As Greg mentioned in the second installment of his "Previewing the offseason" series last week, the Rockies 40 man roster is about to get trimmed to 32 players. Todd Helton, Yorvit Torrealba, Jeff Francis and Roy Oswalt will depart via MLB free agency (with Helton obviously electing retirement) and Rafael Betancourt's 2014 option will be declined following the World Series leaving Colorado a much younger team.
How much younger? Well, consider this. Once Todd Helton and Yorvit Torrealba are off the roster, Troy Tulowitzki, who just celebrated his 29th birthday earlier this month, will become the second oldest position player on the team. By early November, Michael Cuddyer, Matt Belisle (who I include here because he is likely to be back with the club even if his option is declined), Jorge De La Rosa, and Wilton Lopez will be the only Rockies left born before 1984 - Or to put it another way, Pat Sajak and Vanna White have hosted Wheel of Fortune longer than all but four Rockies have lived.
All of this is a good thing. In 2013, the Rockies had 11 players who were at least 30 years old before the season reached its midpoint, and as you might have been able to deduce from the paragraph above, eight of them are now either off the roster, or about to be off the roster. Here's what those players did in 2013 according to rWAR.
Manny Corpas: 0.3
Rafael Betancourt: 0.2
Logan Kensing: 0.0
Jon Garland: -0.1
Todd Helton: -0.4
Yorvit Torrealba: -0.5
Jeff Francis: -0.7
Roy Oswalt: -1.0
Corpas could be back next season as he's mentioned that he wants to return, but getting rid of the rest of this group instantly makes the Rockies a better team as they were worth a combined -2.5 rWAR last season.
The team should get a bit older as the off season progresses, but there's signals all over the place that this team is trending younger overall. Here's the 15 players on the Rockies roster still under the age of 26.
Rex Brothers (25)
Jhoulys Chacin (25)
DJ LeMahieu (25)
Tim Wheeler (25)
Ryan Wheeler (25)
Drew Pomeranz (24)
Josh Rutledge (24)
Wilin Rosario (24)
Corey Dickerson (24)
Charlie Culberson (24)
Chad Bettis (24)
Tyler Chatwood (23)
Nolan Arenado (22)
Rafael Ortega (22)
Cristhian Adames (22)
That's a ton of raw talent that collectively should get better as a group once they get more games under their belt, and this of course doesn't even include guys like Kyle Parker who are not currently on the 40 man roster but are likely to crack the majors at some point next season.
These are the guys the Rockies are betting on to get better, and honestly, it's a safer bet than most of the free agents out there. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be looking to improve via that route as well as the trade market, but if a significant improvement in the win column is around the corner, much of that improvement is going to have to come from this group (especially the guys under 25).
This also falls in line with the Rockies overall plan for the future. As this Bloomberg article from yesterday illustrates, the Rockies are 27th in total team value ahead of only the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays - And while the Rockies will get more money to play with over the next couple of seasons with national TV money sweetening the pot for everybody as well as a new local TV contract adding additional revenue once the current deal expires at the end of the 2014 season, the club is probably best served using a large portion of that money to lock up the best talent from this wave of young players they have currently heading towards their most productive years on the diamond.
Speaking of youth, Thomas Harding explains how Rockies scout teams help develop high school players.
Jon Lester shut down the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series last night as Boston's lefty struck out eight red birds in 7.2 scoreless innings, but not all of the baseball world believes he did it without help.
More from Purple Row:
- Wednesday Rockpile: Free agency targets for the Rockies - position players
- 2013 Colorado Rockies Player Reviews: Jonathan Herrera
- 2013 Colorado Rockies Player Reviews: Manny Corpas
- Arizona Fall League update: Tim Wheeler, Kyle Parker combine for 5 RBI in loss
- 2013 Colorado Rockies Player Reviews: Rafael Betancourt