The Colorado Rockies will play their first Cactus League game of 2013 one week from today, against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. That game will perhaps begin a large process of elimination for the Rockies and manager Walt Weiss, who have a glutton of infielders and/or potential-impact guys with no real position attached to them.
Eric Young Jr. arguably tops that list, and MLB.com's Thomas Harding talked with Weiss about the team's plans for the 27-year-old speedster:
Weiss sees Young as potential 'super-utility guy' | Rockies.com: News
EYJ did not play a single inning in the infield in 2012, but Walt Weiss plans to have Young see some reps there in spring training, with the ultimate goal of making him a super-utility player.
I have said multiple times that I believe Young deserves a look at an almost-everyday job. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a spot on the diamond for him for that situation to become a reality; the Rockies seem dead-set on leaving Carlos Gonzalez in left field, which is the one place in the outfield where Young would be most useful. The team also faces the conundrum of finding playing time for Tyler Colvin, who told Harding that he is eager to build on his solid 2012 season.
Some combination of Colvin, Michael Cuddyer and Jordan Pacheco will spell Todd Helton at first base often, which could open up a spot for playing time in the outfield for Young. Another scenario is if Josh Rutledge regresses at the plate in his sophomore campaign, Young could see time at second base. Maybe that's ultimately what Weiss is preparing for.
Pacheco is another one of those players who can be a difference-maker with his bat (mostly because of his, in my opinion, 80-grade contact skills), but has no place to go on defense. Pacheco is reportedly impressing the Rockies' brass early in camp with his work behind the plate, meaning he could be in the mix for significant time at catcher along with another all-bat, no-glove guy (at least at this point) in Wilin Rosario, as well as a couple of old stalwarts.
So, it's clear the Rockies have their work cut out for them this spring. Finding a place for all of these guys isn't going to be an easy task, but showcasing these players may open up the possibility for some trades if Dan O'Dowd and company are willing to pull the trigger.
Let's look at the list of potential non-Troy Tulowitzki or Helton infielders and catchers who have a legitimate argument for a big-league job:
The Rockies will likely carry 12 pitchers, meaning that once Tulo, Helton, Cuddyer, Colvin, CarGo and Dexter Fowler -- all of whom are obviously locks for the 25-man roster -- are taken out of the equation, there are only seven spots available for these ten guys. That number obviously goes down if the Rockies open the season with 13 pitchers.
Who do you think are the odd men out?