You know by now that the Rockies' rotation in 2012 was historically bad. Geoff Young put a depressing spin on it today for Baseball Prospectus, as he analyzed the lowest number of innings pitched by a team's season leader. In the Rockies' case, it was Jeff Francis, who was a "Louisville Bat" until Young found 11 team leaders with Francis' 113 innings or fewer in baseball history....all from the 19th century, all from teams that played no more than 36 games.
If one did not comprehend the value of "innings eater" last offseason, surely one can grasp it now. Jeremy Guthrie was supposed to be that guy in 2012, but once he was pumped full of Coors, he just imploded. Now word comes that Colorado is looking for a mulligan, trying to find a veteran innings-eater in Kevin Correia.
Correia has a solid ground ball rate, mixes five different pitches and was an All-Star in 2011 (snicker). While playing for largely terrible teams the last four years, he has not had a losing season, and he has a 3.61 ERA in 42.0 career innings at Coors Field. So that's good.
He also has called three pitcher's parks home - AT&T Park, Petco Park and PNC Park - and has had a consistently above average home run rate and below league average ERA. He does not get much strikeouts and might be seeking a multi-year deal in free agency. Yet the 2012 we suffered makes him almost pallatable in that capacity. Perhaps he can reprise the role of Jason Marquis.
Colorado could also add a starter through trade. Dexter Fowler's name will be common in speculation until Opening Day on that front, and Mike Podhorzer's article this morning makes a good case that now is the best time to deal Fowler. He is young, has control, still is perceived to have growth potential and has established an ability to be a solid full-time player. That means real value could be had in return, but Podhorzer warns that Fowler's "breakout" was not largely based on actual developmental progress.
While Fowler led MLB in line drive rate, his .390 BABIP is unlikely to return (he would be unlikely to lead the league in LD% again), and while his home runs tripled, his average distance on fly balls hit decreased from 2011. When he hit the ball in the air, he didn't hit them further, he just hit the far ones just enough to fill up the HR column. In other words, Fowler's value may never be higher, and Jeremy Hellickson is far more interesting than Kevin Correia.
Rays Extend Evan Longoria, Again | FanGraphs Baseball - I very nearly centered today's Rockpile around the Longoria news, so be happy Renck came out with his Correia piece. It turns out that not only could the Rockies have drafted Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria, they could have afforded to keep both players their entire career. It would have gotten dicey around 2020, and Carlos Gonzalez would be gone, but...yeah.
Of course, if television contract revenue increases as expected, $37million for two players in their late 30's would not be as difficult to stomach. Eno Sarris:
Combined salaries in baseball in 2012: $2.94 Billion. $50 m in television contracts, per team: $1.5B. Players usually get ~50% of revenue.— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 26, 2012
So it's possible there's about a 25% inflation in free agent money coming in 2014? Wowzers.— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 26, 2012
TV deals are bringing inflation, which is worrying some fans, especially in light of the Dodgers' $6+ billion deal.
Does the Dodgers' new TV deal spell doom for small-market clubs? - Baseball Nation - Rob Neyer thinks the doom-and-gloom crowd is overreacting, suggesting that the Yankees have not won half the World Series in the last two decades they have owned a large payroll advantage. While true, they have been guaranteed a contender each year, and the payroll differential has given the Steinbrenners a huge advantage to position themselves for a title. Whether the small sample sizes of playoff baseball smiles on them is largely beside the point. Television deals WILL change the revenue streams, and thus payrolls, dramatically.
The details on each team's television deal has not been fully explored before, which would be a critical variable when looking at long term contracts and a franchise's longterm viability. Fortunately, Wendy Thurm has done the legwork and will be posting her findings on all 30 teams' television deals later today at Fangraphs.
The Rockies had a shortstop that played more innings for the franchise in the 2000-09 decade than any infielder not named Todd Helton. He is seventh in MLB in Defensive Runs Saved over the past five years. It is not Troy Tulowitzki.