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Saturday Rockpile: As Spring Training Nears, Offseason Stories and Speculation Winding Down - FINALLY

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The time is near. In two short days, the Colorado Rockies - along with everyone else in baseball - will conduct their first official spring workouts, with pitchers and catchers reporting to Scottsdale on Monday. As the Rox open their second season at the sparkling Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, they bring with them a whole new cast of characters - many of which are nearing the age of most of the state of Arizona's inhabitants. With the offseason almost over, stories/reviews/speculation are winding down, and the welcome sight of baseball is right in front of our faces. I, for one, couldn't be happier. But, let's link anyway...

Grading the offseason: National League - The GM's Office by Jim Bowden Blog - ESPN (Insider required)

Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden ranks every big league team (although only the NL is linked above) in terms of how well they performed in the offseason. The Rockies come in at number 5 in the senior circuit (behind the Marlins, Reds, Diamondbacks, and Nationals). Bowden's two cents:

Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd has been on a roll since last July’s trade deadline, stockpiling seven starting pitchers in five separate trades, including the blockbuster that brought top prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White from the Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez. Almost as important, the Rockies’ offseason moves were focused on improving the clubhouse culture, which they accomplished with veterans Cuddyer and Scutaro. I expect them to finish anywhere from second to fourth in the NL West this year.

Anywhere from second to fourth? Way to go out on a limb there, Jim.

Rockies' Albert Campos' Rocky 2011 - Fangraphs

Adding on to AMart's Fangraphs link fest from yesterday, everybody's favorite SABR site posted a blog piece about Rockies' prospect Albert Campos, as he draws comparisons to Michael Pineda and others. It's a good piece that includes video, so it's definitely worth a read. However, if you're scrapped for time, the gist is that Campos has a ton of raw talent and a terrific arm, but he needs to add some consistency to his delivery and use his lower half more to avoid potential arm problems, not to mention developing his breaking ball. Campos will be quite an intriguing prospect if healthy (he suffered an "undisclosed injury" in the second half of last season).

One more link after the jump...

I found this shirt, which someone must have intercepted from being delivered to a third-world country, on eBay. It reminded me that the Rockies' great collapse of 2010 will stick with me forever - just like the 1998 Utah Utes basketball team which blew a double-digit second half lead in the national championship game and the 2011 Utah Utes football team which squandered a chance of going to the Pac-12 Championship by laying an egg against an awful Colorado team at home. Heartbreak always sits with us longer - particularly those of us who never get to experience success with our teams at the highest level. The 2012 Rockies won't likely change that either, but it's always right when you say things of that ilk that they find a way to start surprising everybody. Please God, let it be this year.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm SO going to buy that shirt. I'll just pretend the Giants and their humidor accusations never happened. Life is always better when you pretend the Giants didn't happen, in fact. I highly suggest it.