When is it kosher to start griping about the MLB Hot Stove season? Or just start discussing it, period? The Rockies were abysmal this season, so I was ready to start talking Hot Stove in like July. Other teams, say, the Red Sox and Braves, aren't removed enough from the season yet to really start talking about how things are going to be fixed for next year. I mean, think about it:
Terry, this was a heartbreaking loss. After rising to such heights this season, this strong of a collapse has to have people on edge about their job security, whether by trade or firing. Do you think the front office is content with Josh Reddick in RF, or will they be major players for Carlos Beltran's services?
Too soon, man.
What's this? Aramis Ramirez, available again after all? This changes everything! EVERYTHING!
Realistically though, this doesn't change anything. The Rockies haven't been known to make that big leap into Free Agency, at least not in the past decade, so getting into a bidding war over an aging 3B just doesn't seem to be their style.
Then again, they're also interested in Michael Cuddyer. Maybe it's just my impression, but there almost seems to be bigger bidding wars on the 2nd best FAs at a position than the first. Not bigger in the style of "most money", but "most teams". Really, look at Cliff Lee. The Rangers and the Yankees were both in for like $140M+, and the Phillies swooped in to grab him. 3 teams. Then take a look at the next best lefty starter: Jorge De La Rosa. 5 teams, including the Pirates, Yankees, Nationals, Orioles, and Rockies.
Personally, I like watching the next-best players' adventures in Free Agency. The teams who do or don't sign the next-best out there show a bit more strategy, a bit more thought in their pursuits. You get a big name on the market like Lee or Sabathia or Teixeira or whoever, and of COURSE the Yankees are in on them. It's boring. Not just in the "weh weh your team got the guy we wanted weh weh", but more the knowing that that huge player is going to land in a big market. It's boring.
This offseason looks to be a really interesting one, in my opinion. There isn't one giant FA out there that every big team is going to want to grab. There's a lot of B-listers and questionable-former-A-listers. A lot of teams will be in the running for these names this year.
Of course, this kind of boredom in its predictability is entirely trumped by the Jayson Werth deals of this world. You do sometimes get the team that has no business being in on the big name player actually going for the big name player, and acquiring the big name player. Other times, you have the medium name player being picked up by the team having no business being in on the big name player, but they pay the medium name player big name player dollars anyhow. That does tend to spice things up. By which, of course, I mean it ruins the market for the other 25 teams.
So the Rockies might get publicly interested in Aramis Ramirez. Then the Tigers will also throw their hat in the ring along with the Mariners and maybe even the Brewers or Twins, and the Rockies will shy away almost instantly. They'll continue pursuing Michael Cuddyer, and then the teams that miss out on Beltran and Ramirez will suddenly come a-calling, and the Rockies will hang their heads and move on. Then they'll give Wilson Betemit a 3-year deal worth around $15-18M total, and sit pleased as punch that they made a crafty deal. A crafty deal that doesn't really get them anywhere.
This isn't to say that Aramis Ramirez is the key to the team winning it all, either. Frankly, I don't see one single acquisition we could make that would suddenly return this club to it's 2009 ways. At least not this offseason. Now, multiple acquisitions, you say? That would make a lot more sense. I can't picture too many situations where the club would acquire a multi-year player that really works for the team going forward (you know, unless they get Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann or someone of that caliber), but buying a bunch of stopgaps and then maybe trading them away as our own pitching depth returns DOES fit.
Again, this is operating under my own surmising that the 2012 Rockies will be a growing team, much like the 2006 Rockies. If the Josh Foggs aren't available, maybe the Rockies could take a risk on someone like Justin Duchscherer or Rich Harden, shoot for the bounceback potential, and then ship them off at the deadline. Point is, you need to have someone to take the bullet for Pomeranz, White, and Chacin. Much as Jim Tracy's going to want to leave them in games for 125-140 pitches at a time, we need someone he can just abuse, and Hernandez would fit that bill. Or maybe Edwin Jackson.
Whatever happens, enjoy the postseason, and I'm gonna go ahead and throw my lot in with the Brewers this season.