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Sunday Rockpile: It's always darkest just before dawn...

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For most of this winter, Charlie Monfort has been kind of quiet as his brother's done the talking, now he takes a turn with Dave Krieger at the Denver Post, however, and seems just about as giddy on the direction of the team as Dick was. There are a lot of interesting quotes on building with the familiar, and the power at the box office that already established star players with the same team can have.

"You see what's going on in some of the other areas of sports with people moving around and stuff," he said, not mentioning Carmelo Anthony by name or anything. "For the fans to know that these guys are going to be around and be a part of the Rockies, the stability, that's what it's all about. Plus they're pretty good players."

And that stability adds to the gate receipts, and allows the mid-market team more flexibility than it could otherwise enjoy. Perhaps flexible enough to keep other useful parts around as well. Say a young third-baseman entering his prime. Keith Jarrett for the Asheville Citizen-Times writes that Ian Stewart's agent, Larry Reynolds, seems to want the Rockies to put a longer term deal on the table after the 2011 season:

"The Rockies know what kind of talent they have, and I think they would want to lock him up (to a long-term contract). If he stays healthy and has the kind of season we think he will, everything will take care of itself."

I think that Stewart will eventually be an interesting case for the Rockies when it comes to a decision to sign him long-term or not. He's talented, but hasn't been a star level player yet, and he has familial ties to the Rockies organization, being married to the daughter of long-time Asheville manager Joe Mikulik.

Thus far in Stewart's career to date, he's been just talented enough as well as inconsistent enough to fall into a dangerous spot for a team like Colorado, where there would be a heavy risk involved in whatever decision gets made, whether it's to keep him or let him go. Studies indicate that there are rewards in the standings for keeping a team as stable as possible for as long as possible once you have a good, MLB-worthy mix, and Stewart's at the very least a good complementary piece. The first dilemma is that a team like the Rockies can easily wind up spending too much on complementary pieces and lose an ability to add other impact parts. The second dilemma is that if he does emerge as a star, it figures to be extremely difficult for the Rockies to afford a third position player contract at that level. Those dilemmas remain true for Dexter Fowler as well, but there's time to sort of everything out with both Stewart and Fowler. If the Rockies make the playoffs again, and especially if they win a World Series in the next year or two, it could go a long way toward keeping the secondary components of the current team intact.

Speaking of inconsistent, but talented, Seth Smith realizes that he got away from what made him a good hitter for any team to have in 2009, and if he hopes to have a long MLB career, he better get back to that, pronto. I'm going to be writing my 2010 review for him this afternoon, but it's a case where his splits show the pretty clear shift, as he indicates, from being a line drive hitter that could use the whole field to a pull-happy slugger trying to launch a bunch of HR's. It made him easy to pitch to, and easy to defend in 2010, and that's why his low BABIP was as much to blame on a poor use of his skills as it was bad luck. The Troy Renck article shows another positive mental awakening by a Rockies hitter in the off-season, here's hoping that at least a couple of these translate to on-field results in 2011.

The piece also mentions that Troy Tulowitzki will arrive with pitchers and catchers on Feb. 13, he's as antsy as any of us. In Japan, all players report February 1st, I'm envious. More links after the jump.

Is it odd that the Yahoo! Fantasy Spring preview of the Rockies understands the team a lot more than the site's baseball columnists and staff? After Steve Henson's dreadful preview a week or so ago and Jeff Passan's hasty generalizations that led him to crash and burn in his Tulowitzki analysis earlier this winter, we were ready to give up on Yahoo! altogether, but Scott Pianowski's write-up comes back as much more informed and balanced. 

As part of the fallout from the Clayton Mortensen trade, the Rockies have lost Samuel Deduno on waivers to divisional rival San Diego. This could wind up being a very bad move for the Rockies if Mortensen doesn't pan out and Deduno only adds to a fairly deep pitching mix for the Padres. Meanwhile, Ethan Hollingsworth says that getting traded away from the Rockies is like being drafted all over again and talks about his end of the move.

The Rockies have eschewed the Bohemian lifestyle and will pay their rent at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson despite not playing there this Spring.

In Spanish, Ubaldo Jimenez was disappointed he didn't get 20 wins last season, but says it's a goal in 2011.

The Rockies have signed minor league LHP Kaimi Mead away from independent ball. 

Also, just to finally tie in the picture (which I actually picked just because it came up in a Spring Training search and fit my mood), in light of recent press, does anybody else find it ironic that the Giants are trying to give more power to exert a home field advantage at Coors for the Rockies to the umpires?