Friday Rockpile: Why the Rockies Asking Price for Dexter Fowler is So High

Justin Edmonds

In an offseason in which center-fielders are the hot commodity, Fowler stacks up well.

Expect the Rockies to announce some contract agreements today. The Rockies have five arbitration eligible players - Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin, Jhoulys Chacin, Josh Outman and Jonathan Herrera - and today is the deadline to finalize contracts with players before they are dumped into the arbitration process. Colorado is historically averse to going through arbitration, so all five are likely to receive a one year contract agreement today.

Patrick Saunders has a good break-down of their expected salaries in his story today.

That will provide some additional clarity when the Winter Meetings commence this weekend. The Rockies won't shy away from being different, so Colorado will be the only MLB team without a scout present at the Winter Meetings. Bill Geivett will attend without Dan O'Dowd.

Colorado has pieces that will be of interest to teams there, led by Dexter Fowler. The Rockies are not looking to trade Fowler, but his presence in a crowded outfield has led to so much speculation, he is the fifth most searched player on Fangraphs, behind three players that either signed a contract or was traded yesterday, and Barry Bonds.

Center fielders are the hot ticket this offseason, with many players available and the Braves, Rays, Phillies and Nationals all looking for a center fielder. The Rockies have long been criticized under Dan O'Dowd for asking too high of a price for their youth in trades, though O'Dowd/Geivett would be wise to hold firm in this case.

2012 Age Avg OBP HR SB BRR wOBA wRC+ OPS+ Career wRC+
Player A 28 .246 .298 28 31 3.5 0.323 107 109 107
Player B 28 .283 .342 4 17 -1.1 0.325 105 105 105
Player C 29 .274 .348 5 44 11.7 0.326 104 99 92
Player D 26 .300 .389 13 12 2.2 0.375 123 117 104

These are the four hottest names among CF who could change teams this off-season. Player A signed a 5-year, $75.25 million deal Wednesday. Player C has let it be known he will be asking for more money than Player A. With two years remaining until free agency, Player B was traded yesterday for the price of the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 draft. Player D, with the clearly better offensive numbers in 2012, is Dexter Fowler.

Despite his ups and downs, Fowler stacks up well vs the CF pack offensively and on the basepaths (BRR). His age and improved year in 2012 suggests he also has the most room to improve, and he has an additional year of control over Player B. Yet due to Coors Field and defensive metrics that rate Fowler (and every Rockie OF ever) poorly, he is not typically mentioned in the same company as these three. Player C (Bourn) is a maginificent defensive CF, and now the Phillies may look at reacquiring him. Player B (Span) is a very solid defensive player and Player A (BJ Upton)is probably average. You be the judge of what Fowler would be in a non-Coors environment, then compare to the numbers above.

Should the chips fall as they appear, the Rays would look like the team left without a center fielder. If that's the case, we might start hearing this name more frequently.

Links

Rockies, Mariners to play exhibition game in S.L. | Deseret News - We heard rumblings of this last week, but it is now official. Salt Lake will get a spring training exhibition game next year. Former Rockies president Keli McGregor passed away in Salt Lake City two years ago while attempting to spread the Rockies brand into Utah. This will help that cause.

Pre-Free Agency Extensions and You, NL West - Gary Scott, an active community member at TrueBlueLA, penned this last week, tabbing Dexter Fowler as the Rockie one would most prefer to extend now to buy out free agency years. He adds an interesting suggestion though: extend Wilin Rosario for 7 years and $22million. It won't happen given the concerns over Rosario's defense and his eventual position on the field, but it certainly is intriguing.

Christian Friedrich healing up for Rockies rotation race | MLB.com: News - Friedrich went from prospect darling three years ago, to disappointment two years ago, to mostly written off one year ago. Then he dominated AAA and made two exceptional starts on the road for the Rockies. He suddenly became a legitimate piece. A back stress fracture and struggles that brought his season ERA over six have left him out of most conversations for 2013 again. He will be a wild card once again.

The Rockies almost drafted Evan Longoria - CBSSports.com Unnecessarily painful link, I know, but I include it because it quotes Jeff Aberle.

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