Sparked by the discussion over at MLBTR and being a Rockies fan, I decided to post my annual off-season plan. I’ve been doing these for the Yankees and Rockies every off-season since I was 12, I just usually don’t get to put them on-line. So…here goes
1. Let Jason Marquis, Jose Contreras, Jason Giambi, and Glendon Rusch walk. They’re not essential and just can’t fit into next year’s plan. Sorry.
2. Rotation: Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Hammel. Any questions there? Nope.
3. Trade Brad Hawpe. The Braves need a power hitting outfielder, but they want a righty. So Hawpe’s not heading to the ATL. The Cubs are going to do everything they can to get rid of Milton Bradley, and Hawpe could be an adequate replacement in right field. The Cubbies don’t really have anything solid to send back for Hawpe though. The Red Sox could be a good fit, although having JD Drew and Hawpe at the corner outfield spots would be a defensive nightmare. The Reds, who plan on contending in ’10, are a good match, and young pitching, third baseman Scott Rolen, and second baseman Brandon Phillips are all possible players to consider in return. Basically, Hawpe needs to be moved and the Rox should be able to find a good haul for him. The Rox should consider upgrading at third (Ian Stewart and the soon-to-be-non-tendered Garret Atkins just don’t cut it for me, and should look at finding more depth for the starting rotation. A Hawpe trade would leave an opening day of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter “Dex Knows” “I jump over people” Fowler, and Seth “.293/.378/” Smith. Three cheap young players that can anchor the offense, and defense, for years to come. Ryan Spilborghs is still on the bench as a 4th outfielder and Eric Young Jr. could be insurance. Hawpe is expendable, and bringing in young pitching or a third baseman would be a good way to use him. Freeing up his $7.5mm salary would also give the Rox $7.5mm more to spend in free agency.
4. Non-tender Garret Atkins. Even if you think he can bounce back, Atkins isn’t worth the $7 or $8mm he’d stand to make through arbitration. Freeing up another $7mm in payroll is great, and the roster spot can be used for better things.
5. Sign Chone Figgins. Who doesn’t love Chone Figgins? His opponents. Chone had a big year in Anaheim, and he’s going to get a big deal. Why not sign it with the Rox? Sorry, I don’t want Ian Stewart and his homer-or-nothing style starting at third every day. Figgins could very well make $40mm/4 yrs. With Hawpe and Atkins gone, the Rox can afford him. Imagine having Fowler, Gonzalez, and Figgins all scaring opposing pitchers from the basepaths. Speed is great (as is Jumping Dex) so let’s get it. Figgins is a Renaissance man, so if he needed to fill in at left, center, right, short, or second he probably could do all of that as well. He’s a great team player who would be great in the clubhouse. Chone Figgins is too good to pass up. That is, unless we can get a better third baseman (and a cheaper one…) in a Brad Hawpe trade.
6. Pick-up Yorvit’s option. How can you not? He’s a fan favorite, has a great name, and is an October hero, in my mind.
7. Sign Orlando Hudson or Felipe Lopez. I love Clint Barmes as much as the next guy, but a .294 OBP just isn’t acceptable. O-Dog and Lopez both play good defense and they can hit. Say that signing one of them cost $10mm (total guess here…) well, that’s a hefty investment. Remember though, Hawpe and Atkins are off the payroll and revenues will be up thanks to the playoff run this year. More tickets sold, means more money made, means more money to spend, means bigger payroll, means a new second baseman.
8. Pick-up Rafael Betancout’s option. He earned it.
And in the end…here’s what we have…
3B Chone Figgins
RF Carlos Gonzalez
1B Todd Helton
SS Troy Tulowitzki
LF Seth Smith
2B Felipe Lopez
CF Dexter Fowler
C Yorvit Torrealba
De la Rosa
Basically the same as this year’s
Whatever minor leaguers work their way to the bigs in Spring Training.
This is a very rough outline. If anything else pops into my mind I’ll post it.