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Monday Morning links post

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Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News gives a detailed rundown of what's at stake for whom in Spring Training this year for the Rockies. Among the notes is the reiteration that as promising as Iannetta and Tulo are, they have to earn their jobs, and the same goes with Jason Hirsh.

It sounds from this article as if the rotation will have two simultaneous battles going on: one fight for the fourth spot between Josh Fogg and Byung Hyun Kim (the winner could be the one we'd get the least in trade for, not necessarily the best pitcher) and then a second battle for the last spot between Hirsh, Buchholz, Jimenez and Rivera. If neither Kim nor Fogg look impressive in Tucson, could the Rockies ship both out and go with two rookies, or one rookie and a sophomore if Buchholz earns a spot? At least to start the season, it seems like an outside possibility. The Rockies have Brian Lawrence coming back from the DL, likely in May, and they could choose to have a younger gun hold his place for a month before sliding them back to AAA or to the pen.

The bullpen could be as interesting to watch this Spring as there's bound to be some disappointment and it looks like we've got some risk of losing young talent. Ringolsby's article gives four players as "set": Fuentes, Hawkins, Affeldt and Martin, and Corpas and Ramirez as likely to be included. If we're going with just twelve pitchers to start the season, then it would seem to me that Buchholz would be the last in, as from what I understand, he's out of options. The other possibility would be to option Corpas or Ramirez down to keep Taylor, and then the Rockies could choose between Danny Graves and the rest of the "Taking a Shot" crew for the final slot.

Of course we can't predict injuries in camp, so the team's decisions on who to keep could be made easier.

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Besides his article outlining what's at stake for the players, Ringolsby also includes a separate piece detailing what's at stake for Clint Hurdle.

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Troy Renck at the Denver Post has more on the pitching conundrum, including an amusing quote from Clint Hurdle on the state of our NL West rivals' pitching staffs:

"There was a point in time this winter when I went to my backyard and went, 'Aaaaggghhh!!"' admitted Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "And then I went back inside and I was good. Those guys coming here just made our challenge more intriguing."
Renck still implies that BK's the likely one to be traded, and not Fogg, which leaves me wondering if he has some inside info on that. Over the past two seasons, Kim's total VORP in the major leagues has been 18.2, while Fogg's has been 3.7, and the PECOTA projection for this season has Kim up 21.6 to 12.0. ZiPS projects BK's ERA to be more than a run lower than Fogg's (4.44 to 5.49) although it has Josh throwing seventeen more innings. I am really dreading a mistake being made here if Renck is right.

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Baseball Musings' David Pinto has a report from Dan Fox (of Dan Agonistes and Baseball Prospectus fame) about a SABR meeting in Denver with Walter Sylvester aka the Rockies humidor guy.) Walter seems to feel that the humidor shouldn't be used because of the psychological advantage the altitude in Denver gave the team. If Jeff Cirillo's any example, apparently the humidor itself is also giving the Rockies a psychological advantage, so I guess it's a win-win either way.

Up in the Rockies continues to preview the 2007 Rockies, with profiles of Kaz and Franchise.