According to Troy Renck and the Denver Post this morning, the Rockies are discussing contract extensions with four players, Garrett Atkins, Jamey Carroll, Jason Jennings and Brian Fuentes. I think the name on the list that might be most surprising to outside observers not coming from Colorado or Washington, would be Carroll's. He's also apparently the closest of the four to signing an extension.
Has Carroll in one season made himself a legit part of the "core" that we would want to extend that will bring us into contention year after year? I think he's definitely made a solid case. Defensively, he ranks as high or higher by most systems (like this one from David Pinto) than any other everyday second baseman. Offensively, he became a weapon at home in particular and was one of the most patient Rockies hitters anywhere. Even on the road his stats were skewed by an exceptionally weak performance against one team (the Dodgers) that makes up a good chunk of our away schedule. You take away his performance at Dodger Stadium and the rest of his road stats look solid. In fairness, this past 2006 season offensively was out of the blue compared to what he had accomplished in hs career with the Nationals, so we should head into next season with some skepticism of a repeat performance, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that he took a step forward with a new organization.
I'm of course avoiding the intangibles issue, in order to appear somewhat edu-ma-cated in front of all my internet friends, but Jamey Carroll oozes intangibility with every step, he has so much. He's just a fun player to watch, and he brings so much desire and energy to everything.., alright, I'll stop, but I'm firmly in the "Yeay" category when it comes to extending him.
Now, about this part:
120 games? I'm assuming some of those will be at short and some at third, but that's a fairly sizeable number nonetheless, and it means that barring a massively disappointing performance from Troy Tulowitzki this Spring, that Clint Barmes' days with the Rockies are definitely numbered, it seems quite likely that we will try to deal him by the end of March or the beginning of the season.
Next issue in the Renck piece of note is the status of the Jennings contract negotiations. That there hasn't been any progress doesn't come as a surprise, apparently the Rockies haven't upped their initial $16 million offer yet. O'Dowd says that the negotiating isn't over yet, and implies that Jennings' status might go unchanged into the start of the season. Two interpretations can be gleaned form this, in order of likelihood:
- The Rockies aren't going to offer JJ any more than what they have and intend to trade him. The O'Dowd statement was simply a way of implying the leverage that the Rockies have for the benefit of other GM's, they don't need to give him up right now if they don't get a decent package for him.
- The Rockies are going to wait and see if more money is on its way. Part of this depends on what kind of response they get from fans to start the season. If gate and season ticket revenues are up sufficiently, they might be able to draw more money for contracts. The other part depends on how much is spent pursuing other pieces of the puzzle this offseason. With a couple more prudent signings at catcher and center-field, they could have more to throw after JJ.
Speaking of catcher, apparently the Blue Jays deal with Rod Barajas has fallen through, and the Jays are now pursuing Greg Zaun. The purported Barajas deal was for quite a bit less than what I thought it would turn out to be, and now that he's once more on the market, we still might be able to sneak in and sign him to a bargain contract. Okay. You're right. I'll keep dreaming and keep my keyboard quiet next time.
One other big deal that won't be happening: Manny to the Dodgers. Apparently Theo asked Ned to give up too much good stuff. I'm relieved. Manny in Dodger Blue was a frightening proposition, and would have made LA a very difficult team to beat over the next two or three seasons. If the Padres can pull it off instead, they would become a tricky team in 2007, but they'd have to give up more frontline talent (Peavy) that would make it a little more palatable.