ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 16: Martin Prado #14 of the Atlanta Braves hits a 2nd inning home run against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
If I were to ever have a baseball team of my very own and if I were to desire to fill the margins of the roster of said team, what kind of player would I want, you know, in the margins, off to the side so as to avoid going after big names? Why, I think I'd want Martin Prado, after all, since he plays so many positions it must mean other teams trust him coming off the bench. Or maybe I'd want Roy Oswalt, who apparently couldn't crack the 2012 rotation of a NL East team as a marginal sixth starter type, but the name sounds somewhat familiar.
This might turn out to be a long winter for those trying to make sense of what the team says in the front room vs. what it attempts to do in the back rooms, as the Rockies front office juggles keeping fan expectations low (as in Dan O'Dowd downplaying the team's winter desires to Dave Krieger last week,) while at the same time actually targeting some of the name brand players most fans would want to see come to the team, as in the two stories above linking the Rockies to Prado and Oswalt.
The pair actually fit the Rockies needs fairly well, and while I've been outspoken about not targeting old pitchers with known injury issues, Oswalt is probably the most palatable of that class available this winter. He also may turn out to be among the most expensive, but I still think he's unlikely to cost as much in salary as Carl Pavano, for instance, certainly won't cost a prospect in trade, and yet provide a better return.
I think it's pretty clear that the Rockies are wanting to add at least one fairly significant piece -along the lines of a Prado or Oswalt- to their puzzle this winter, it just must not be clear to the front office management if the team has sufficient resources available, either in players to trade or salary, to add said piece. The team expects to add nothing, but is hoping to add something, and it seems they want the fans to get into the same mindset.
Should the nothing added scenario unfold, at least there is good news coming from various places on the "internal development" front. At the bottom of the above linked Martin Prado piece in the Denver Post comes the news that Juan Nicasio's bullpen sessions have been "electric," and it's looking increasingly likely that he will be ready to start by Opening Day. A fast Nicasio recovery alleviates some of the need for starting pitching this winter, as the right-hander should save Jeff Aberle and other Rockies fans from the agonies of watching Esmil Rogers starts.
Rogers, along with Alex White, is actually one area of potential internal improvement with the rotation. A pitcher nee infielder with quality stuff, but who telegraphs his pitches like nobody in the league, needs only to add deception to see dramatic improvement in his results. If he takes that step this winter, I think a lot of Rockies fans will be surprised by the difference. Of course, if he doesn't, he'll probably get cut by the end of next Spring. Such is life as a real marginal roster player.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in Venezuela, a horrific crime that makes my heart go out to Nationals fans. It recalls the kidnapping of Yorvit Torrealba's son a couple of years ago, and with a large current Venezuelan contingent, including Carlos Gonzalez and Jhoulys Chacin as natives of the country, and others like Eric Young Jr. down there for winter league, the security of Rockies players in the country will need to be closely scrutinized and hopefully they're taking every precaution to keep safe.
"To me, personally, he is the best hitter I have seen in this league," Brewer said of his potential future nemesis. "It's crazy because he's a 20-year-old kid, but his approach is advanced."
It's a good sign when future opponents have as much respect for a prospect as the D-backs' Charles Brewer has for current Salt River Rafters teammate Nolan Arenado. Arenado went 2 for 4 with his sixth home run and continues to advance exponentially ahead of a standard prospect learning curve, which is why Rockies fans can and perhaps should have hope for him contributing in a significant way to Colorado at the MLB level in 2012.