Thursday Rockpile: Moves, moves, and more moves

USA TODAY Sports

Silly me, I wrote last week that the roster was pretty firmed up. The Rockies proved me wrong with multiple moves that have created, in my opinion, an improved roster.

The Rockies have continued their offseason of moves this week, sending away Josh Outman and Johnny Herrera while getting Franklin Morales, Chris Martin, and Drew Stubbs in return. Putting the two trades together, the Rockies received a left handed reliever, a minor league reliever and a starting caliber outfielder for a left handed reliever and a back-up infielder.

Here is a list of the additions/subtractions the Rockies have had thus far in the off-season(to the best of my knowledge):

Add

- Brett Anderson (SP)

- Jordan Lyles (SP)

- LaTroy Hawkins (RP)

- Franklin Morales (RP)

- Boone Logan (RP)

- Tommy Kahnle (RP)

- Justin Morneau (1B)

- Drew Stubbs (OF)

- Brandon Barnes (OF)

Subtract

- Jeff Francis(SP)

- Roy Oswalt (SP)

- Drew Pomeranz (SP)

- Chris Jensen (SP-)

- Josh Outman (RP)

- Rafael Betancourt (RP)

- Mitchell Boggs (RP)

- Todd Helton (1B)

- Johnny Herrera (INF)

- Dexter Fowler (OF)

It may be dependent on Brett Anderson's health, but I think most people would agree that the Rockies have improved in starting pitching. The relief corps is more of a debate but I think it shows the possibility for improvement. Rafael Betancourt started last season as the Rockies closer but was beset by a series of injuries. While the club introduced Hawkins as their closer when he signed, I, for one, would be more comfortable with him as a 7th/8th inning guy. Morales and Outman have comparably decent numbers as relievers and mixed results as spot starters with Morales having a slight edge in career ERA+ of 103 compared to Outman's 94 and he is two years younger. Morales, however, is in his final year of arbitration while Outman is in his first so he will be slightly more expensive.

The far more controversial side of the offseason has been the everyday players, more specifically how the Rockies will replace Dexter Fowler in the outfield and at the top of the order. It is difficult to find anyone happy with the return on the Dexter Fowler trade and I am not looking to rehash that discussion. What I will argue is that the Rockies have done a good job in replacing Fowler's production and defense now that the dust may be settling. The combination of Drew Stubbs and Charlie Blackmon should be comparable to the production expected from Dexter Fowler at considerably less cost. Consider these career stats and averages:

Career Averages Average OBP SLG HR/year SB/year

Drew Stubbs vs. Lt .274 .349 .448 6 5

C Blackmon vs Rt .280 .310 .405 3 4

Dex Fowler vs. Lt .295 .386 .427 2 4

Dex Fowler vs. Rt .258 .355 .422 6 13

One thing that is hidden by these splits is that Stubbs has better base stealing numbers than Fowler over his career, but most of these have been against right handed pitchers. Stubbs is not as good against righties, but he is serviceable and does not need to be a true platoon type. What the new roster does is give the Rockies another MLB right handed outfielder. If they carry five outfielders it gives them the ability to give Cargo rest to keep him healthier.

The final area to talk about is the infield, which is improved but now has less veteran depth. Whatever combination of Morneau/Cuddyer/Rosario is used at first base will be an improvement offensively from last year. What the Rockies are now missing is a veteran middle infielder to help out if Tulo or LeMahieu get hurt. This does open the door for Josh Rutledge to stay with the big league team and make an impact, hopefully he can take advantage of the opportunity.

The Rockies might still not be done. In my opinion they are lacking in the back-up catcher department and they may want a veteran back-up for the middle infield. Stay tuned for next week to see what might happen next.

Links ESPN article on Herrera trade.

ESPN article on Outman trade.

MLB.com article on the trades.

Off-Topic

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