With the off-season screeching to a halt and still a little over a month before we get to real fake baseball games, I thought now might be a good time to do some inventory. It's certainly been discussed in round-a-bout ways here at Purple Row, but let's put a fine point one it; what do the Rockies need the most?
The Rockies feel pretty good to me in the outfield and it's hard not to when Carlos Gonzalez is roaming around out there. His propensity for injuries and the fact that the next best defensive outfielder on the roster (Drew Stubbs) hasn't hit well the last few years, there are still some holes.
It could very-well pan out that Stubbs, Michael Cuddyer, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon all hit well but it is unlikely that any of the latter three give noteworthy defensive contributions. Which means that if Stubbs doesn't start, the OF defense is likely to be shaky.
I like the options in the outfield but could see a scenario where the Rockies would be better off parting ways with Michael Cuddyer or giving up on one of the young guys in order to bring in a more balanced and/or proven MLB outfielder.
Right Side of the Infield
Second base has been a canard for a while for this franchise and I like the talents of both D.J. LeMahieu and Josh Rutledge quite a bit. I'm not as convinced as some that 2B needs to be completely re-hauled. I like Rutledge's chances to bounce back next year and D.J. is the kind of guys you want on an MLB roster; he can play multiple positions very well and still makes decent contact at the plate.
Still, second base seems the most obvious place that the Rockies could give themselves a significant upgrade by getting a player who does both things well rather than just one or the other. Second baseman like that don't grow on trees but they are out there and pairing one with Troy Tulowitzki up the middle could go a long way toward getting the Rockies back in contention.
And then there is first base. I've laid out my argument in favor of Justin Morneau here. And the case against him is pretty well laid out in the comments section. Did the Rockies miss an opportunity by filling a prime power position with an oft-injured veteran who's best years may be behind him? Would it make the Rockies significantly better to upgrade at first?
Left Side of the Infield
I will carefully and thoughtfully read and argument suggesting that the Rockies need to upgrade at either short stop or third base. Tulo get injured. Nolan Arenado maybe can't hit real well. But seriously, is anyone shopping for third baseman right now?
Wilin Rosario provides the Rockies something a lot of teams don't have; power from behind home plate. Unfortunately, despite progress in many areas, Rosario remains a defensive roller-coaster and has the tendency to sink into long slumps filled with strikeouts at the plate.
When combined with the fact that his backup is much maligned Jordan Pacheco, the catcher position doesn't necessarily feel "figured out."
The Rockies really shouldn't mess with Rosario too much, but the argument can easily be made that if the Rockies had a solid defensive catcher on the roster with at least the ability to put together good at-bats, it could go a long way toward helping the pitching staff and giving Rosario more rest for his knees while keeping his bat in at first base.
The names all sound nice. Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge de la Rosa, Tyler Chatwood, Brett Anderson, Christian Friedrich, Juan Nicasio Jordan Lyles, Jon "the Flamethrower" Gray, and Eddie "stuff" Butler all have the potential to give the Rockies solid positive contributions on the hill. And apparently you can even throw Franklin Morales in there (though I'd really rather not.)
There are still a ton of questions, however. The first five names all have injury histories (especially Brett Anderson and Christian Fiedrich) that could render them essentially useless. Nicasio and Lyles have yet to prove more than an ability to survive the major leagues and the Rockies need to be careful about rushing either Gray or Butler.
There is solid depth there, but do the Rockies need another veteran pitcher to bridge the gap between the current crop and the young guys and to serve as health insurance?
The 'pen looks good to me. Again I may need someone else to make this case. You can certainly argue that we overpaid for LaTroy Hawkins or Boone Logan, but now that they are here the bullpen looks to me to be one of the most formidable in the league.