The Rockies signed Miguel Batista to a minor league contract, and he topples Erick Threets or Manny Corpas as the teams' most notable free agent pitcher signing this winter. What's sad for a team with as many pitching needs as Colorado is that there's probably a good chance it stays that way.
Should he pitch in the majors for Colorado sometime this season, and given the way this team runs through pitchers it seems a distinct possibility, the Rockies would be Miguel Batista's 13th MLB franchise. Batista was at his best for the Diamondbacks about a decade or so ago, and was an unheralded but important role player in that team's success in the early 2000's, including their world championship 2001 season. Now, he's an old journeyman on his career's last legs and signing minor league contracts with non-roster invites to Spring Training, but he has still been somewhat useful in the last three seasons as bullpen filler.
It's a low risk signing by the Rockies ---almost any would be this winter, the worst that can happen can't really be that much worse than 2012--- but the depressing aspect to this would be that Batista may represent about as high a quality of pitcher as the club can hope to lure in on the free agent front right now without drastically overpaying. So this and any pitcher signing by the team are almost inevitably going to be low reward. The absolute best the team can hope for from Batista would be about 40-50 innings of decent mop-up relief, saving tired young starters some wear and tear. It's not a bad thing to have, but it's frustrating when the one area the team has the most obvious needs can only draw pitchers of this caliber.
Troy Renck addresses the WBC, and the glaringly weak USA squad that will be representing the country rather than the team the Americans could field if MLB clubs didn't have so much riding on the line with their best players. He also gives Larry Walker a chance to respond to his criticism about the slugger in his Hall of Fame ballot column. I do respect Renck a lot as a reporter for not dodging this or taking on the anonymous blogger code that some of us follow. Of course, I still disagree with his opinions of Walker's candidacy.
In other WBC news, Carlos Gonzalez tells a Venezuelan news source that he's ready and eager to represent his country in the tournament.
Hall of Famer and Cardinals great Stan Musial has passed away at 92. I'm for an inner-belt, outer-belt Hall of Fame, and while Walker would be in the dwarf planet, trans-Neptunian portion of my vision for Cooperstown, Stan the Man would most certainly qualify for the inner circle as one of the top dozen or so all time greats.