Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies Officially Eliminated From Division...So Who Catches?

So there it is:

Eliminated_medium

 

By virtue of Arizona's victory over Los Angeles last night, the Colorado Rockies have been officially eliminated from divisional contention.

Tenchnically, they are still alive in the wild card another day, but at 14 games behind with 16 games left and six teams ahead of them, it is essentially mathematically impossible there too.

So, we are on to the future full bore.  Last offseason, the most interesting storyline I foresaw for this coming offseason was how the Rockies chose to handle their catchers.  

The landscape six months ago:  They had a veteran catcher who had flashed ability but hadn't really had a good year since 2008.  However, he was under contract for 2012 at $3.55million with a $5million 2013 option, which he can void if traded before 2013.  Then, the best prospect in the entire system was a catcher who torched AA in 2010 at age 21.

Most of that hasn't changed, but what has changed makes that decision even more interesting.  Iannetta has had his best season since 2008, while Rosario struggled to maintain an OBP above .290 in AA.  Suddenly, Rosario no longer seemed to be an upgrade in 2012.

Before the long offseason and its endless debates commences, we have 16 games in which both men can make their final cases.  Wilin Rosario is out to prove he can catch full-time:

"I remember (Rockies catching coach Marv Foley) telling me that, how every little thing matters. I am going to do everything to show them I am ready to stay here for a long time." - Wilin Rosario

The Rockies are intelligently giving a majority of playing time to Rosario in order to better assess his 2012 future.  For some reason, while the Rockies are out of contention, this move gets regular complaints from Fangraphs writers who think Chris Iannetta hasn't deserved to lose playing time.  It's a silly thought.  Iannetta has been fine (not fantastic) this year, and if the veterans on the team don't earn contention in late September, they risk losing playing time to youth.  It is far from a novel idea.

Iannetta is 2nd among NL catchers in in on-base-percentage and runners caught stealing, fifth in slugging and fifth in batting average.  Not fantastic, but strong to be sure.  One might think Rosario's presence would make Iannetta happy to move to another team.  But Iannetta wants to stay in Colorado.

"But this is the place I want to be. I've said that time and time again. I came up with these guys. I believe in the organization. I believe in what they have to offer. I believe we can win." - Chris Iannetta

If one were to say the right thing for the right thing's sake, Iannetta has it down pat.  But maybe he really is fine here.  After all, the Rockies always play their back-up catchers.  As much interest as there is in the players Dan O'Dowd adds, how Rosario/Iannetta are handled is just as interesting....at least to me.

Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki one of six finalists for major leagues' man of year award - The Denver Post  Tulo's out for more postseason hardware.

Revisiting The Felipe Paulino For Clint Barmes Trade: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com  The trade that figured to be a no-lose trade for the Rockies has become a bad trade for the Rockies.

White joins Mussina, Wakefield in record books | ColoradoRockies.com: News  It took Alex White less than 50 innings to join two exceptional (if not HoF) pitchers in history for an MLB record....of allowing 5 home runs or more in just five innings, while earning a win.

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