FanPost

Why Jimenez walked the plank


A year ago, Dan O'Dowd thought he had a team he could ride to the playoffs in 2011. Didn't quite work out.

The trade of Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians shows just the kind of bind he has been put in. If you want to blame any one person for the Jimenez trade, blame Ian Stewart. He is the poster boy for under performance on the Rockies. Unfortunately if it were only Stewart the Rockies might have survived. Instead of having pieces of the future on the field in 2011 the Rockies field a team of the walking dead.

The conundrum is that the Rockies core pieces are still the kind of talent that you can build a contender around. These (post trade) would be; Troy Tulowitski (through 2015), Carlos Gonzalez (2018), Todd Helton (2013) Jorge De la Rosa (2013) and hopefully Jhoulys Chacin (2011). They also have some nice players that are solid pieces to the team. The relief corps as a group for instance.

 

Why did Jimenez have to go? A combination of dollars and talent is a part of it. But the main issue is the need to take advantage of our current core while it is possible to do so. Why O'Dowd is making the best of a bad hand after the jump.

 

Going into this year the Rockies had a payroll of $88.1 million. Of that, $78.4 million was dedicated to starters and key backups. The final $10 million covered everything else. This is the way the year was supposed to go.

Position

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

First Base

Todd Helton

20.3

4.9

5.0

 

 

 

Second Base

Jonathan Herrera

0.4

 

 

 

 

 

Shortstop

Troy Tulowitski

5.5

8.3

10.0

16.0

20.0

Third Base

Ian Stewart

2.3

 

 

 

 

Right Field

Ryan Spilborghs

2.0

 

 

 

 

Center Field

Dexter Fowler

0.4

 

 

 

 

Left Field

Carlos Gonzalez

1.4

5.0

7.5

10.5

16.0

Catcher

Chris Iannetta

2.6

3.6

 

 

 

Utility

Ty Wigginton

3.5

3.5

 

 

 

Starter

Aaron Cook

9.9

11.0

 

 

 

Starter

Jason Hamel

3.0

4.8

 

 

 

Starter

Ubaldo Jimenez

2.8

4.2

5.8

8.0

 

Starter

Jorge De La Rosa

10.0

10.0

11.0

 

 

Starter

Jhoulys Chacin

0.4

 

 

 

 

Setup

Rafael Betancourt

3.8

4.0

4.3

 

 

Setup

Matt Lindstrom

2.8

3.6

4.0

 

 

Closer

Huston Street

7.3

7.5

 

 

 

Core Payroll

 

78.4

70.8

47.6

 

 

Total Payroll

 

88.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

These commitments continue at a pretty high level, to the same players, next year. Then in 2013 the Rockies will have a lot more flexibility as some contract commitments end.

The key question for 2012 has always been clear. Resigning Jhoulys Chacin, because there never have been enough pitching replacements ready in Colorado Springs. He is going to make more that this year's $419,000. I hope he likes Denver.

We thought that we would have in house solutions to third, second, center and, depending on how you feel about Iannetta, catcher. I would argue that he is at least acceptable offensively and he calls games well.

The trade for Mark Ellis and the trade of Jimenez show how little the organization thinks of the performance of every in house option at second, third and center. Mark Ellis added $6 million in ongoing salary this year. He would like to resign, but he will want to be paid. Plus we still apparently need the second baseman of the future.

For center and third, we probably will look to free agents. Not the biggest names, but they will still cost. They have to be good enough to get the Rockies core players a bite at the playoff apple.

The final piece of the puzzle is starting pitching. First off, who ever knows which pitchers will avoid the injury bug AND step up to the challenge of major league batters. The Rockies have $15.8 million committed to Aaron Cook and Jason Hamel in 2012. We will be lucky to have one of them be a serious contributor next year. De La Rosa will be back, but he won't be 100% until 2013.

What we do have, especially after the trade, is a slew of young arms with talent enough. They may not all be number one guys, but we have four solid top of the rotation prospects in the pipeline. Some with the club now and some arriving later. We also have guys with less apparent talent who may yet make their mark.

So the Rockies may need rent an arm or two to bridge to the future. But when this future arrives it will be cheap and fit into a budget that had to also pay for plugging a couple of holes.

Adding in Mark Ellis at second and Charlie Blackmon in right, the 2012 Rockies look like this:

Position

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

First Base

Todd Helton

20.3

4.9

5.0

 

 

 

Second Base

Mark Ellis

6.0

 

 

 

 

 

Shortstop

Troy Tulowitski

5.5

8.3

10.0

16.0

20.0

Third Base

TBD

2.3

 

 

 

 

Right Field

Charlie Blackmon

2.0

0.4

 

 

 

Center Field

TBD

0.4

 

 

 

 

Left Field

Carlos Gonzalez

1.4

5.0

7.5

10.5

16.0

Catcher

Chris Iannetta

2.6

3.6

 

 

 

Utility

Ty Wigginton

3.5

3.5

 

 

 

Starter

Aaron Cook

9.9

11.0

 

 

 

Starter

Jason Hamel

3.0

4.8

 

 

 

Starter

TBD

2.8

 

 

 

 

Starter

Jorge De La Rosa

10.0

10.0

11.0

 

 

Starter

Jhoulys Chacin

0.4

 

 

 

 

Setup

Rafael Betancourt

3.8

4.0

4.3

 

 

Setup

Matt Lindstrom

2.8

3.6

4.0

 

 

Closer

Huston Street

7.3

7.5

 

 

 

Core Payroll

 

84.0

66.5

41.8

 

 

Total Payroll

 

88.1

 

 

 

 

 

After signing Chacin, there will not be much left to sign impact players for our two glaring weaknesses but with cheap starting pitching in the pipeline, we might be able to squeeze the right players note that I have Cook and Hamel as starting pitchers. That is because this table is driven by financial commitments, not who will start. Someone will be paying these two in 2012, and it is probably us.

So Dan O'Dowd has the potential to take advantage of the current core group under this scenario. We pay for the right pieces on the free agent market and resign Chacin this winter, straining our budget so the seams are leaking. Maybe the pitching comes together in 2012 and maybe it doesn't. Then from 2013 to 2015 the Rockies have another shot at being solid contenders.

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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