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Winter Meeting Preview

Here's a list of Rockies items we should see over the coming days:

  1. Brian Fuentes signed to a multi-year deal. Considering the money that's being bandied about for mediocre relievers (and mediocre starters, as Paul Byrd can attest) this year, consider this a good thing.
  2. Larry Bigbie traded. Where to is up in the air, but the Rockies have three left handed batting outfielders and Bigbie seems the odd man out because a) he is a player many teams have been interested in from his Baltimore days, and b) due to service time, he's more expensive than either Jorge Piedra or Brad Hawpe. Hawpe should be the best power hitter of the three given his history, while the other two bring better defense. Given that there's not a whole lot else separating them, you can see how the Rox came to their decision to go this way.
  3. A catcher acquired. O'Dowd wisely hasn't gotten too involved in the early player movement of this offseason, instead waiting for the market to come back to earth. Chances are it will, and let's hope the team will end up with a couple of bargains. Early on, sellers and agents rule the market, but as we creep to the non-tender deadline later in the month and then beyond, the fulcrum of power swings to the buyers and GM's. The benefits of this approach are in the bottom line, but at a cost of the premium talent available.
Should the Rockies have been more aggressive this offseason in going after players to fill their needs? Take a look at this article from the Tacoma News Tribune. It brings up several interesting points, not the least of which is that the Mariners were rebuffed in their attempts to pry away Aaron Cook or JJ. That's what I originally read it for, but this paragraph also stood out:
Even the modest spenders are benefiting from three streams of new or enhanced revenue: a $650 million broadcast deal with XM Satellite Radio, $10.5 million per team from and perhaps as much as $11 million a team pending the sale of the Washington Nationals.

If it's true that the reason spending is way up this offseason is in fact the increased revenue stream from these sources, then that means that while some teams are spending the cash as soon as it comes in, like the Mets -who along with the Red Sox and Yankees also are benefitting from the revenue of their own cable network- others, including our Rockies, are socking away the dough.

Why is this good? Last year the Rockies were fourteen wins off of a .500 pace, even if they were somehow able to come up with the money to pick up the best available free agents at their positions of greatest need: outfielder Brian Giles, catcher Ramon Hernandez and starter AJ Burnett, I could see the team still struggling just to reach that mediocre barrier. The core of the team just isn't quite mature enough to make that step worthwhile for competitive purposes. What's more, the contracts would then hamstring the team in the same fashion as the four big deals handed out to Denny Neagle, Mike Hampton, Larry Walker and Todd Helton earlier this decade. No, for this year at least, I'm okay with this measured approach. Focus on what we have, let it rise naturally, and then strike quickly when we're ready. I have a hunch that won't be very far into the future, but for now waiting is the correct watchword.