On Saturday, the Colorado Rockies shipped Clayton Mortensen to the Boston Red Sox for Marco Scutaro, filling their need for a second baseman and giving them another veteran presence in the clubhouse.
The Colorado Rockies offseason has been unique, to say the least.
For the most part, fans have been disappointed with the Rockies moves, or lack-there-of-moves in since the Cardinals were crowned champions in late October.
Without sitting in the front office and hearing the conversations that go on, without knowing the personality of the players, it is easy to suggest that the team seems confused by what they are trying to accomplish.
However, take a deeper look at what this team has done and the answers are easy to find. The Rockies are less concerned with getting better talent and more concerned with fixing the issues that were present in the clubhouse.
The rift was obvious. Take a look at the comments made in the clubhouse the night that Ubaldo Jimenez was shipped to Cleveland on July 30th. Troy Tulowitzki, the leader of the team, said without emotion that he needed a change of scenery. Without talking about missing a friend, or losing a teammate who had helped them make their run to the World Series in 2007, Tulo seemed almost happy about the trade.
The Jimenez trade was really the beginning of the clubhouse fire sale.
Once the offseason hit, the mission was clear. It was time to get rid of some of the more stoic players and get guys who play hard nose baseball and are willing to do whatever it takes to win.
The team started by trading Ty Wigginton, then Chris Iannetta, then Huston Street, followed by Ian Stewart and finally Seth Smith. Those guys all seemed to lose their focus at times. They were guys who didn't wear their emotions on their sleeves, and players who, in a long and disappointing season, come across as if they don't care whether the team is winning or losing.
Scutaro represents another scrappy veteran for the Rockies to fill a hole with. He is coming off a year in which he hit .299 with 54 RBIs in 113 games for the Boston Red Sox. He is no spring chicken, turning 36 in October.
The acquisition effectively ends the battle for second base come spring training. It is his job to lose. Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, DJ LeMahieu and Eric Young, Jr. will all be fighting for the utility spot, not the starting job.
Overall, it certainly doesn't seem like the team is all that much better on the field than they were in 2011, which was the most disappointing season in franchise history. However, changes in the clubhouse can often lead to players playing harder and playing with an edge. Once April hits, fans will find out if the changes in the clubhouse will make a difference on the field.
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