Troy Renck's sources say that Huston Street has nudged out Manny Corpas in the role of ninth inning reliever. The report does have some troubling news in two mph drop in the speed of Corpas' sinker. He's been effective this Spring even without the velo, but this will be something to watch going forward.
Huston Street shouldn't need to be going to batting practice very often this season if all goes well. Purple Row file photo courtesy Poseidon's Fist
Patrick Saunders disagrees with the verdict, saying Corpas "has earned it". I think everybody here knows that my own opinion from a fan perspective is that it doesn't really matter, your reliever that shuts down the opponents' 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth inning of a close ballgame should probably deserve more credit than the guy who does the same with the 6-7-8 hitters in the ninth. From a player's perspective, however, that label does increase a reliever's earning power. The good news for Corpas is that with his contract, he has plenty of time to get the label back.
For the final roster slot, a potential trade for either the Rays Jason Hammel or the Cubs Chad Gaudin has Juan Morillo's status in limbo. Morillo has looked the most likely internal candidate to win that spot, but the interest in Gaudin and Hammel and the long look they gave Belisle indicates that the Rockies are looking for a guy who can pitch multiple innings, more than two in an appearance if necessary, for that spot, a right handed counterpart to Glendon Rusch, which is something that Morillo doesn't seem particularly well suited to.
Updated Belisle mugshot via mlb.mlb.com
The real issue with whoever they decide to go with will be what becomes of them once Taylor Buchholz returns. Keep in mind that should the Rockies make a trade right now and cut Morillo and Belisle, they could lose up to two players for one (Morillo or Belisle --one was going to get cut anyway-- and whoever they give up in the trade). Then if they are intent on keeping Hammel or Gaudin all season, it could become a situation where they are either required to give up three players for the one middle reliever (the three aforementioned, plus whoever needs to be put on waivers when Buchholz returns: Speier? Rusch? Grilli?) unless they wanted to option Corpas or are just trading for a one month rental.
For this reason and the fact that we've got more leverage in this situation, I've come to be pretty set against a trade that involves giving up anything more than cash considerations or a minor league depth type of player. It's definitely a situation that could come back to bite O'Dowd pretty hard, if any of the players lost or cut contributes more than the guy we receive in a trade, it's a losing situation, but given the fickle nature of pitching, there's a chance that multiple lost players could contribute more and that would be disaster.
The last linked Denver Post article allows us to put together Clint Hurdle's opening day lineup:
- Ryan Spilborghs CF
- Seth Smith LF
- Todd Helton 1B
- Garrett Atkins 3B
- Brad Hawpe RF
- Troy Tulowitzki SS
- Chris Iannetta C
- Clint Barmes 2B
- Aaron Cook P
Hurdle says that Dexter Fowler would bat first or second and Ian Stewart sixth when they're used. The fact that both were brought up certainly is a reflection of the hope that they can make an impact and the intent to give them plenty of PA's this season, as you'll note that no such specification was given for reserves Yorvit Torrealba, Omar Quintanilla or even Jeff Baker.
If you're finding yourself too giddy about the Rockies chances heading into opening day and need a pessimism shock to sober up, check out Baseball Prospectus' updated projections page, which now has the team finishing dead last in the division, even beneath the team that's planning to start our single A second baseman/shortstop two times a week. BP's PECOTA really doesn't like Todd Helton (according to them, Helton's less valuable at first than Jorge Cantu) Seth Smith (the division's least valuable left fielder by at least a win), Aaron Cook (Cook=Jon Garland) or Franklin Morales (7.08 ERA) among other Rockies and sees disappointing seasons for our team practically across the board. Either they've completely flubbed up our projections or I'm completely deluded, I'm curious how the season will play out.