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Thursday Rockpile: Lopez, Outman avoid arbitration and sign one year contracts

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The Rockies Wilton Lopez and Josh Outman agreed to terms on one year contracts worth $1.7625 million and $675,000, respectively. That cuts to four the remaining players in the arbitration process for the club. Also, ESPN Insider writer Jason Martinez suggests the team can't compete until 2016, I think maybe he's being a bit pessimistic given the relative parity in the MLB.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Josh Outman and Wilton Lopez weren't long for the arbitration process, as the two pitchers signed one year contracts with the Rockies shortly after filing for arbitration. Both are still very much bargains to their projected value to the club, albeit as Outman displayed last year in his brief time with the Rockies, projected value doesn't always translate that well to actual value.

The above article also goes a bit into the Rockies process this winter, as the team's miserable fortunes in 2012 have put the kibosh on any long term contract extensions the club might otherwise have pursued. This particularly impacts Dexter Fowler, the most worthy keeper of the six Rockies that are in the arbitration phase of their careers.

ESPN insider writer Jason Martinez explores when the Rockies' next window of contention will be and comes up with a 2016 date, apparently (I don't know for sure, as I'm not paying for that) giving us three more years of misery to right the team's fortunes. I'm actually in disagreement with that conclusion, as I see the talent levels of the Rockies not so far off from the division leaders that they can't compete about a year from now with decent skill development in the pitching department.

The team's major offensive flaws are at the corners, which are theoretically the easiest to fix. Defense is an issue but also a fixable one. If health issues continue to dog Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio, and if Tyler Chatwood, Christian Friedrich and Edwar Cabrera all fail to develop into contention worthy bottom of the rotation starters, or if Drew Pomeranz doesn't take a step forward to being a consistent top of the rotation type, the Rockies indeed have a deeper problem that will require more creative solutions, and that 2016 time frame makes sense, but that step in logic requires writing off the Rockies current young pitchers completely. Otherwise, if some make it to contention level and some don't in 2013, which to me would be more logical, the team only will need a bit of added value from outside to return to potential contention by 2014/2015.

Aaron Cook has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Off-topic.