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Monday Morning Rockpile:

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I'm going to keep this short in the hope that I'll be able to write more in a little bit, but obviously we want some sort of open thread for the first day of the GM meetings. Which, by the way, are typically kind of lackluster when it comes to actual news. Sure, you get pics of the guys -all guys still- bowling in Hawaiian shirts and you wonder what kind of drinking games they play, but this is sort of the get to know each other mixer before all the real stuff goes down. The really stupid drinking games happen at the Winter meetings.

At any rate, this is usually where GM's start to get a sense of what they can accomplish via the trade market as well as a rudiment understanding of what the opposition is up to. Thus far for the NL West, the rudiments seem to be as follows:

Arizona- Looking for some bargains for their rotation. Apparently, given the club's reaction to Curt Schilling's free agency, $13 million is out of the team's price range, which means they are probably also out of the running for John Garland's services at $12 million in 2008. There's some positive news in this for us, as the Rockies appear to be in slightly better shape financially. Given Arizona's young talent, we might need for this trend to continue in order to keep up.

Los Angeles- The Dodgers seem like a prime contender to sign Alex Rodriguez, which is a scary thought to consider, as it would give them a very potent lineup and allow them to trade Andy LaRoche to any number of places for more rotation help. I'm hoping Ned Colletti messes this up somehow, but at the moment, it looks like this could be trouble.

San Diego- Kevin Towers seems keen on prying Coco Crisp from the Red Sox to replace Mike Cameron in center field, and I'm thinking they are probably an early favorite to land Schilling as PETCO's a really attractive draw for free agent pitchers. Fixing the holes that have opened up in their offense will require more work than repairing the rotation.

San Francisco- Mostly irrelevant, as they have too many areas requiring help to be able to contend in the next couple of seasons. However, Tracy Ringolsby has mentioned in a couple of places that they are open to possibly trading Tim Lincecum. This is an interesting play by Sabean, as Lincecum is an extremely high reward, fairly high risk type of player. He'll put up Cy Young worthy numbers but a serious arm injury would be devastating to his career. Brian's trying to get more certainty by moving him to fill multiple holes.

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That last link also went into detail of Dan O'Dowd's priorities, but this paragraph disturbs me more than any others:

* Infield. 1B Todd Helton, 3B Garrett Atkins and SS Troy Tulowitzki are set. 2B Kazuo Matsui will be offered a contract, but the Rockies also have internal options with Jamey Carroll, Clint Barmes, Omar Quintanilla and Jayson Nix. They figure into a utility role, too.

First of all, note the absence of Ian Stewart. Apparently that little experiment met its expected result.

Second, let's say you were going over the books from your multinational megacorp and you saw one of your businesses doing really well, adding about $10 billion to your bottom line each year, easily beating all the competition in the sector, which typically came in around $6 billion of profit for those schmucks. Fantastic, you're ahead. But let's say another business of yours lost $4 billion a year, while your peers were putting up just as much in profits. Suddenly you don't look so hot, as you're total of $6 billion in profit over the two companies is dwarfed by your competitors' $10 billion.

Adding an offensive sinkhole to the everyday lineup (as Carroll, Barmes and Quintanilla almost certainly would be) not only kills you in one slot, but it negates what advantages you might have in other places. This would ruin us in 2008, and I can't stress enough how worried this possibility makes me.