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Thursday Morning Rockpile:

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Yorvit Torrealba says he's capable of more than he showed in 2007. While I'm not holding my breath, that would be nice, as right now his value is probably barely worthy of being a starting MLB catcher, and that's with giving him lots of bonus points for blocking the plate and handling the young staff the way he has.

Also noted in that Tracy Ringolsby piece, Jeff Baker is certainly taking the competition for second seriously by dropping twenty pounds. Unlike Ian Stewart, Baker's move to the keystone makes a lot more sense to me. Baker was a shortstop in college at Clemson with Khalil Greene on the team, so his defensive agility has always been there. If he handles the pivot well and his bat shows up, he could be a potent force that's added to our lineup. It's been my contention that whoever emerges from this competition as our starter will add more to the club than most pundits seem to be expecting, but a lot of that is because expectations are so low to begin with. I want to see 3.5 WAR from the starter, and have that as a target. If we can do better than that, it will be a big step to returning  to the playoffs. If we do much worse, then we'll likely meet Xeifrank's sim projection.

Todd Helton has also lost weight according to Patrick Saunders and has seemingly given up on the idea of proving himself a power hitter anymore. I'm glad he's matured to this realization. He's definitely not the 40 HR Helton of yore, but the value that his OBP provides in lengthening games and adding run chances is huge. Let Matt and Brad and Garrett and even Tulo step up in the power categories, it's time for the the sage veteran to focus on what he does best.

One more Ringolsby note: the Rockies want to stay in Tucson for Spring Training, Tucson wants the Rockies to stay, you'd thing that the two sides would be able to come together at some point. Troy Renck also goes with the story, and adds notes about Chris Nelson, Jayson Nix, Aaron Cook (another player that lost weight) and Ramon Ramirez. Both Ringolsby and Renck note that Josh Fogg's contract with the Reds seems imminent.

Dan O'Dowd's former assistant Josh Byrnes got an eight year extension from the Diamondbacks to be their GM until 2015. He's made some decent trades to clear salary, but a lot of the team that went to the NLCS last season was inherited from the Garagiola regime. That's just a long commitment to me without a clear track record to say he's earned it yet, but D-backs fans seem to like the direction he's taking the team so I hope it works out for them.