Monday Rockpile: The OBVIOUS Replacements

Another week, another road series where the Rockies don't hit as a team. Well, sort of.

Over the past 7 days, the Rockies have batted a SLG-heavy aggregate .796 OPS. Jason Giambi, Seth Smith, and Carlos Gonzalez have all posted a 1.000+ OPS. Jose Lopez has batted .348 with an .853 OPS. Tulo and Helton have also been both above .800 OPS, but the next highest is Alfredo Amezaga with a .619 OPS.

Bump that split up to the past 2 weeks, and it doesn't really change. The same guys have the 1.000+ OPS, the same guys are struggling.

What strikes me as interesting about these numbers is that a couple of the "dead weight" guys are the ones producing: Giambi, obviously, with his 4 homer stretch between Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and Jose Lopez with the aforementioned .355 batting average over the past 2 weeks.

This is where trying to pull the replacement players becomes an issue. Take a look at what we have considered the "dead weight" on the roster and who is in line behind them:

Jose Lopez seems to have Chris Nelson directly behind him, at least as far as a lot of the Chris Nelson proponents have claimed. Nelson has batted a respectable .302/.335/.483 down in Colorado Springs, but that line doesn't really translate well from the Springs to MLB. Someone that's been brought up a few times but should be getting a more serious look is Josh Fields, whose .358/.428/.658 line is INCREDIBLY inflated by Colorado Springs, but should be still someone in line for a depth spot. Considering Lopez' recent hot streak, we can't expect to see the Rockies cut bait with him. There's an investment to take into consideration - not the Chaz Roe investment, but just sheer dollars. Should the Rockies decide to shuffle Lopez out, I can't help but wonder if that salary would help him clear waivers.

Ryan Spilborghs has taken some flak lately as well, but over that 14-day split, he's batted .364/.440/.364 - yes, all singles. Down the line, like 2012, I don't expect to see Spilly with the team. For 2011, however, there's again money and recent production to consider. Spilly and Lopez are both in similar boats, having performed terribly thus far this season, but they have a decent-sized MLB salary and have turned it on lately. The depth move for Spilly is kind of a mixed bag. Cole Garner would be my call, given a direct RHB replacement, but Garner hasn't been doing too much in AAA Colorado Springs - good batting average, but he's also on the DL right now. Charles Blackmon becomes the next option, and his .345/.407/.605 line is fantastic. The question is do the Rockies want to have an OF with 3 LHB, one switch, and Ty Wigginton?

More post-jump.

Off Topic

Jason Giambi is another one of those OBVIOUS moves, which has been made less obvious over the past week. Home Runs aside, Todd Helton's experiencing back spasms, which terrifies me, so having Veteran Presence at 1B is a generally good thing. Prior to this strong stretch for Giambi, he once again made no sense on an NL Roster. He can only "play" one position, and he's not even being used how the Rockies planned on using him, as a regular PH. He's had all of 8 PH appearances with absolutely disastrous results (1-for-8 with a walk). He's being saved for that BIG AT BAT which may never come, and if they expect him to be sharp at ANYTHING, he needs to be appearing - as a PH unless otherwise needed - 3+ times a week. Not once a week in the "one big hit gives the Rockies the walkoff" because that hasn't been happening very often thus far. We will see more of him in interleague.

Point is, if you have him, use him, because as ill-advised as a DH on an NL roster is, it's even more of a waste if he's not even being used.

The replacement for Giambi should he get the axe after ST is a bit of a mixed bag. My initial response is Eric Young Jr, because you'll have IF and OF and PR depth with EY. Young isn't slouching in the Springs either, batting .363/.461/.541 and 16/17 on SB attempts.

Finally, the pitching. It's been increasingly apparent over the past 2 weeks that these dead weight players need to perform or update their resumes. Lopez has responded. Spilborghs has responded. Giambi has sort of responded. Franklin Morales didn't, and neither did Felipe Paulino. Matt Daley was called up, as he's the OBVIOUS replacement for Paulino, and once the rotation snag has been cleared up, Greg Reynolds will likely be demoted again to make way for Rex BrothersTroy Renck has been clamoring for Brothers, so don't think he's been forgotten.

Frankly, the message seems to be loud and clear, and some guys are responding, some aren't. The next 4 weeks will be very telling for Lopez, Giambi, and Spilborghs. They'll also be very telling for the front office, and how willing they are to cut bait on major league salaries.

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