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Thursday Rockpile: Notes on Spring Things

Today's Rockpile covers a hodgepodge of Rockies news, from Jhoulys Chacin's eagerness to pitch for Venezuela, to the rumors swirling about of the Rockies looking for another starter (and who they might use to get him) to a long coming reunion of 1998 Portland Rockies (minus Aaron Cook) in Miami.

Doug Pensinger

Rafael Rojas Cremonesi (why does that name sound so familiar?) has a report at the Rockies official site about how Jhoulys Chacin is thrilled to pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Chacin assesses the risks involved but also sees the chance to represent his country too enticing to ignore. I think what throws teams off is that those risks, even though they ultimately amount to about the same level as a player going through their regular Spring Training routine are outside the team's control.

Rumors of the Rockies 11th hour search for starting pitching through trade are also swirling about, with a fine analysis of the situation by Baseball Prospectus' Daniel Rathman to be found here (save for the fact that it's Bill Geivett's call in this case, and not Dan O'Dowd's, but I understand where the confusion with the Rockies set-up would come in.) While Ramon Hernandez would be a somewhat obvious candidate for trade, the 36 year old, injury riddled catcher coming off a career worst season might not be the most enticing chip to spur MLB teams to part with a pitcher that could do even the Rockies much good. That could be where a player like Jordan Pacheco comes in.

Tracy Ringolsby writes of Todd Helton's hopes to contribute in the sunset of his career. The elephant in the room remains untouched in the article, which makes for a positive piece. No sense waking elephants before their time, I guess.

A spring training update from Thomas Harding touches on Drew Pomeranz, DJ LeMahieu, and Danny Rosenbaum, among others. The combination of marginal expected value from LeMahieu, Pacheco, Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson plus the relative uncertainty in predicting that the inexperienced Josh Rutledge will be much more valuable himself starting at second (I think Rutledge will be valuable, I'm just saying there's a lot of variance in early career performance making it uncertain) leaves a brief opening for LeMahieu in 2013. Because of his ability to catch, I see Pacheco as the more valuable trade chip for the Rockies despite the fact that he may be the less valuable utility infielder and is the older commodity. If I'm mistaken there, it could be that DJLM would be the better carrot to dangle of the pair for a starting pitcher, but ultimately, I see one or the other getting moved perhaps as soon as this Spring.

It's been a long strange journey that has finally led to Juan Pierre and Chone Figgins being in the same MLB camp for Miami years after spending a summer in the Rockies farm system together in Portland as 20 year olds. The two have remained fast friends since then as we learn in Craig Davis of Miami's Sun Sentinel report on the pair of outfielders.