2012 NL West Offseason Review: Colorado Rockies

Our next stop in our tour of the National League West brings us to the Colorado Rockies. Here is a look at the offseason for the Dodgers' mile high foes, who were extremely busy during the winter.

Five Questions

Colorado Rockies
2011 Record: 73-89
Division Finish:
Fourth Place, 21 GB
2012 at Dodger Stadium:
May 11-13, Aug 6-8, Sep 28-30
2012 Dodgers at Coors Field: Apr 30-May 2, Jun 1-3, Aug 27-29
SB Nation coverage: Purple Row
SB Nation Denver

1) When will Jorge De La Rosa be back?

Likely some time in early June.

The southpaw who was a key cog for the 92-win playoff team in 2009, with 193 strikeouts and 16 wins in 32 starts, has made just 30 combined starts in the last two seasons. He underwent Tommy John surgery last season and is on a strict rehab program that has him throwing only bullpen sessions now.

The Rockies are trying to harness the competitiveness in De La Rosa that caused him to downplay an arm injury for a whopping eight starts before he was finally shut down in late May.

"It was real cold that day in Pittsburgh, and I felt something in my arm," De La Rosa told Thomas Harding of MLB.com last week. "I said it was a blister and they took me out of the game. I told them I would be OK. But I was not. It was weakness. The next day, I felt pain when I woke up."

Harding reported that the Rockies don't expect De La Rosa to throw a pitch for the major league team until late May or early June, which is about two months earlier than the Dodgers are expected to get their De La Rosa back from Tommy John surgery, knock on wood.

2) Was Marco Scutaro the steal of the offseason?

As much as a 36-year old making $6 million can be, sure. Scutaro is a shortstop by trade, but the Boston Red Sox felt the need to shed salary (not a phrase heard often in the last decade or so) and the Rockies were more than happy to oblige. To complete the trade Colorado sent fungible pitcher Clayton Mortensen to Boston, leaving Clayton Kershaw one player away from ridding the National League West of his namesakes.

Scutaro, who has accumulated between 12.7 (FanGraphs) and 13.3 (Baseball-Reference) wins above replacement over the last four seasons, will play second base for the Rockies. He hit .299/.358/.423 in 113 games for the Red Sox last season, and has a .350 on-base percentage since turning 30, averaging 54 walks per season for the last six campaigns.

Depressing Rockies Stat:
Jason-giambi-dodger-stadium-getty_medium
Jason Giambi had more home runs (13) in 2011 than James Loney (12) and Andre Ethier (11), in about a quarter of the plate appearances.

3) Will Kevin Slowey put a framed Colorado Rockies jersey in his game room?

I can still remember being flabbergasted when learning that Reggie Jackson played a single season for the Baltimore Orioles, and envision a similar fate for someone 20 years from now when they ask, "Wait, Kevin Slowey was a Rockie?"

Slowey's time with the organization was just 45 days, but a cursory glance at his Baseball-Reference page will be confusing as he never threw a pitch for the Rockies. Colorado traded pitcher Daniel Turpen to Minnesota on December 6 for the arbitration-eligible Slowey, who was a candidate to be non-tendered by the Twins. Then on January 20, perhaps after wondering how badly a homer-prone fly ball pitcher might fare at Coors Field, the Rockies pounced on Cleveland's need to replace the former Fausto Carmona and dealt Slowey and $1.25 million to the Indians for Zach Putnam, a 24-year old reliever with nearly a strikeout per inning in his minor league career.

4) Am I rooting for Jamie Moyer to make the Rockies in spring training?

Absolutely!

There are few things in baseball that would please me more than a 50-year old pitcher, and Moyer's chances of pitching at 50, in 2013, would be greatly enhanced by him pitching and pitching well in 2012 at age 49. I was in attendance at Petco Park in April 2006 when 47-year old Julio Franco broke a nearly 76-year old record to become the oldest player in MLB history to hit a home run, and I was wondering why people in my section didn't know who Jack Quinn was. Moyer won't be setting any records, but the milestone is still cool enough to strive for.

Moyer, who began his career when Tommy John was still an active major league pitcher, hasn't pitched in a big league game since June 2010 after having Tommy John surgery himself nearly two years ago.

I simply want to continue to watch a pitcher who had Davey Lopes and Ron Cey as his starting third basemen in his first and second big league games, respectively.

5) Will the Rockies need to wear name tags during spring training?

General manager Dan O'Dowd was a busy man this offseason, making 10 trades involving at least one major league player since the season ended. As noted yesterday by Andrew T. Fisher at Purple Row, a whopping 15 of the 25 players (60%) on the Rockies' 2011 opening day roster are already gone, including four-fifths of the starting rotation (well, until they get De La Rosa back at least) and eight of 12 pitchers.

In case you were wondering, 11 of the opening-day 25 for the 2011 Dodgers are no longer with the team.

Offseason Moves

Rockies Trades, Etc. This Winter
Team Traded Acquired
Phillies Ty Wigginton if
$2 million
PTBNL or $100,000
Angels Chris Iannetta c Tyler Chatwood rhp
Dodgers Jamie Hoffmann of (claimed off waivers from LA)
Twins Daniel Turpen rhp Kevin Slowey rhp
Padres Huston Street rhp
$500,000
Nick Schmidt lhp
Cubs Ian Stewart 3b
Casey Weathers rhp
Tyler Colvin of
D.J. LeMahieu
Rangers Greg Reynolds rhp Chad Tracy 1b
Athletics Seth Smith of Guillermo Moscoso rhp
Josh Outman lhp
Indians Kevin Slowey rhp
$1.25 million
Zach Putnam rhp
Red Sox Clayton Mortensen rhp Marco Scutaro if
Orioles Jason Hammel rhp
Matt Lindstrom rhp
Jeremy Guthrie rhp

Scutaro was a salary dump by Boston that Colorado was more than happy to pounce upon, but that was just won of a slew of trades by Colorado during the offseason...so far.

Rockies Contracts Signed This Winter
Pos Player Type Total Contract 2012 Salary
OF Michael Cuddyer FA 3-year, $31.5m $10,500,000
C Ramon Hernandez FA 2-year, $6.4m $3,200,000
3B Casey Blake FA 1-year, $2m $2,000,000
1B Jason Giambi Opt $1m mutual option exercised $1,000,000
RP Rafael Betancourt Ext 1-year, $4.5m + option $4,000,000
RP Matt Belisle Ext 1-year, $4.35m + option $3,775,000
SP Jeremy Guthrie Arb 1-year, $8.2m $8,200,000
OF Dexter Fowler Arb 1-year, $2.35m $2,350,000

Colorado also signed pitcher Jamie Moyer and infielder Brandon Wood, among others, to minor-league contracts.

Rockies Players Lost
Pos Player New Team
RP J.C. Romero Cardinals
2B Mark Ellis Dodgers
SP Aaron Cook Red Sox*
OF Ryan Spilborghs Indians*
OF Cole Garner Yankees*
SP Kevin Millwood Mariners*
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff Royals*
*Minor league deal

Here's my guess as to the Rockies' 25-man roster, with a few assumptions mixed in:

2012 Rockies Under Contract
Pos Player 2012 Age* 2012 Salary
C Ramon Hernandez 36 $3,200,000
1B Todd Helton 38 $4,900,000
2B Marco Scutaro 36 $6,000,000
3B Casey Blake
38 $2,000,000
SS Troy Tulowitzki 27 $8,250,000
LF Carlos Gonzalez 26 $5,000,000
CF Dexter Fowler 26 $2,350,000
RF Michael Cuddyer
33 $10,500,000
1B Jason Giambi 41 $1,000,000
IF Jonathan Herrera
27 team control
OF Tyler Colvin 26 team control
OF Charlie Blackmon 25 team control
C/IF Jordan Pacheco 26 team control
SP Jeremy Guthrie 33 $8,200,000
SP Jhoulys Chacin 24 team control
SP Juan Nicasio
25 team control
SP Tyler Chatwood 22 team control
SP Drew Pomerantz
23 team control
CL Rafael Betancourt 37 $4,000,000
RHP Matt Belisle 32 $3,775,000
LHP Rex Brothers 24 team control
LHP Matt Reynolds 27 team control
LHP Josh Outman
27 team control
RHP Esmil Rogers 26 team control
RHP Zach Putnam 24 team control
DL Jorge De La Rosa 31 $10,000,000
Totals (13 players)
$69,175,000
*Age as of June 30, 2012

It's hard to pin down the Colorado bench, rotation, and bullpen, as there are several candidates for spots. Chris Nelson, Eric Young, Jr., and D.J. LeMahieu are all vying for bench spots, and Guillermo Moscoso, Alex White, Josh Outman, and Christian Friedrich all have shots at rotation, if not bullpen spots.

In addition, the Rockies are paying $2 million to Philadelphia to cover half of Ty Wigginton's salary, $1.25 million to Cleveland as part of the (second) Kevin Slowey trade, and $500,000 to San Diego to cover part of Huston Street's salary.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com and Cot's Baseball Contracts. Jason Giambi photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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