In what is sure to make headlines in tomorrow's Denver Post, the Rockies have acquired former Angels and Pirates infielder Brandon Wood on a hefty minor-league contract. Wood, 26, was taken 23rd overall in the 2003 Entry Level Draft by the Anaheim Angels, and after playing parts of 8 seasons in the minors and 5 in the majors (obviously some overlap there) as a reputably strong infield defender, Wood has yet to crack that elusive "league average bat" mark in a season.
Wood was reportedly brought in to compete for the 3B job in the Spring of 2012. Wood, interestingly enough, is like a worse version of Ian Stewart. He's generally considered to be a plus glove (even though the advanced metrics really don't support that), but he strikes out WAY too much (29% MLB career K%), he doesn't get on base via the free pass, and despite showing a massive power potential (43 HR in High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2005), he's hit all of 18 HR in the majors and has a .103 ISO (SLG-AVG), which is even sadder when you look at his .186 career average.
Before anybody flips out about Wood being a terrible excuse for the "big acquisition" the Rockies need to make this offseason, remember that Wood is on a Minor League contract and is really there for AAA depth. That said, he could be one of those absurdly late bloomers and suddenly find that MLB potential that had him and Stewart drafted in the 1st round. I mean, really, there's no risk involved here. If Wood flashes the awesome, yay, awesome. If he sucks, however, oh well, it's not like there was a MLB investment in the signing. I'm hoping for the awesome option, but I'm also not holding my breath. (/fast forward to April and Wood's inexplicably the starting 3B)
The Rockies ARE out there looking, but maybe not as aggressively as we might be hoping.
"It just depends on who they are," O'Dowd said. "We're pursuing players, but with where we're at, we're not just going to add players to be adding them. It's like the second basemen we're going after. We have an idea of what we feel they are worth, and if the other side feels they're worth something different, we're just going to move on."
Not exactly what you want to read when the team has a lot of work to get back to a competitive state. The positive spin is that they're not going to mortgage the organization for a marginal improvement, but the negative spin is clearly that the team won't haggle much or get into bidding wars with their FA targets. I guess it's a prudent fashion in which to act, but it's far from interesting.
In other news, the Bill James 2012 projections are available on Fangraphs now, and they're always fun to look at. Here's some sneak previews: Helton posts a .393 OBP, Tulo blasts 29 bombs, Cargo bats .305, and Jhoulys Chacin goes 11-10 with a 3.73 ERA. There we go, folks. No need to watch the 2012 season. Oh, and Rex Brothers continues to be filthy.