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Wednesday Morning Rockpile: Breaking down the NRI's

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Besides the Scott Posednik and Victor Zambrano invites that are getting the most press, there are a couple of other intriguing things to watch in major league camp this Spring, rather than breaking it down by position, I think it's more helpful to put the players in general categories:

Prospects getting acclimated with the big league team:

Chris Nelson
Dexter Fowler
Michael McKenry
Brandon Hynick
Greg Reynolds
Casey Weathers

These guys have almost no chance of breaking camp with the Rockies this year, but are important to our future plans, some as soon as later this summer.

Extra Catchers:

Michael Rose
Neil Wilson

Wilson's borderline with the category above, he could be a backup C sometime in our future, but right now he's primarily in camp to give our pitchers a target to throw to.

Emergency Filler:

Matt Kata
Christian Colonel
Sean Barker
Joe Gaetti

Given their competition, these four are on the outside looking in when it comes to bench roles with the team. Anything can happen, I suppose, but it seems likely to me that it would require multiple injuries for these guys to get a real shot at cracking the twenty-five man roster.

Bullpen Possibilities, in order of likelihood according to me:

Darren Clarke
Victor Zambrano
Alberto Arias
Zach McClellan
John Koronko
Micah Bowie
Sean Thompson
Chris George

The bullpen's a different matter, as it's more difficult to rule out anybody not knowing what our weaknesses will be. There's going to be an uphill climb regardless, but given the nature of the pitching profession I'd say pretty much all of these guys have a better chance of cracking our roster come April than those in the categories above.

Serious positional contenders for roster spots:

Marcus Giles
Scott Podsednik

Giles has an okay shot at gaining the second base job, Podsednik a fairly decent one at being the last guy on our bench. I'm not enamored with either, and will downgrade our chances of returning to the playoffs considerably if Giles is the best we can do at second, and wince at least a little bit with Pods, but I don't think he'll be quite as damaging if we limit his PA's better than we did those of Finley last year. That said, I'd still much rather have the more potent bat of Seth Smith on the bench and take the defensive hit when Willy's unavailable.

Josh Towers isn't an NRI, but isn't necessarily guaranteed a roster spot either. Troy Renck's articles regarding Josh this off season have been very curious to me. When details of Towers' contract emerged, which included an opt out if he wasn't on the forty man roster by the end of this month, the Post made headlines about how $400,000 was guaranteed to Josh. It's a healthy chunk of change to be sure, but it's not so big that it's impossible to write off, even for a smaller payroll team if Josh doesn't perform. Renck's at it again here, though, and I don't know if he's lobbying for Towers to make the team, if he's saying he doesn't believe Bob Apodaca or the Rockies brass who say Josh still has to earn a spot over Morales, Redman, Wells and possibly Hirsh -not including Zambrano- or what the deal is exactly. Contract and minor league option status has to play a part in the decision the Rockies make, certainly, but the team knows who's better for their continued success in the long haul. If Morales and Hirsh are ready to contribute, I don't see the decision makers holding them back.

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Russell Martin and the Dodgers aren't talking about a long term deal after overtures by the club were rebuffed. Obviously it's better for us if acrimony between the catcher and the team come about, but I don't see that happening.