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Thursday Rockpile: Rockies sign Jay Payton; Taking a look at Eric Gagne

Huh, interesting. While doing my due diligence this morning, I realized that I think I may have forgotten that Jay Payton led the league in the "GDP" category while playing for the Rockies in 2003.

Wow, 2003. 74-88, 26 and a half games behind the Giants. The second time our co-1993 expansion team from Florida won the World Series while our team was just starting Dan O'Dowd's massive franchise rebuild, with the team's promising first round draft pick, one 18 year old Ian Stewart, suggesting said rebuild might take awhile.

So Rockies fans, your patience has paid off, because seven years later here in 2010, the team has re-signed Jay Payton.  It's also signed a guy who tied for sixth in the NL in double plays grounded into that season in Paul LoDuca. The Rockies are taking a look at the 2003 NL Cy Young winner as well. This guy, who also played for the Rockies that year and came in fourth in the NL in GIDP's, also says he's available. I mean, while we're building the monument to 2003, might as well make it as complete as possible.

I'm mostly kidding here, if the necessary events occur that make it so any of these players wind up on the Rockies this season (all are looking at minor league contracts and no real threat to incumbents) we'll probably be at least a little thankful we have them rather than the next level of quality down, but you have to wonder if some sort of nostalgia for yesteryear is driving these decisions as much as sound baseball scouting. It seems almost certain that the team is signing these players based more on what they were rather than what they are, and I think if an organization does too much of that it can fall behind competition that's blind to nostalgia.

So I'm not concerned at all that these deals reflect a lack of confidence by management in current Rockies players, that's rubbish. What they do reflect and what does concern me is that there may be a lack of scouting scope in the organization that's preventing it from looking beyond players familiar to team leadership whether they played for Jim Tracy's Dodgers teams of that period or the Rockies themselves.

That said, there are signs Rockies scouts are still pounding the pavement, at least at the lower levels. Former San Jose St. catcher Anthony Aguilera has signed a minor league deal with the club and will be joining fellow Spartan, Trevor Gibson in the Rockies system and will report to extended Spring Training in Tucson. Gibson pitched pretty well out of the bullpen for Casper in 2009, and we wish Aguilera success as well.