Beginning Saturday, the Rockies will be able to sign free agents in the hope of improving on their 64 win 2012. Not that they will, because this is the Rockies we're talking about. Thomas Harding thinks that the Rockies will be conservative in free agency this off-season, which is pretty hard to disagree with.
After all, the Rockies have just three of their own free agents to re-sign...and Jeff Francis is the best of them. Still, Francis is a fringe starter, Jason Giambi will hopefully not be playing for Colorado, and Jonathan Sanchez is going to be signed by the Giants on a minor league deal and win 25 games next season. Stupid Giants.
Financially, Colorado is getting $5.3 million in payments to players who didn't play for the Rockies last year off the books, plus the salaries of the three free agents. That money will help pay for arbitration raises to Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin, and Jhoulys Chacin. Other than that, I don't see a whole lot of money in the budget for someone new without a Michael Cuddyer trade. Not for a 64 win team, that is.
If you buy into the narrative that Colorado's hopes were derailed by injury, then you will probably like this off-season. Yes, having Troy Tulowitzki back for a full season will be helpful to the Rockies' cause, as will a healthy Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa. The improvement (fingers crossed!) of young players will be an asset as well. Even with all of those guys back though, it's hard to imagine Colorado as a winning team in 2013 as currently constituted.
No, Rockies fans, Colorado isn't headed toward contention in 2013 with the talent on hand barring major improvements from young players -- and looking at the talent on the free agent market, it's hard to see anything changing much on that end. That leaves a trade as the avenue to improve -- but there will be plenty of time this off-season to discuss all of that.
Here are a few good articles to ease you into Hot Stove Season:
- Jorge Aranguere's Hot Stove Preview outlines the major storylines around baseball
- Dave Cameron writes how the new CBA affects the Hot Stove process
- Jeff Sullivan goes in depth about qualifying offers to free agents
Rockies Manager Search Update
Per Troy Renck, the six manager candidates we have so far (Walt Weiss, Jason Giambi, Tom Runnells, Jerry Manuel, Pete Mackanin, and Matt Williams) are probably the only ones the Rockies will interview. In other words, no Dave Martinez for you, Rowbots. If I had to pick one at this point, I'd go with Weiss with the hope that he'd improve our fielding and base-running. I would expect a decision to come down by Friday on this one.
Congratulations to Carlos Gonzalez on his Gold Glove win. Not that he in any way was a great defensive left-fielder in 2012 or anything (rated negatively by every advanced defensive metric), but bully for him. It's good to see Rockies players win something. Also, Mike Trout didn't win? C'mon son!
Troy Renck writes that it will be very tough for Colorado to contend with the Giants in years to come. At this point, the Rockies should worry about competing with the Padres to get out of the cellar.
The Rockies are 75:1 long shots to win the World Series next year. Patrick Saunders looks at some other long shots in Colorado sports.
Kent Matthes is playing well in the Arizona Fall League. The 25 year-old outfielder just missed the Fall 2012 PuRPs List but is making the most of his opportunity for extra baseball this fall. In other AFL news, Tyler Chatwood is done for the year, citing fatigue and not an injury.
Beyond the Boxscore has a great interview with former farmhand and author Dirk Hayhurst, who will become a broadcaster with the Jays next year.