As Jeff laid out in today's Rockpile, the acquisition of Ty Wigginton hamstrings the roster into a more finalized but not necessarily more complete form. Many are considering the presence of Wigginton and newly acquired Jose Lopez to be slightly redundant, particularly since Wigginton's versatility in terms of ability to play the outfield is barely able to be considered. The Rockies' budget after this signing is left to just a few more million, ruling out Josh Willingham and other such acquisitions barring a slight payroll expansion. Wigginton's presence must discard one of Eric Young Jr, Jonathan Herrera or Cole Garner from the projected roster, and while Wigginton is not enough of an outfielder to be considered THE fifth outfielder, Garner's position on the roster was always the bigger priority to drop.
The roster doesn't exactly NEED a fifth outfielder to succeed, particularly since Young and Herrera both can play the outfield if needed, and we'll still generally have one of Seth Smith or Ryan Spilborghs on the bench in case of a problem. Still, while not a necessity to assemble a functional roster on opening day, it's a potential hole that may be difficult to fill through player acquisition, barring a minor league contract NRI breaking out.
This year, after the acquisition of Wigginton, the Rockies still retain 2 open spots on their 40 Man Roster. Tomorrow, the Rule 5 Draft will be wrapping up the winter meetings. With voids remaining in the outfield, catcher, and possibly the bullpen, I believe the Rockies should at least consider making a draft selection from available minor leaguers in one of these areas. As we know, most major prospects are protected at the reserves deadline, and I have no idea if any outfielders or catchers left unprotected would truly suit these needs. Potentially, an outfield Rule 5 selection could be no better than giving Garner the spot, which we don't intend to do anyway. Same goes with Michael McKenry at catcher. But there's no real issue with giving a look to someone who might catch their eye. Worst case, the player doesn't make the team out of the Spring, and we must return them to where they came from.
So, the question is: should the Rockies make an attempt at a youngster with a potential to break out tomorrow at the draft? Are there any unprotected players out there you would like to see as a target? The Rockies don't tend to participate in the Rule 5 draft, but there's room to if we want to give it a go.
A couple of eligible players who might be potential targets:
Wynn Pelzer- AA Level right-handed pitcher acquired by Baltimore from San Diego during the Miguel Tejada trade. Former top prospect, high walk rate but getting a lot of attention. Has experience in relief as well as starting.
Cesar Cabral - A/A+ level left-handed relief pitcher in the Boston system. Control a concern, would have to luck out for him to perform well enough to make such a large jump.
Daryl Jones - Low power, moderate speed, AA/AAA level outfielder in St. Louis coming off a down year. Has shown good OBP skills during his career.
Any other names you want to see added?