Aaron Cook could be the Rockies biggest rotation question mark, but eliminating the hitch in his delivery would be an important part of the answer to that question. As Jack Etkin reports for Inside the Rockies and as Cook himself stated in the Denver Post fan Q and A linked in yesterday's Rockpile, the toe-tap that was causing Cook's delivery pause may be a thing of the past.
Jay Payton retired via Facebook on Friday. The journeyman Payton's best work came in a short stint with the Rockies after arriving in a trade with the New York Mets in 2002. He also made his final appearance with the Rockies last September. The 2003 team that featured strong post-humidor performances from Payton and Preston Wilson along with another fantastic season from Todd Helton is one of the most disappointing to look at in retrospect as a fan. The heart of the order was probably contention worthy, as was much of the bullpen (ironically not including closer Jose Jimenez,) but there were so many sub-replacement performances elsewhere that it just dragged the whole thing down to a 74-88 win season.
Remembering teams that had so many players not even worthy to be on an MLB bench is possibly what leads Dan O'Dowd to overpay reserves like Ty Wigginton. Which leads in to the Post's preview of the Rockies Spring Training, particularly Troy Renck's column about the Rockies 2011 season hanging on the supporting cast. The Rockies have one major position question (second base) and several less important questions about where to slot everybody in the lineup to answer.
Jim Armstrong breaks down the roster. He's also not in the boat of batting Lopez #2, but I'm fine with #7 for Jose as well, especially against RHP's or on the road. I actually think Smith batting second against RHP's, Lopez against LHP's is close to a perfect use for the slot, assuming both hitters are back to being their 2009 versions and not their 2010 versions.