FanPost

Older Rockies Rookies

David Pinto at Baseball Musings made a good point about the Rockies' development of players in regard to Hawpe:

I’ll also note that Hawpe is 31. Like so many Rockies, he came to the majors late, already in his prime at age 25. This served the Rockies well, as they were able to capture these primes cheaply, and have these players spent by the time they became free agents (see Garrett Atkins). Holding players in the minors is a good way for smaller markets to save money and still compete, but it also means it’s tough to build a good, long-term team.


This fits in with the point yesterday that the Rockies failed to recognize the proper time to trade both Hawpe and Atkins.  As older players when they became full-time players, they weren't going to be the typical 28 year old big-time free agents no matter how good they became.  This meant that the team controlled their peak seasons (26-28) rather cheaply, but that there was a high probability they'd experience age-related decline as they approached free agency (in their cases, at about 30-31 instead of 27-28).  

As a consequence, there was a high probability that it would be hard to trade them and recoup value if they began to decline, or that, even if they performed well, they'd be too old to reach free agency (and get draft picks back) before becoming expensive road blocks for cheaper, as-good-or-better prospects.  

(Part of the supposition I'm basing this entire opinion is that the team could have gotten by with Dex/Smith/Cargo/EY2/Murton, etc.  I'm aware that, in hindsight, the injuries and growing pains that have occurred made this a tenuous proposition, but Hawpe didn't add much to the OF this year aside from stellar April hitting, and thus, even with the way things have gone, Hawpe's absence wouldn't have changed the current outcome.)

No matter what, Hawpe and Atkins were going to get paid more money for declining performance.  With a record payroll of $84M this year, the Rockies were due for an influx of cheap talent and a purge of older, more expensive players.  It didn't need to be a Marlins-type burn the house down turnover, but over the past couple of years they should have recognized that the roster needed to be turned over a bit in order to a) be flexible, and b) not end up with a bloated, older payroll.  

If it feels like it was too soon for Hawpe to go, it's because it was: we saw the best of him because he came up as a ready-to-go player, but we didn't get to see that much of him because he came up at a later age.  If that's how the team does business, it's smart, but they need to be able to deal with the back-end of that method.  And that means putting the fans through a little bit of pain in order to sustain a winner.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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