Rockies news? What news?
Over the past day, a grand total of one article has been posted on the regular Rockies news circuit. It's this one here, by Thomas Harding of MLB.com, a profile on the team's expectations of Jhoulys Chacin in 2011.
In the article, Chacin comments on his health last season, and how he expects to be ready to handle a lot of innings this year, hopefully enough to last a full season's worth, as well as some comments by director of player development Marc Gustafson on the extra agility works that has to come with a player built like Chacin.
Chacin, of course, was up and down between the minors last year, often seeing his starting rotation spot eclipsed due to convenience. One of the benefits of his generally very positive performance last year was a seemingly easy decision of keeping him around all year in 2011. And as of today, that shouldn't be hard. Felipe Paulino and Esmil Rogers represented the only major competition for a rotation spot, with Paulino seemingly a fit for the bullpen, and thanks to our very own Andrew Fisher and Inside the Rockies' Tracy Ringolsby for confirming my suspicions, we now know for sure that Rogers will be allowed his fourth option to the minors. Further, it seems that both Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook are more likely to lose their rotation spots in favor of competition than Chacin is.
The fact that people are throwing around the idea that Cook and Hammel should be worried about their spots is perplexing to me at the very least. While I am in agreement with those who feel that veteran players should not be handed more significant responsibility simply because of their experience level, Cook and Hammel both represent far more value to me over competitors Paulino and Rogers. Cook dealt with injury and a loss of form during the year, while Hammel's end of the season dead arm may have sparked fear over his health between then and the Spring, but the accomplishments of neither pitcher yield any more legitimacy to pushing them aside any more than Chacin.
We don't have the budget to add a Carl Pavano. I suppose maybe the argument could be that we somehow ditch Cook or Hammel's salary in replacement, but Hammel wouldn't be enough and Cook wouldn't be easy enough. Of course, it's going to be moot anyway as Pavano looks to be headed back to Minnesota. And as for Francis, as much loyalty as we may have to him, adding him at this point would be a waste. There are a dozen reasons against it, between the full roster, the full rotation and so forth. Because of these issues, and because of convenience, I would not be at ALL surprised if signing Francis ended up being at Chacin's expense rather than Cook's or Hammel's, despite all discussion (and possibly common sense) to the contrary.
I sit like this: mark the rotation off the list, guys. Yes, Carl Pavano suddenly replacing a Cook or Hammel could represent an improvement. But like so many other things in baseball, it's not that simple.
After the jump, I link to two interesting non-Rockies stories, one regarding Type A Free Agency and the Padres, the other an amazing ESPN piece (wait, what?) about disgraced umpire Jim Joyce.
R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs discusses a negotiating tactic being employed by Padres GM Jed Hoyer in order to attract borderline Type A talent to the team despite payroll concerns and fears about building up a 2012 salary offer in the offensive black hole that is Petco. To put it simply, Hoyer is promising some of his borderline Type A players (which includes former Rockie Brad Hawpe) that we will not be offering arbitration to outgoing Type A fee agents. This is appealing to the players, because as Type As, they may find it more difficult to find jobs to begin with due to a signing team needing to give up an early draft pick for their services. If they leave San Diego as Type A talent without the attached draft pick necessity, they're going to be less apprehensive of committing to San Diego and risk suffering an offensive decline. Interesting strategy.
Now I highly recommend you take a look at this fantastic article by ESPN.com's Amy K. Nelson, which provides an update on the Jim Joyce/Armando Galarraga situation. It's a long read, but well worth it to hear some stories about what happened that I didn't know. My favorite bit is the segment on the baggage tags.
Last minute addition! Tracy Ringolsby tweets the five dates that the Rockies are currently schedule to appear on FOX's national broadcast. Knowing FOX, three of these will be canceled or moved and we won't get them at all.