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Friday Morning Rockpile:

We go to the World Series while former Rockies pitchers Jason Jennings and Shawn Chacon are mired with teams at the bottom of the NL Central. Is it any surprise they want back in? J.J. might actually be pretty decent buy low play, and we can now fit him in the middle or bottom of the rotation rather than the top, but if Chacon wants back in a starting role, he's probably best off looking elsewhere. Of course, with both these guys, fences have to be mended from words exchanged at their departures either by them (Chac' mostly) or by our owners (J.J.) and I don't see either return as likely at this point.

More free agency filings, including Kaz-mat, but what's most troubling to me about this Tracy Ringolsby article is the last paragraph:

The Rockies focus is efforts to re-sign Matsui, Torrealba and Herges, and also have interest in bringing back Hawkins, Redman, Fogg and Dessens but will not get in a bidding war for any of the free agents.

Okay, I know Redman actually helped quite a bit in 2007, and I guess Dessens pitched a few innings when we had nobody else to pitch them, but trusting them to do the yeoman's work again seems a scary proposition. If this means we bring them back in 2008 on exactly the same terms as we had them in 2007 (minor league contracts, stash them at AAA in case of an emergency) than I guess it's alright, but otherwise we'd be wasting roster slots.

The free agent landscape is starting to come into focus, and because it's kind of bleak, it's looking like trades should play a more important role this winter. For instance, Joel Zumaya's injury in Detroit has suddenly made relievers even more valuable, and they were already pretty scarce to begin with. The ideal situation for the Rockies has three things happening early next season:

  1. The late relief market stays tight into next July.
  2. Brian Fuentes has a strong April through June.
  3. Darren Clarke, Juan Morillo or another reliever or two step up and also look dominant through June.
The club sees too much risk in dealing Fuentes right now, but when teams are looking desperate for help is the time to do it. We just need a somebody or two to live up to their promise to erase the fear.

John Dewan's Fielding Bible Awards named Tulo the best shortstop in MLB last season, this is actually a pretty prestigious deal, and I give these a whole lot more credence than the Gold Gloves. Tulo lost out to Ryan Braun on Baseball Prospectus' NL rookie award in their annual Internet Baseball Awards polling, but Matt Holliday picked up the MVP. Holliday's win probably has some stat heads in a tizzy, but the fact is there really wasn't anybody with a clear separation from the pack of contenders like you had in the AL this season, and at that point personal biases and voters' preferences to vote for guys on playoff teams takes over.

I'll have the Pebble Report review of our catching situation a little later today.