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Saturday Morning Rockpile:

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Congratulations to Matt and Leslee Holliday and newborn son, Ethan. After I totally dis on his defense, they go and have a baby two weeks early just to make me feel bad for saying anything. I swear I'll keep my thoughts to myself next time. Well, at least until he blows a play in the field :).

Anyway, the two primary and one secondary position battles are starting to heat up, according to Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News. Of course we know the long term answers, but the team doesn't want to rush them short term if they're unready. Clint Hurdle summed it up this way:

"We just need to see 'Tulo' play more games, and see him find a comfort zone at the plate," Hurdle said. "With Iannetta, there are receiving things we need him to improve upon. We've had a look at both of them."

Thomas Harding at the official site gives an update on Oscar Rivera, with Hurdle praising the pitcher's maturity among other notes. Harding helps fill in what the Rockies' intention with Oscar is:

If he performs well this spring, Rivera is more likely to be sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs after he is added to the 40-man roster, but he would be a candidate for promotion to the Majors during the season.

It has seemed unlikely since the addition of Rodrigo Lopez that Rivera would force his way into the starting five, but knowing how our starters faded down the stretch last season, keeping him around the Springs as an option to help rest some arms later in the season seems like a very good idea. The same is probably true for Ubaldo Jimenez, but obviously from my opening day roster projection, I'm hoping U-ball's skills carry him into the rotation ahead of schedule.

Speaking of our opening day rotation, if both Rodrigo and Byung-Hyun Kim make it in, then it seems likely to me that this season the Rockies will surpass the total Win Shares given by Larry Walker to the Cardinals (18.2) with players received in return. Kim was picked up from the Red Sox in exchange for one prospect we received, Chris Narveson (and technically Charles Johnson, but that was more to dispatch his contract as he was released by the Sox that same day) and Lopez was acquired this offseason for the second pimary prospect in the Walker deal, Jason Burch, as well as Jim Miller. So far, BK has given the team a net of 10.4 WS in two seasons, so we're about eight away (Narveson has added .4 WS to the outgoing side). Of course, the point is moot until Dexter Fowler(signed with the $$$ saved), or Lopez or Kim or whoever we wind up trading them for figure out a way to take us to the playoffs, but at the time of the deal, it was hard to fathom the Rockies' return being at all positive until Fowler arrived.

Jim Callis at Baseball America has made an all-prospect team (subscribers only) of National League players left off of their respective teams' Top 10 lists. In a testament to our system's depth, three Rockies make the list. First baseman Joe Koshansky, shortstop Jonathan Herrera and right-fielder Seth Smith shouldn't be ignored despite not being top ten in the system. As proof, Callis also mentions that Garrett Atkins is among this particular lists' notable alumni in past seasons.

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Update [2007-2-24 15:29:22 by Russ]: Thomas Harding has a piece on Greg Reynolds. He'll pitch in an intrasquad game on March 2 and then see his first action in a regular exhibition game shortly thereafter. It also appears that Reynolds will be Tulsa's Opening Day starter provided the ~0% chance of making the team doesn't happen.