Welcome back to Purple Row, after what I hope was a lovely holiday for most of you.
Writing an article about the previous day's news, when said previous day was a day where nobody could care less about reading (or reporting) news is difficult. All I have in front of me is a semi-significant Tracy Ringolsby article from Inside the Rockies, and my own imagination.
Ringolsby touches on three points ("strikes"): arbitration offers to Jorge De La Rosa and Octavio Dotel, the hiring of Carney Lansford, and the second-base battle. Of Dotel, Mr. Ringolsby says this:
"Dotel is a Type B free agent. To offer him arbitration, the Rockies had to have an agreement he won’t re-sign."
Now, this statement is a little vague. I'm certain that teams and Type B free agents do not have to have an agreement in place at the time of the offering, so I think that Ringolsby is trying to express that it seems almost certain to him that the low priority of Dotel as a Type B suggests that the only reason the Rockies would offer him arbitration in this particular situation implies a pre-existing agreement for a decline. We saw the Yankees do this with Javier Vazquez, so it is not out of the question, and judging by the mild but suggestive fear that Dotel may accept the offer, I'm sure most of you are pleased at this possibility as well.
Reaction to the other two points after the jump. Also:
We keep hearing the same three names brought up when discussing the hiring of Carney Lansford to replace Don Baylor in the hitting coach position: Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Seth Smith. All three have worked with Lansford in the minors, all three have yet to reach their potential and a big year from all (any) of them would be a great step in the right direction to a superior 2011 season.
Can Lansford make a noticeable difference? I'd say the possibility is there, particularly if he had a positive relationship[ specifically with these three players. But I still maintain belief that the control these coaches have over their players is exaggerated at best, and at worst, next to nil. Blame on poor hitting performance can easily be laid at the feet of a coach who gives bad advice, but advice only goes so far. A successful team is not necessarily related at all to good coaching, and it is therefore completely possible for a coach to say and do all the right things, but for his players to fail him. From what little I know of Lansford's style, I don't expect a significant difference solely from his presence, and if Stewart, Iannetta and Smith surge in 2011, I'll likely be more proud of them than of our hitting coach.
Finally, second base. Ringolsby suggests that it is not Eric Young Jr. in the lead to replace Clint Barmes for the bulk of second base playing time, but rather Jonathan Herrera. Personally, I would prefer both Chris Nelson and Young to Herrera as a starting position player, but if Herrera earns the spot out of the Spring, I may reconsider. I just don't want the spot to be handed to anyone. We must remember that all three of these players have the ability to be optioned without consent or waiver action: Young and Nelson have not been on the roster long enough to use all of theirs, and Herrera gets an extra one due to last year's option not counting for the full 20 days required to make the assignment official. It's nice to have a roster battle where there are absolutely no excuses about who should earn the spot than tools and performance in the Spring.
In other news, Mark Strittmatter, drafted in the Rockies' very first organizational draft and bullpen catcher for the past six seasons, will be leaving us to join Clint Hurdle with the Pirates. Story via Jack Etkin, also of Inside the Rockies. Yet another catching spot open for the Rockies, in a sense.