Hot Stove Season Not Over for Rockies?
The big news this morning is the increased trade pressure the Rockies have placed on Jeff Baker and Yorvit Torrealba, as Troy Renck reports. In light of Sal Fasano's strong spring and the intangibles provided by his fantastic facial hair, the Rockies are no longer looking for a catcher in return for Purple Row's favorite Rockie. However, the reality is that the Rockies probably won't be trading Yorvit because they signed him to a silly contract last year and nobody has $4 million lying around for a backup catcher. So the real news here is the availability (and the ability to potentially move) reserve infielder Jeff Baker.
Baker has always had the potential for great things with his bat, but due to unfortunate injuries and overall bad timing he's never gotten his opportunity with the Rockies. As a result, moving him might be the best move for both parties at this juncture--though as Renck mentions, that might mean a trade to Pittsburgh or Houston (lost Aaron Boone). I for one would thoroughly recommend the Rockies trading with Ed Wade of the Astros again, as the club got pretty good value the last time a trade was consummated between the two teams. Also reportedly interested in Baker are the Yankees (A-Rod out), Phillies (as reported by Ken Rosenthal), and the Braves. Renck mentions in a blog post that the Yankees are unlikely to pursue Baker because they want to give their prospect Cody Ransom a shot. Kyle Kendrick was the only name mentioned as a possible return--one that doesn't do a lot for me personally, but pitching depth is never a bad thing, and Baker's departure would mean that Ian Stewart would be all but guaranteed a roster spot.
Dexter Fowler Situation Analysis
In addition, the trade of Baker could increase the likelihood of Dexter Fowler staying with the big club. He's a game-changing talent according to Clint Hurdle, and the Rockies are no doubt a better team if he's on it, but there is more than just talent at play here. As I opined in yesterday's Rockpile comments, the Rockies will likely keep Fowler in AAA until at least mid-June for the simple reason that Dex has three options left and that the Rockies want to delay his arbitration status from being Super-Two eligible. The Rockies would then control Fowler for an extra full season before he becomes arbitration eligible--which as I've shown is bad for everyone except the players.
In other words, don't hold your breath for Dex beginning the season with the Rockies this year. If the Rockies end up two games back from the playoffs this year, they'll rue this decision, but likely it will save them plenty of money down the line.
Other Rockies Links
Patrick Saunders lists his Five Biggest Spring Surprises, citing Helton's power surge as the number one surprise.
Renck chimes in with a piece on the difficulty of the Rockies' Cactus League schedule, due mostly to the increased travel distances and the lack of off days.
Tracy Ringolsby contributes an interview with Brad Hawpe.
Thomas Harding has pieces on Chris Iannetta's development, Troy Tulowitzki's rehab game (it went fine), and Juan Morillo's progress. Morillo in particular has impressed me this spring--it would do the Rockies a lot of good to have a power arm like Morillo in the pen especially with Taylor Buchholz out.
Scout.com unveils their Top 100 Prospect List (article) and Chart (actual list), with a nice breakdown of the list on the article's right sidebar. The Rockies check in with three players on the list: Dexter Fowler at 35, Jhoulys Chacin at 60, and Christian Friedrich at 92.
And finally...this happened about a week ago, but CBS Sports' Scott Miller did his Rockies camp tour, primarily focusing on an interview with Troy Tulowitzki. He also identified five things to know about the upcoming season for the Rox.
Should the Colorado Rockies trade Jeff Baker?
Yes: Baker is injury prone and streaky. He will thrive in a new environment and it will give the Rockies a place to put Ian Stewart. (84 votes)
No: Baker is too valuable as a utility infielder and too much of a talent to give up on--especially if Kyle Kendrick is all the Rockies can get for him in return. (15 votes)
Maybe: Only if the return is acceptable--Baker does have value after all. (55 votes)
154 total votes