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Friday Rockpile: It's About Time - The Bench It Is A-Changin'

Last night, after dropping a 4 game series to the Diamondbacks (which was gutwrenching enough), the Rockies made 2 moves.

The first, and less important move, is trading recently DFA'd RHP Felipe Paulino to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.

Rockies trade Felipe Paulino to Royals | News
The important thing here is that Paulino's salary is being moved. Not that it was astoundingly high or anything, but saving money is saving money, especially when money might need to be spent down the line to continue spackling these cracks.

Now the big move, obviously, is the team designating IF Jose Lopez for assignment. Lopez was acquired for his potential skillset: high contact, low strikeouts, 20+HR power. What they got was a .210/.234/.290 hitter with a couple of bombs. Lopez did start showing signs of life over the past 2 weeks, hitting .325/.357/.400, but it was clearly one of those "too little too late" scenarios.

Questionable at 2B, Lopez was moved to 3B in light of Jonathan Herrera's strong start to the 2011 campaign, and he definitely brought his glove to play. Obviously, his bat stayed in 2009.

The amusing irony of the situation is that these two guys came from out of the system, didn't work, and were moved on. Their replacements are both homegrown guys.

Matt Daley was the replacement for Paulino, as evidenced by the fact that he's pitched a couple times in the past week. Lopez, however, will be replaced by Eric Young Jr, who has been absolutely destroying AAA Colorado Springs, to the tune of a 1.006 OPS and 17:1 SB:CS. Other guys who are likely to be arriving sometime in 2011 are LHP Rex Brothers and OF Charles Blackmon - also both laying waste to the PCL.

The downside of moving Lopez (whether releasing him or trading him or whichever) is that the Rockies lose a good glove at 3B. This leaves the team with Ty Wigginton at 3B.

Having Wigginton as the 3B starter from here on (which hasn't been officially announced, but it makes the most sense, I suppose) puts the Rockies at somewhat of a disadvantage in the infield. Herrera should continue to start at 2B, if only for his glove. Tulo and Helton aren't moving from their positions, either. But Helton needs to be spelled regularly still, which means Jason Giambi will be taking more of those backup starts, as Wigginton will be a little busy over at the hot corner. The only remaining infield backup they have is Alfredo Amezaga. As far as a PR/defensive sub guy goes, Amezaga's pretty decent, so while I'm uncomfortable with the infield depth, it could be worse.

One other possible combination is having Wigginton at 1B, Herrera at 3B, and EYJ at 2B. EYJ's never been much of a 2B fielder, and he's been getting more OF reps to try and boost his versatility.

More past the jump.

Off Topic

It's not really a bad thing that the Lopez experiment didn't pan out. For a team that doesn't make a lot of big moves on the baseball radar, it was a good risk to take. This kind of gets the team back to it's own philosophy, of trusting their organizational guys.

It's a disappointment, obviously, as the team had some high hopes for Lopez. This is an expensive loss on the heels of losing a year of Jorge de la Rosa, and should the team need to eat the remainder of that $3.6M salary (probably about $2.5M or so), it'll seriously hamper their ability to acquire another starter should the combination of Aaron Cook, Greg Reynolds, Esmil Rogers, and Juan Nicasio not be able to hold down the rotation slot.

Hey, does Kansas City need a 2B/3B guy? We'll trade him for Wilson Betemit! It'll be great!

In other news, 1 game into Dexter Fowler's rein of the 8 hole in the lineup went poorly, with a 0-3, K, BB performance. Amusingly, that was Chris Iannetta's line for the game as well. The top 6 spots in the lineup had a hit, though.

Final thing for the morning:

DUI charge dismissed against Atlanta Braves' Derek Lowe - ESPN