Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Meetings yield plenty of activity for Colorado Rockies, team comes home better

The Rockies were unexpectedly very active at the winter meetings.
At the end of the day, the Colorado Rockies came home from the Winter Meetings in Orlando as a better team.

That isn't to say that anyone is so excited about the moves that they are grabbing their cell phones, checking odds and placing bets on sites like MLB Mobile Spreads would be a huge exaggeration. However, the fact that the Rockies were active throughout the meetings came as a surprise to most.

When looking at a Major League Baseball team, it is easy to look at each move in a vacuum. It is easy to over-analyze every last move and decision and forget that there are certain things that go on behind the scenes that none of us will really ever know.

To say that the way the Rockies operate is a headscratcher is an understatement. No move, good or bad, comes without eyebrows being raised and questions needing answered.

Since the month of December began, the Rockies have unloaded Dexter Fowler for next to nothing, they have traded Drew Pomeranz, the centerpiece of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade for Brett Anderson, an oft-injured pitcher with phenomenal potential. They have signed Justin Morneau to shore up the hole left at first base by Todd Helton's retirement, and paid lefty reliever Boone Logan $16.5 million over three years to give their bullpen some much-needed help.

When push comes to shove, the reality is that the Rockies are a better team going into the 2014 season than they were in 2013. The club perhaps overpaying for Logan isn't something that fans should be upset about, as some have shown. The Rockies paying market value and being the winning bidder on any player in the free agent market that had several teams vying for their services is something to be applauded.

Morneau isn't the same guy who won the 2006 American League MVP award. However, he brings a bat that could thrive at Coors Field and a stability at first base that should allow the Rockies to platoon less than they have in the past. That alone would bring a much-needed consistency in the lineup that should help this team.

Logan is a situational  lefty who is the beneficiary of a market that has exploded with additional TV revenue that increased the price on nearly every free agent. However, if Logan can take innings away from Josh Outman, and allow the Rockies to ease Rex Brothers into what should eventually be him taking over as full time closer, than it is worth the investment.

Anderson represents the biggest opportunity for the organization to prove that they know what they are doing. The lefty has been hurt of late, but is still just 25-years-old and was a top prospect who made his big league debut at 21 for a reason.

The moves don't put the Rockies over the top. They simply improve a team that lost 88 games a year ago and gives them several reasons to believe that they can play above .500. However, progress of any kind is better than the same old run around that the front office gave it's fans over the past two seasons, blaming a lack of leadership in the clubhouse and pretending like the team was a player or two away from being contenders.

The reality for the Rockies is that ownership has bought into the plans of this front office. The trust has been extended, and something major will have to happen for that to change. For a Rockies fan that is skeptical about the front office, that represents a crossroads. At some point, to root for this team, they have to decide if it is worth buying into what the front office is doing, or find something else to occupy their summer nights with.

The frustration comes from the fact that this team doesn't seem bent on winning. They seem like they want to win, but they don't demand it. Much like a household project that was done quickly because a good TV show was coming on that couldn't be missed, the Rockies front office continues to do patchwork on the leak and cross their fingers that it will hold up.

Essentially, the way the Rockies have bought into building a baseball team is that they provide enough talent that, if everything goes exactly right, if everyone stays perfectly healthy and all of the stars align, they will make a run at the postseason. Frankly, that is tough for fans to sit back and buy into. Fans want a consistent demand to win. They don't want to hear about market size or budgets, they want to see a team that plays hard and wins.

It is going to take a bunch of wins to convince the mass of skeptics that the past two seasons of Colorado Rockies baseball have created.

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