Friday, June 5, 2009

Rockies Rumors: Is Spilborghs Going To The Braves?

Ryan Spilborghs went into Spring Training as the Rockies starting center fielder. There were questions about his range and ability to start on a daily basis, but the club was willing to give him the job to lose.

The Rockies, however, were not planning on being surprised by Dexter Fowler enough to put him on the roster.

After Fowler's spring, it was clear that he did not need any more seasoning in the minors. However, the key to Fowler being on the big league roster was the fact that he would need to get consistent playing time in order to continue his development.

This seemed to be a bad sign for Seth Smith, who was going to be the everyday left fielder. Smith was pushed to limited duty and Spilborghs moved to left. Eventually Matt Murton was called up to be the fifth outfielder.

On Thursday night it was announced that Murton had been sent back down and Carlos Gonzalez, the centerpiece of the Matt Holliday trade, had been called up. In two months of play at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Gonzalez has 59 RBI's.

Although it seems like an easy swap, an outfielder for an outfielder, it is not quite that easy. Gonzalez is in the same boat as Fowler. If he is going to be on the team he needs to be getting consistent at-bats in order to gain the Major League experience that he needs to thrive.

That means that Spilborghs most likely moves to the fifth outfielder roll.

ESPN's Rob Neyer says "...if Spilborghs is now a fifth outfielder, I suspect that Dan O'Dowd is going to be getting a lot of phone calls, perhaps the first of them from Frank Wren (general manager of the Atlanta Braves).

The move may be the most sure sign that the Rockies front office is ready to shake up the team. Spilborghs is well known for being a favorite in the clubhouse and in the bleachers. His laid back personality is one of the factors sited in the Rockies run to the pennant in 2007.

Spilborghs is not having a bad season, but he may be the odd man out as he is approaching his 30th birthday in September and has yet to establish himself as an every day player. So far in 2009 he is hitting .263 with five home runs and 25 RBI's.

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