A pair of Rockies ought to be happy and proud of a pair of gold gloves, as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez took home the honors yesterday. Of course there will be shots fired about their worthiness according to the defensive metrics, but it doesn't really matter to me if the shots are deserved or not, as we should know by now that the key takeaway from the GG's are usually an acknowledgement of a player's charisma while in the field more than their prowess. These are the players that are seen by voters as the leaders and the engines of the (typically) contending teams, and the fact that Gonzalez won over Andres Torres and Jay Bruce shows that the voters (NL managers) are as keen on his panache as we are.
With an extra voter compared to the other two divisions, I would think that the NL Central would tend to get more awards than the East or West, and with six out of nine yesterday, that proved to be the case. I'm not saying that managers have divisional biases, just that they probably are more comfortable voting for players they've seen often, and with the unbalanced schedule, the result of this would benefit players within their own divisions.
The Oakland A's trade for the Royals David DeJesus yesterday may seem completely on the periphery of moves that might impact the Rockies off-season, but don't be surprised if the dominoes that fall from that deal reach the team. From the Royals' end, despite an interest and need for starting pitching, payroll restrictions were preventing them from being a serious threat for even second tier free agents. Losing DeJesus' $6 million in salary is going to give them some flexibility to pursue some of the same pitchers the Rockies are targeting, including Jorge De La Rosa.
As for the Athletics, the result might prove to have the opposite effect, lessening trade competition for bats such as Josh Willingham and Dan Uggla, even though Billy Beane suggests that he's not done adding offense.
That "lessening trade competition" link to a Ken Rosenthal report also indicates that the Cardinals may not be as close to a deal with Jake Westbrook as previously suggested. Westbrook, of course, is on the Rockies radar along with a number of pitchers this winter. The Rockies willingness to spend a generous amount on short term contracts might be more beneficial to them in luring bounceback candidates like Westbrook and Javier Vazquez than it would be in drawing in a player looking for long term stability like De La Rosa.
Rosenthal also talked about Japanese infielder Tsuyoki Nishioka, who a source from curiously named every NL West club except for the Rockies as a place he'd be interested in playing. This despite an obvious weakness on the team at second base. Okay, obviously the Rockies aren't West Coast, but neither is Arizona, and we should be able to draw a little more attention from Japanese players then we have been.
Since Kaz Matsui left after the 2007 season, the Rockies haven't had a Japanese born baseball player, and the team hasn't had much of an Asian connection period in amateur signings over the last five years. Perhaps this should be an added reason the Rockies should make a strong push for Hiroki Kuroda, as it seems we might need some public relations help along the Pacific Rim. The team would probably benefit once Denver's successful in getting direct DIA to Tokyo flights off the ground as well.