Filed by: Brad Koesters – Prospect Junkies MLB Corrospondant
Key Additions—Michael Cuddyer, Ramon Hernandez, Jeremy Guthrie
Key Losses——-Huston Street
Lineup—The Rockies made a fairly large splash in free agency by acquiring Cuddyer for 3 years and 31 million. Do I like the deal? In a word, NO. Does he help your lineup, yes, but does he make it that much better considering the money you spent, not in my mind. The focal point of this lineup continues to be Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. Fact is, these 2 are about as dangerous of a 1-2 punch as you are going to find. But adding Cuddyer thinking he can be the 3rd guy is not a smart move. Yes they have Todd Helton, but we know he is in his down years. Hernadez is a nice addition, but not someone you will plug into the middle of the lineup. I just don’t think the Rockies are going to get good impact on their investment. As of now they are counting on Casey Blake as their 3b, meaning that the corners of their infield will not provide much pop. Marco Scutaro is a nice player, as is Dexter Fowler, but neither will be someone you can really bank on to product day in and day out. Did this lineup get better, yes, but not enough to compete in this division.
Pitching—While I don’t like their rotation, I do like that they are committed to some youngsters and appear ready to get them experience. I do like the deal for Jeremy Guthrie, who has good potential but was not able to harness it in Baltimore. Maybe a change of scenery will help him. It will be interesting to see how Drew Pomeranz performs this year, remember he was the center of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last year. Jhoulys Chacin can be electric and has great stuff, but only if he can throw strikes, which was a big struggle last year. Unless someone really takes a big step forward on the back end, there are going to struggle going late into games, therefore turning to their bullpen quite a bit. This is a bullpen who had their closer traded, so everyone’s role became a little more important. Does Rafael Betancourt have the stuff to be a closer, yes, but there is a reason why he hasn’t held that role before. Yes he was great at the end of last year, but I have my doubts it will continue. The rest of the bullpen does nothing to impress me, so I expect with the added workload they will get from a young staff, it will be a struggle for them as well.
Outlook—Earlier I talked about the Cuddyer deal and how I didn’t like it, and I will tell you why. While I think he is a good player, to spend that kind of money made no sense. Go out and get a solid platoon situation for much cheaper, and use the money you have left to upgrade your pitching staff. Ultimately, I just don’t think this team will have enough to compete. As I mentioned earlier, the D-Backs are going to be tough, and I expect the Giants to be back in the thick of things. Sorry Rockies fans, I believe it is going to be a long year in Denver.