Monday Rockpile: Odds 'n' Ends, Nieves, Mora, 2011 Free Agency

In case you missed the groundbreaking news last night, the Colorado Rockies have inked Wil Nieves to a Minor League Contract.

Here are some facts about Wil Nieves:

1. Nieves has played for 6 different teams in his professional baseball career: the Padres, Yankees, Angels, Nationals, Braves, Brewers. The Rockies will be team #7. All he needs is to hitch on with a AL Central team and he'll have played in all 6 divisions.

2. Nieves is not a MLB catcher. He's just not. The closest he came was during the 2008-2010 stretch where he played backup for the Nationals. He averaged 66G, 206PA during those years, with a .244/.293/.315 batting line. He hasn't cracked 100PA in any single season outside of those 3 years.

3. Nieves was once traded for $1. When Brian McCann hit the DL, the Braves needed catching depth, so they called up JC Boscan from the minors to back up David Ross, and acquired Nieves from Milwaukee for $1. Other noteworthy athletes who have been acquired for $1: Wes Helms (Philly to Florida, 2008); Kris Draper (Winnipeg to Detroit, 1993 - it was really a waiver claim); Ray Sheppard (Buffalo to New York Rangers, 1990).

4. Nieves hails from the Latin country to the south known as, you guessed it, Puerto Rico. Yes, the Rockies influence in Central and South America continues to grow, first in the Dominican Republic, then in Venezuela, and now Puerto Rico. Much like the Rockies have used their Venezuelan influence to attract free agents such as Ramon Hernandez and Melvin Mora, this Neives acquisition is clearly a precursor to acquiring Carlos Beltran to shore up the Rockies' lineup.

In all seriousness, Nieves isn't the kind of guy the Rockies are bringing in to make any sort of MLB impact. As Rox Girl mentioned in Sunday's Rockpile comments, Nieves is just one of many catchers that the Rockies are going to be bringing in to basically catch the entire stable of young pitchers fighting for their chance at a spot on the MLB roster.

Yeah, there's always the chance that these depth guys could be called up for the sake of not having another MLB ready catcher, but you really can't count on him to be anything more than a warm body to backstop errant curveballs. There's always the chance that a guy like Nieves could tag-team with Ramon Hernandez to help coach young prospect Wilin Rosario, help mentor him to become a MLB catcher, but anything of that nature would just be gravy on top of the real job he's here for.

Among other depth signings, the Rockies have also inked the following players to Minor League Contracts:

C/2B/3B/LF Wilkin Castillo

Pitcher Mike Ekstrom

3B/2B/1B Brendan Harris

CF Brandon Roberts

Pitcher Zach Simons (former Rockies 2nd round pick, traded for Jason Grilli)

Truly, these are exciting times to be a Rockies fan.

* * *

In other news, we saw the Rockies are apparently ringing Melvin Mora's phone off the hook. Those jerks, don't they know his 14 kids are napping?

Wilmer Reina tweeted at Troy Renck on Sunday that the Rockies keep hounding the guy. Again, depth. The Rockies would probably just use him as depth in camp, as his season in Arizona in 2011 left a lot to be desired.

Really, the Rockies are looking at guys like DJ LeMahieu, Brandon Wood, Jordan Pacheco, or the normal pile of 2B we have in Jonathan Herrera, Eric Young Jr., and Chris Nelson to take that backup infielder job, and a couple of them will probably win some sort of utility job. Mora's the consummate professional though, complete with hard work, a fire to compete, and a perpetually disgusted look on his face, and he could give these young whippersnappers a run for their money.

It was kind of a slow news day on Sunday. Which pretty much guarantees that the Rockies are going to do something huge like 4 minutes after this publishes just to make me look stupid.

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