Patrick Saunders has one of the most worthwhile Tulo articles you've read in a while, because it includes actual quotes from Tulo regarding his rehab, goals for spring training, and what the team needs to do to be better on the road.
On taking that next step in his rehab process:
"Yeah, I'm itching to get back to baseball, but as long as I'm ready for the season opener, that's all I'm focused on. If (doctors and trainers) say not to rush it, then I'm not going to jeopardize things.
I'm definitely excited to start the baseball activity, but at the same time I know that my best chance to start the season is by playing it safe. So that's what I'm going to do."
On getting ready for spring training and the regular season:
"My bottom line is to try to get healthy, play games, and play a lot of them. That's obviously something that I haven't been very good at, for whatever reason. So I am trying to find that recipe for success."
"I feel good, but I think no matter what you say, people want to see it out on the field. Me saying that I'm healthy is one thing, but me going out there and proving it is another thing. In spring training, I plan to be as good as I can be and let people judge for themselves."
On the team's hitting on the road:
"I think we all know that we need to address the road issue. We have to be better on the road. ... Hopefully we will all realize what it means to take a professional at-bat on the road. I think we will work on that and talk about that, and hopefully there will be some improvement."
On trade rumors and what the front office is doing this winter:
"That's not my job. My job is to get ready to play."
Tulo won't say anything directly on the subject of trade speculation, but that quote about the team needing to be better on the road certainly sounds like a guy expecting to play for the Rockies next summer, and as I discussed last week, that's probably the best thing for the Rockies.
* * * * *
In other news, Baseball Prospectus released their top ten Rockies prospects this morning. Not surprisingly, Jon Gray comes out on top. Here's their key quote on the third overall pick in the 2013 draft:
"He should start 2015 in Triple-A, but may not face the requisite resistance to truly refine until he faces major-league lineups capable of handling his electric arsenal."
Also, they're still really, really high on Raimel Tapia and consider most of the entire group behind Gray high risk / high reward prospects.
The Padres have been extremely active this offseason, but Ryan Romano over at Beyond the Box Score doesn't think these moves make San Diego a contender. This piece drew some very angry comments from Padres' fans.
Perhaps he's right though. In a Dave Schoenfield piece linked yesterday, the Rockies are actually projected to win one more game than the Padres the way the teams are constructed right now.
This also brings me to another point I'd like to address. I'm not sure when it happened, but after reading reaction from many Rockies' fans over the last few weeks, there's apparently some new rule in MLB where you can only be competitive in a season after you've had an active offseason. It must have been a really recent addition too, because the two teams in the World Series last season didn't exactly have an active winter. Just for fun, here's the list of significant moves they made before before the 2014 season.
- Signed Jason Vargas as a free agent.
- Traded Will Smith to the Milwaukee Brewers. Received Nori Aoki.
- Signed Omar Infante as a free agent.
- They resigned a bunch of the players they already had in Javier Lopez, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Vogelsong.
- Signed Tyler Colvin as a free agent.
- Signed Tim Hudson as a free agent.
- Signed Mike Morse as a free agent.
And I'm even in pushing it in calling some of these moves significant. The bottom line, however, is that both of these teams who missed the playoffs in 2013 -- one who hand't been there since 1985 and the other coming off a 76 win campaign -- brought back essentially the same rosters (with some minor tweaks) in 2014 and brought home a pennant because they had health, luck, and internal improvement on their side.
Just something to keep in mind as pundits coast to coast get ready to crown the active teams this offseason masters of the universe. And of course, if you want the ultimate example of why we wait until the games are played to draw hard conclusions on the offseason ... Well, I'll just leave this here.
Jon Morosi writes that MLB is the new standard of parity in professional sports, and cites several interesting facts across the MLB landscape to support his claim. Here's another good one from outside the baseball world. If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, all four divisions in the AFC will have been won by the same team three years in a row. Not exactly the ultimate model for parity there.
Finally, the Twins liked what they saw from Phil Hughes so much last season — particularly his league-leading 1.9 percent walk rate — that they signed him to the most lucrative deal for a pitcher in club history. The five-year, $58 million extension will keep him in Minnesota through the 2019 season.