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NL West Offseason Review: Colorado Rockies

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Relevant Transactions:
Re-signed C Yorvit Torrealba to a two-year contract with a mutual option for 2010
Signed RHP Luis Vizcaino on a two-year contract with a club option for 2010
Signed RHP Kip Wells and LHP Mark Redman to one-year contracts.
Signed RHP Aaron Cook to a four-year contract through 2011 with a mutual option for 2012
Signed RHP Manny Corpas to a four-year contract with club options for 2012 and 2013.
Signed SS Troy Tulowitzki to a six-year contract
Signed OF Matt Holliday to a two-year contract
Signed INF Marcus Giles to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Colorado's offseason looks a lot like the Giants'. They did a whole lot of nothing. Unlike the Giants, doing nothing makes a lot more sense for the team. They have a core of young players already in place, and the team is actually decent, so standing pat isn't nearly as bad of an idea. However, the Rockies are not nearly as good of a team as they think they are, and they needed to work to improve to be truly competitive in the NL West

A lot of the Rockies success last year came from three things. Health, an over achieving back end of the rotation and a lights out bullpen. None of these three things are likely to repeat themselves. The only major players the Rockies lost for a significant amount of time were Willy Tavares and Aaron Cook, and it's not as though losing Tavares is much of a blow, especially when you have Ryan Spilborghs. This is not something that's likely to happen again.

While the Rockies have a fairly talented top end of the rotation with Cook, Jeff Francis, and Ubaldo Jimenez the dross they ran out there for the remainder of the season all worked out really well. Every pitcher who started more than one game for the Rockies except for Elmer Dessens had an ERA+ of at least 97. When this is a group that contains Josh Fogg, Jason Hirsh, Rodrigo Lopez, Franklin Morales, Taylor Buchholz and Mark Redman, there was some very good fortune smiling down on the Rockies. This is also not something that is likely to happen again.

Finally, Colorado had a lights out bullpen last year, headlined by Brian Fuentes, Manny Corpas, Jorge Julio, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Herges and Jeremy Affeldt who all put up sub four ERAs working in Colorado. Out of these guys, only Fuentes might transcend the middle reliever tag, and some of them, like Hawkins and Herges are actively bad. Since you might as well pick a number at random to project middle reliever performance, it's really unlikely that the Rockies will find five strong middle relievers again.

The Rockies aren't a horrible team by any means, they have by far the most fearsome offense in the division and a decent staff in any division but the NL West, but they aren't an 89 win team like they were last year. If their luck evens out, they're more of an 84 win team, and that's just not good enough in this division. The Rockies should have been trying to actively improve their club this offseason, and instead signed two useless veteran pitchers to replace the equally useless Josh Fogg, and gave second base to either a non prospect, or NRI Marcus Giles. The Rockies have the means to go get someone like Mark Ellis this, and they didn't take it.

On the plus side, they wrapped up their two best players, Troy Tulowitzski and Matt Holliday for at least the remainder of their arbitration years at well below market value, but their extending spree went a bit too far. Aaron Cook is a nice pitcher at Coors, but he struck out 3.31 per nine last year, so I don't know how much longer he has left. I certainly wouldn't commit four years to him. Manny Corpas' contract isn't worth much, just eight million as its base salary with a lot of escalators, but he's very much a middle reliever and there's a good chance they won't really want the guy after this year.

The Rockies have a talented core and a solid farm system but they don't have the development systems the Dodgers and Diamondbacks do, leaving them in deep trouble in the future.  They needed to strike now while they could still overwhelm their rivals offensively, but they did absolutely nothing to improve a mediocre team that caught a lot of breaks last year.

Overall Grade: D