A little over a week ago, the Rockies announced the signing of catcher Nick Hundley to a two-year contract worth a little more than $6 million. With this signing giving the Rockies three catchers at the major league level, one would assume either Michael McKenry or Wilin Rosario would now be dealt for a fifth starter or a bullpen arm. Not so fast.
GM Jeff Bridich has had trade talks about C Wilin Rosario but nothing that "makes sense" for #Rockies. If no deal, Rosario will play some 1B— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) January 6, 2015
The key word here is "some." It's not clear that Rosario would even have a chance to play much first base, and that's because the Rockies already have a durable first baseman in Justin Morneau. Last year, Morneau started 126 games at first base; he missed 27 games mostly due to minor injuries and occasional rest, and entered as a pinch hitter in a handful of others. While he did sit against some left-handed starting pitchers, it was more the exception rather than the rule. Morneau showed he was fully capable of handling himself at first base during his age 33 season, nearly winning a Gold Glove and winning the NL batting title. Morneau doesn't seem to have any nagging injuries, so there is no reason to believe he won't be able to replicate his durability and performance over the next year.
If you factor in Morneau playing 130-plus games and combine that with little need for a third catcher, there's no reason the Rockies should stick a young power hitter like Rosario in a Jason Giambi-like role. In that scenario, it's hard to imagine Rosario being used to his full potential. He is a young player, just 25 years old, and has shown that he can absolutely crush the ball when he's free from injury. There is little reason to believe Walt Weiss has plans on having Rosario behind the plate or having a first base platoon with Morneau. Instead of trying to find a place for him to play, trading Rosario -- preferably for pitching -- should be on the top of Jeff Bridich's to-do list.
Jeramiah Penaflor provides his take on Justin Morneau filling Todd Helton's shoes and discusses other possible options in Kyle Parker, Ben Paulsen and, of course, Rosario.
As Rockies fans, we know what it's like to watch a team struggle. I, for one, would rather watch a team grow together over the years than watch a team that purchases all of its players off the free agent market. Leigh Cowart puts this love/hate relationship into words perfectly and I highly recommend this read. (Warning: Some explicit language.)
AJ Cassavell believes that the addition of Nick Hundley is going to be a huge help for Jon Gray and Eddie Butler. Could he help turn around the rest of the staff as well? Let's hope so.