Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row
Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson both received honorary degrees from Howard University in 1957 for their work in Civil Rights.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, I want to take a moment to thank those who have come before us and risked their lives standing up to injustice. While I don't share a common ancestry with Dr. King, he represents the trials and struggles of all great men who have fought to create a better world. Dexter Fowler recently tweeted this message about Dr. King:
Happy Birthday to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks for teaching us that 'dreams' can come true!— Dexter Fowler (@DFowler24) January 15, 2013
There's no easy way to transition from MLK to the Rockies signing of Miguel Batista over the weekend, so I'll start with the good news. Batista is younger than Jamie Moyer, has good relations with Miss America contestants and has maintained his fastball velocity over the years. His fastball averaged 91.7 mph in 2012, up from his average of 91.2 in 2003. Unfortunately his walks have also climbed recently, a side-product of locating only 40% of his pitches within the strike-zone, that number is down from his glory year of 53% in 2003. His reluctance to attack the zone, even though his speed is still there, indicates a loss of movement on his pitches and an aversion to getting pitches hammered. In 2012 Batista posted a 4.61 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and 36/33 K/BB ratio in 35 appearances for the Mets and Braves.
The Rockies also signed Chris Volstad over the weekend to a minor league contract worth $1.5 million. Volstad has shown workhorse qualities, posting 30+ starts in each of his past three seasons, between the majors and Triple-A. In five big league seasons Volstad has a 4.87 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and a 5.9 K/BB rate. According to Troy Renck, the Rockies are still pursuing other battle-scarred pitchers including Derek Lowe and Carl Povano.
Fans have been critical of the Rockies thriftiness this winter and perhaps they have a right to be trenchant. The Volstad signing aside, Colorado's front office has shown an aversion to spending free agent money in this offseason's market. ESPN's Free Agent Tracker shows Colorado ranks 29th out of 30 teams with only $1.5 million spent on Free Agents this hot stove season. The last time Colorado was this reluctant to entice free agents was after the 2008 season, when a sparse $2.5 million was spent. That offseason worked out well for the team, as prospects from within the organization blossomed, leading the team to a playoff appearance in 2009. With that in mind I would preach patience with the team this winter, because Colorado hasn't always been this cheap, ranking 10th out of 30 teams in Free Agent spending after the 2011 season and 11th after the 2010 season.
Pioneer League MVP makes return to GJ For Winter Caravan - Lead by David Dahl, the Winter Caravan travels throughout the Western Slope beginning January 24th in Montrose and concludes in Grand Junction on the 26th.
Mike Newman's Fangraphs Chat - Formerly known as Scouting the SAL, Newman has seen a number of Rockies prospects in Asheville uniforms. In this session, Mike answers questions about Nolan Arenado, where he takes a bullish stance on the Rockies prospect.
LanceStrong night - The Minor League Lake County Captains will hold a Lance Armstrong night where they will hold promotions including a spandex fashion show and other Lance-filled activities, with proceeds being donated to the Livestrong charity.
Manti Te'o Night - The San Jose Giants will hold a promotion allowing individuals and their imaginary significant others to compete and win prizes.