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Views from the Top Row - Thursday thread

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Merkin Valdez was apparently offered for JJ according to Ken Rosenthal (scroll all the way down) but if it was just Valdez it really isn't enough. Are the Rockies asking too much for a starter who has posted a winning record once in his three full seasons of work? I don't think so, even if Valdez could be an Armando Benitez type why would we give up a middle of the rotation starter like JJ who gives us 200 plus innings of decent work every year for a back end reliever who at best will give us seventy or so. It makes no sense so I applaud the Rockies for sticking to their guns with him.

In fact it looks like the Rockies might be done with their pre-deadline dealings (barring some GM going off the deep end and asking about Dustan Mohr) as too many teams are thinking that the Rockies are far more desperate to unload players than they actually are (you'll read this in their papers as "the rockies are asking too much").

Tonight the Rockies start a series in Pittsburgh and we're reminded of the as of yet incomplete Michael Restovich deal made earlier this season. We don't expect the PTBNL to be anybody special, but it would be nice to know who it is. Later I'll post a game thread as tonight's Francis/Duke matchup looks like a pretty good battle of promising rookies.

In the meantime, assuming that the trading frenzy for the Rockies has concluded, it would be interesting to take a glance at our positions and how recent happenings are affecting their shape for next year and beyond:

First Base: Todd Helton, no changes foreseeable here barring injury. Ryan Shealy hasn't been on any other team's wish list to the best of my knowledge.

Second Base: This one gets tricky. The Rockies don't seem to be shopping Aaron Miles around, but the acquisition of Omar Quintanilla is clearly to give him a chance at starting in the 2006 season. Apparently the Rox will hang onto Aaron for now and try to trade him in the offseason, or even more likely, go into next Spring with both just in case Q doesn't pan out. Given the early returns, it looks like Aaron's got until the middle of March at the latest to wear a Rockies uniform.

Shortstop: Unlike with Garrett Atkins or Matt Holliday, Clint Barmes was actually hitting well enough on the road (especially for a shortstop) to justify his presence everyday lineup before he went down. Luis Gonzalez is a fine backup and Tulo is still over a year away. We're okay here, just injured.

Third: As has been pointed out by me and other posters here at the Row, Atkins is a differnt animal away from Coors Field and should therefore be treated with some caution. I disagree however that his road stats are a closer measure to his true ability than his overall stats and the fact he is a rookie at the major league level makes me want to treat him with more patience. Jeff Baker's thumb injury might not be as serious as first thought after all and we could still have a battle at this position in Spring 2006 as well and for the remainder of this year we'll have to make due with Luis Gonzalez and Desi as backups. Ian Stewart won't be ready until 2007 it looks like but still has to be regarded as the long range solution here.

Catcher: JD Closser's huge homerun last night accentuates his offensive comeback from the miserable slum he was in to start the year. Maybe he's the anti-Paul Lo Duca and only plays well in the second half of the season. Anyway, if closser can tighten his D a bit more and continue to be an occasional offensive force, I see no problem in keeping him around for a while as he'll be cheap and effective at a premium position. Long term, I think we have to look at Ianetta as the answer for our number one catcher, but Closser could be a decent offensive, pinch-hitting back-up.

Left Field: Matt Holliday returns and the Rockies continue to be enthralled with him despite only so-so results in his career to date. He's another home-body and should he show more consistency in producing games like last night on the road I'll change my mind, but right now I see him as a platoon or home only fourth outfielder type. Who do the Rockies replace him with? I have no idea as we have nobody better at the moment available. We need to spill off some of our excess backups as they are creating a clog in the system here.

Center: With the Wilson deal, it's all Cory Sullivan for now as Jeff Salazar has failed to catch on fire in AAA and Choo Freeman is still down with injury. Sullivan's a rookie who at center could conceivably produce enough offense to be a starter on a good club, but not at the corners. This position is pretty packed in the system, but slow in its development.

Right: Brad Hawpe seems to have his position secure when he comes back, Eric Byrnes will provide support allaround and keep it warm in the interim I suppose. Hawpe's bat looks viable for the future, so at least we have that settled for now.