Patrick Saunders and Troy Renck's latest dispatch from the winter meetings says talks about JJ have cooled for now which is pretty much the word we've been getting elsewhere, until a couple more of the second tier FA starters ink deals. In the meantime, center field once more takes center stage, so to speak, as Dan O'Dowd says that at the moment some guy named Cory Sullivan is pencilled in as the team's starter. Sounds familiar for some reason, didn't he play with us once before?
O'Dowd finally gives me the assurances I've been looking for in regards to a couple of other names that have been bandied about:
Darin Erstad, whom the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are pursuing, is the most viable free-agent option, barring a trade. But he's coming off ankle surgery and the Rockies want to make sure he's healthy before making a move. O'Dowd also ruled out Steve Finley, 41, unless the Rockies traded Sullivan.
Whew. If Erstad is healthy enough to play out in center, I actually have no problem with that as his bat would be an upgrade over Cory's, but I have serious, gi-normous doubts that a guy coming off major ankle surgery who hasn't played the position in half a decade qualifies.
The caveat of a possible trade is interesting as I, along with a couple of others, have wondered why we haven't heard Sullivan or Barmes mentioned in any of these talks. I think some teams are overlooking them right now as they weren't given a lot of hype coming up through the system. So while Sullivan has outperformed Jeremy Reed by a fair stretch in the majors, Reed's name is still given more play in trade rumors due to his as of yet unutilized albeit much scrutinized toolbox.
Update [2006-12-6 7:31:26 by Rox Girl]: Ringolsby chimes in with the same info in what was apparently a briefing for reporters. Tracy goes into a little more detail on what some of the "creative" options are, including Jeff Baker or Brad Hawpe at times to get all three slugging outfielders into the lineup at once, as well as a possibility that Clint Barmes could move back there once the Rockies "answer the shortstop question," noting that Barmes has to prove that he's better offensively than Cory Sullivan as well if they were to consider that.
The article also states that the Rockies are moving closer to re-signing Tom Martin, and that Mike DeJean might be moving on to Milwaukee despite the Rox interest in having him come back as well.