Yesterday I alluded to the shaping offseason battle for center field. We do have a little more light on the subject thanks to Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News. In an article he quotes Clint Hurdle, who first diplomatically suggested that Choo Freeman wasn't ready to compete, but then made an interesting reference to Cory Sullivan in regards to playing winter ball:
In a thinly veiled reference to outfielder Cory Sullivan, Hurdle said, "When we suggest it and they don't do it, you don't hold it against them, but it sure doesn't help them."
Of the four outfielders I mentioned yesterday that are competing for that spot, three (Freeman, Salazar and Spilborghs) are now on their way to Mexico or elsewhere to get in some game preparation during the offseason. Sullivan's the only one who isn't, apparently, and worse he's not doing it after having it suggested by his coaches. The impression this has left on Hurdle could influence how many quality innnings he's able to play early on next Spring, which could give the others a chance to get an early leg up.
Right now I have to think that the odds are shaping up best for Salazar and Spilborghs, while Sullivan and Freeman have a bit ground to make up.
I'd also like to point out the tidbit in Troy Renck's notes column in the Post suggesting that the Rockies are interested in bringing Tom Martin back for 2007. While I've ragged on Martin frequently this year, the fact is that his overall performance hasn't been that terrible, and his attitude has been a bit more selfless than Ray King, who started griping about his option year just after the All-Star break. Looking at the left handed middle relievers who would be available and affordable during the offseason doesn't inspire much confidence that the Rockies would be able to do much better, and Justin Hampson hasn't proven himself a legitimate in-house option at this point.