Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rockies owners open their wallets, sign Betancourt and Street

Hey Rockies fans, you got your wish.

Dick and Charlie Monfort, owners of the Rockies, proved many fans wrong on Tuesday, opening their wallets and locking up closer Huston Street to a three-year deal and Rafael Betancourt to a two-year pact.

Ever since the failed signings of Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton way back in 2001, the Rockies have been reluctant to shell out big money deals. Because of this, Rockies fans have generally held the position that the Rockies would never be consistently good and that anytime they developed a good player in their system, they would simply be traded away when the time came to sign them long-term.

When Matt Holliday was traded to the Oakland Athletics before the 2009 season, the skeptics were as loud as they had ever been. It was the first time since the club enacted their new philosophy that they had raised a true super-star, and instead of dishing out the cash, the club traded him.

That move, however, is proving to be an aberration, more of a move done because Holliday's agent, Scott Boras, was determined to get ridiculous money for the slugger.

On Tuesday the Rockies locked in Street for three years, with a deal worth $22.5 million. Betancourt's deal is for two-years, paying him $7.55 million.

Instead of going to arbitration with the two relievers and watching them walk away after 2010, the Rockies ownership group quieted their critics by committing to the two, non-homegrown players, for more than a single season.

While the Rockies' philosophy may not be perfect, allowing players like Troy Tulowitzki, Ubaldo Jimenez and others that are locked up long term to walk away and collect huge contracts elsewhere once they are done with their contracts in Colorado, this method ensures that Rockies fans will be able to watch their favorite stars for as long as possible before they are wrangled away by big money contracts by teams residing closer to a coast.

The philosophy of signing their young stars to long term deals may not ensure a player is a Rockie for their entire career, but it slows down the revolving door that most skeptics suspected would be the case until the Rockies were sold.

These deals go beyond what Rockies fans have seen in the last few years as far as locking in players through their arbitration years. The deals with Street and Betancourt step above and beyond simply signing young players coming through the system for deals that are more favorable to the club.

If there are still questions about the Monforts being cheap, look no further than immediate complaints that the Rockies overpaid for Street. Since 2001 the complaints have not been about the Rockies overpaying for a player, it has been the exact opposite.

The Rockies front office is proving to fans and skeptics alike that they are indeed committed to winning and that they are willing to spend the money to make winning happen.

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  1. I love this deal and in general what the Rockies are doing. Holliday and Fuentes are going to be making $26 million combined next year. Street and CarGo are going to be making about $8 million. If you were to give me the choice between which two I wanted next season without even considering money, I honestly would have a hard time choosing. When you consider that they are saving $18 million it's a no brainer.

    And I just looked up Ubaldo's contract. Absolutely brilliant. He is built to pitch in Coors and correct me if I'm wrong had the best season for a starter in Rockie's history last year for a starter.

  2. Schruender,
    That is a great point about what Holliday and Fuentes will be making. The money might be a little high for Street, but after his '09 season I don't think it is crazy money.
    I know for one, I wouldn't trade Carlos Gonzalez straight across for Matt Holliday. I think Holliday is a great hitter, but Gonzalez is younger and a better baseball player.

    Jimenez's contract was an absolute steal. Four years for $10 million and two club options after that. He is only going to continue getting better and has shown potential to be one of the best pitchers in the league. I honestly could see him as a Cy Young candidate this year.

    Thanks for the comment. Good to hear from you.