Chicago

Purple Row gives a big shout out to anybody who served in the United States military on Veteran's Day. Your service to the country is vastly appreciated.

The notes from Patrick Saunders at the Denver Post this morning indicates that the delays to the expected announcement of contract extensions for Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy are due to some fine points in the deals still being worked out, but both still seem like locks to return. Meanwhile, other notes from the column include:

  • O'Dowd also makes note of the distinction between listening to offers for a player like Brad Hawpe and actually trying to move him.
  • Eric Young Jr. is playing several positions in winter ball to become a versatile super utility player for the Rockies next season.
  • With no leverage, it will be difficult to trade Garrett Atkins before the non-tender deadline, but O'Dowd is exploring that possibility.
  • While the club would prefer to sign Clint Barmes and Huston Street to two year deals, they'll go to one year if they have to. 

While O'Dowd will be staying, there will be some front office movement. Manager of Baseball Operations Matt Vinnola has jumped ship to join the Texas Rangers organization, where he rejoins Thad Levine and Jon Daniels and becomes that team's Director of Baseball Operations. Vinnola had been in the Rockies organization for 12 years. No word yet on who will replace him for the Rockies, but it's a pretty significant post.

The GM Meetings always have more buzz than actual moves going down as GM's get a sense of where everybody else stands and only start laying the groundwork for deals that come later. What does get revealed is a bit of the strategy, so for the NL West thus far we see the following:

 

  1. Only the Giants are adding payroll, to the $90 million range. Arizona appears to be angling for a small reduction and the other three teams seem to be trying to keep the status quo. San Fran's $90 million limit would make adding a top tier free agent difficult, but they might get better bang for their money by adding two or three second tier guys anyway.
  2. The Diamondbacks aren't going to spend on starters, but might on relievers this season and have an interest in the Rockies Rafael Betancourt if we're unable to retain him.
  3. Los Angeles is looking to trade for young starters like Detroit's Edwin Jackson.  Adding Jackson to Kershaw and Billingsley would make the Dodgers rotation younger, which they probably need to keep up with Colorado and San Francisco after 2010. I don't see the Tigers going for a George Sherrill for Jackson swap, even if the dollars work out, just because the added marginal value of a young cost controlled starter is so much higher than it is for a reliever and the Tigers know this.
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