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Thursday Rockpile: Rockies playing affiliate musical chairs

Colorado Springs and Tulsa are out, Albuquerque and New Britain are in as the Rockies re-work their deals with minor league teams.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Isotopes to hook up with Rockies - Albuquerque Journal
For the first time in history, the Rockies' AAA affiliate will not be the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2015, as they will move down I-25 to Albuquerque for at least the next four years. The Albuquerque Journal has a local take on the change for the Isotopes.

Twins Out; Rock Cats Affiliate With Colorado Rockies - Hartford Courant
It's not just the Rockies' AAA affiliate that is changing, as the team is moving it's AA affiliate out of Tulsa and back to Connecticut with the New Britain Rock Cats. The Rockies also had a AA affiliate in Connecticut with the New Haven Ravens from 1994-1998.

Rockies moving Triple-A, Double-A affiliates -
As for a Rockies perspective on the change, Thomas Harding recaps what the changes mean for the organization, perhaps most importantly discussing the logistics with calling up a player from Albuquerque as opposed to Colorado Springs.

Albuquerque Isotopes got name from a "Simpsons" episode - The Denver Post
The Denver Post's Joe Nguyen takes a looked at the genesis of the unique name of the Rockies' new AAA affiliate, which has to do with a certain popular cartoon series on FOX.

Rockies rip Dodgers as Charlie Blackmon, Justin Morneau have huge days - The Denver Post
As for the action on the field yesterday, the Rockies set a franchise record with eight runs in the first inning in a 16-2 victory over the Dodgers. Patrick Saunders has a wrap up of the offensive outburst at Coors Field.

Rockies pitching prospects Eddie Butler, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson re-writing their scripts - The Denver Post
Nick Groke has an excellent wrap-up of the seasons of three of the Rockies' top pitching prospects, one of which will continue at Coors Field Saturday, and looks at where Butler, Gray and Anderson stand heading into 2015.

Justin Morneau still in hunt to win National League batting title - The Denver Post
In addition to his game story, Patrick Saunders has an update on the race for the NL batting crown, which features Justin Morneau in a tight race with the Pirates' Josh Harrison.

Around MLB

Why Is There Even a Pitcher-for-MVP Debate? - Fangraphs
In light of Clayton Kershaw's excellent 2014 and the fact that this debate seems to come up every season these days, Jeff Sullivan makes the case for pitchers as MVPs.