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Sunday Rockpile: Rockies and De La Rosa talking about deal

The Yankees continue to send a clear message that the Minnesota model will only take a team so far.

There are indications that the Rockies are already using a window of exclusivity and negotiating with Jorge De La Rosa on a new contract according to the Denver Post. Re-signing De La Rosa has been targeted as a priority for the team, but with a lackluster free agent market, this might not get resolved before JDLR hits the broader market.

Since it's a slow day for Rockies news, I thought I'd add a little commentary to the link Bryan Kilpatrick gave in yesterday's Rockpile about the second base picture. The combined offensive effort for the Rockies 2010 second base performers was the worst in franchise history (according to both OPS+ and wOBA), which on the bright side leaves a low bar to cross for whomever emerges as the 2011 opening day starter. The downside is that outside of a somewhat fluky 2006, the Rockies haven't had an above average offensive second baseman since 2001.

Jonathan Herrera won't end that streak, and Eric Young Jr. only has a small chance to. Chris Nelson might, if given enough opportunity. The position was so bad last season and deep enough within the system that the Rockies will likely gain a win or more just by regressing back toward average. I think what will happen is that either Young or Herrera will get the job out of Spring Training and have all of April and May to prove they are worthy of keeping it. Nelson will become a serious factor in early June, if he's been playing well in Colorado Springs and neither Young nor Herrera are impressing in Denver, it becomes his position to lose.

If the Rockies ever were to dip their toes into the Japanese posting market, which I doubt they would under this front office due to the added costs and risks involved, Hisashi Iwakuma would be the type of player I would think they would be intrigued by. The right-hander is apparently a groundball specialist with a slider and forkball and a passable fastball. Add in the slow pace, and he sounds like a starting version of Rafael Betancourt.

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