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How the Rockies might trim their roster to 25

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With talk this week about the value of Wilin Rosario and Drew Stubbs and how they may be kept instead of traded, I want to look at how this team is going to get down to 25 players.

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It seems that the Colorado Rockies are putting greater value in what they have than what teams are offering for now fringe players Drew Stubbs and Wilin Rosario. While both of these players were big parts of the plan in 2014, with Wilin committing to defense in the off-season and Drew being the de facto replacement for Dexter Fowler, they are definitely in a different environment this winter. The Rockies are starting to spin the story that they are valuable commodities that may be kept, but I wonder if they have the room to do so.

My first assumption in this discussion is that the Rockies will mainly have 12 position players on their 25 man roster. There may be times that they carry a 13th, but with the need for pitching, 12 will probably be the norm. Barring serious issues prior to the season, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley, D. J. LeMahieu, and Justin Morneau will take up 8 of those spots.

That leaves spots for a backup catcher, a utility infielder, a backup outfielder, and a backup hitter (my name for whoever else they keep, in my opinion it should be the best bat not yet on the team). My position is that the team will realize that Michael McKenry gives them much more value as the #2 catcher and, obviously, neither Drew nor Wilin are playing middle infield.

This leaves the positions of backup outfielder and backup hitter. For the backup outfielder, the team needs a right handed bat that can play all three outfield positions. Drew Stubbs meets those criteria, probably better than anyone else on the roster.

This leaves only one spot on the team that Wilin will have to try and make his own. He will have to compete against Kyle Parker, Brandon Barnes, and whoever else the Rockies bring to camp to compete for this last spot. Brandon Barnes gives the team another right-handed outfielder to help spell the left handed starting three along with good defense. Kyle Parker gives the team a right handed backup first baseman and a corner outfielder to spell Carlos Gonzalez. Kyle's defense would probably be considered average. Wilin brings negative defense as a third catcher and negative defense if used to backup first base in the hopes that his bat will return to 2012, or even 2013, form.

If you can't tell by my tone, I do not think that Wilin will be the best 25th player for the Rockies to keep because he gives the manager very little flexibility over the course of a season. However, it would be a case of selling low on Wilin and therefore the Rockies may feel like they have to give him a chance to improve so they can get the right value for him. With that said, I still think the only way he makes sense in terms of roster construction is if he steals the backup catcher role with a good spring training.

One last note on this roster construction is that Drew Stubbs will probably not have a higher trade value than he does right now. He had a good season last year and becomes a free agent at the end of the season. While the Rockies can hold on to Wilin in hopes that he gains more value, teams are not likely to pay more in July for a two month rental of Drew than they will now for a full season of him. If Drew gets traded, the Rockies have even more of a need to keep Brandon Barnes and Kyle Parker on the team which means there will be no place for Wilin if he is not the backup catcher.

So, for better or worse, the two may be tied together. If one makes the team, they both might; if one gets traded, it is likely that they both will. With all of that said, here are some baseball articles from the web today:

Defensive stories of the offseason: NL - espn.com

A quick blurb in here about the Rockies moving Carlos Gonzalez to right field.

Does the changeup have a strikeout problem? - fangraphs.com

An interesting read about pitch effectiveness with two strikes and the importance of strikeouts vs. ground balls.

That is it for a quiet Saturday morning. I hope you all have a good weekend and come back for more musings next week.