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Around the Division: The Offseason of the Colorado Rockies

I wrote a lot of words about the Rockies yesterday because they traded for Jeremy Guthrie. That's the kind of thing that makes you realize it's February. I don't even remember doing it. That's the big fear of the offseason. One minute you're following Twitter, the next thing you know, you're 2,000 words into an Esmil Rogers manifesto, and eventually you wake up behind the back of a Denny's with pockets filled with half-chewed Denver omelettes. The offseason is a cruel mistress.

Gotta get back on that horse, though. The masses demand more Rockies! And somehow, when we weren't looking, they switched out half of their starting lineup.

Marco Scutaro
Michael Cuddyer
Ramon Hernandez
Casey Blake
Jeremy Guthrie
Guillermo Moscoso
Jamie Moyer

Chris Ianetta
Huston Street
Jason Hammel
Matt Lindstrom
Seth Smith
Ryan Spilborghs
Ian Stewart
Ty Wigginton
Mark Ellis
Kevin Kouzmanoff
Boy, this list just keeps going
Aaron Cook
Kevin Millwood

Jason Giambi

That group of acquired players is far more interesting than I gave them credit for when I started this. It's a warty-if-perfectly-fine bunch of position players and a bunch of fly-ball pitchers. This humidor goes to 11, apparently*. Over a third of the Rockies' roster will have turned over by Opening Day.

Still not sure what they're doing, of course. After years of growing outfielders of various quality, the Rockies paid market price for one of the clompingest around. Michael Cuddyer was drafted by the Twins back when MTV was still playing Alternative Nation, and he stuck with the franchise for 15 seasons. He had seasons with a lot of dingers, seasons without a lot of dingers, and all points in between. And if you're a WAR-believer, he's rarely been very valuable. He just gives too much back with his defense. But the spacious Coors Field outfield should help.

You know, with all that new fly-ball pitching.

Not sure what's going on there. But the Rockies' lineup is a hole-free concoction, a rarity in the NL West. I still believe in Dexter Fowler, and if the Rockies can squeeze one more good season out of Todd Helton, Scutaro, Hernandez, and Cuddyer, they could score a lot of runs. I mean, apart from the ones they were already going to score by virtue of the park. Even the 2011 Giants could have scored 400 or 500 total runs if they played in Coors Field for 81 games. But the Rockies have a chance to be a pretty good offense on top of that advantage.

But that Guthrie deal wasn't made to shore up the back-end of the rotation -- if you go by MLB Depth Charts, they'll put him at the top. He'll be thrilled not to face the Yankees and Red Sox -- say, how do the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres stack up, I wonder? -- but he'll probably never be anything more than the Mark Gardner of whatever team he's on. If he's the Opening Day starter, that's pretty telling.

The real plan has to do with Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, and Tyler Chatwood, I suppose. White will probably be in the rotation to start the year. He's a fantastic prospect, though he allowed nine homers in 72 Coors Field at-bats last year, which means that both of us twitch in our sleep because of Coors Field. He even allowed a home run in Petco Park, the first in the stadium's history.

The plan is for the Rockies to have some quasi-homegrown pitching to come up and ruin the rest of the NL West at some point in the next couple of years, with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez sticking around for the next decade to help out. In the meantime, they didn't do anything horribly stupid. A three-year deal to Cuddyer was a little silly, but they acquired gobs of okay players to fill out the lineup. The fly-ball-pitcher-in-Coors gambit is pretty amusing, but they are playing Giants, Dodgers, and Padres for a huge chunk of those games. Maybe that'll work.

With a mix of injurious 20-somethings, questionable 30-somethings, and sketchy pitching, I can't get too excited about the Rockies. Which is good, because I totally don't root for those guys! They sure were busy in the offseason, though.