|Michael Cuddyer needs to be allowed to test the market.|
However, if Dick Monfort and his brother Charlie decide that Dan O'Dowd and company are still the best men for the job in Colorado, then they must be prepared to make some major changes on the field.
If you've followed the Rockies for any amount of time, it would come as no shocker to find out that the club is going to make a strong run at re-signing Michael Cuddyer in the offseason. While the outfielder/first baseman certainly is a very good player, the Rockies have no use for an aging veteran who really has no strong defensive position, and is becoming injury prone.
Since coming to the Rockies as a 33-year-old, Cuddyer has missed the better part of two of his three seasons in purple pinstripes. His first season saw him miss time with an oblique injury, as well as leg issues. In 2014, Cuddyer has missed time with a hamstring issue, then two months with a broken shoulder, then another hamstring issues.
It would also be typical of the Rockies to pick up the club option for $2.25 million on pitcher like LaTroy Hawkins. The soon-to-be 42-year-old has been arguably the most reliable member of the Rockies shaky bullpen.
The Rockies love signing and re-signing guys like Cuddyer and Hawkins. They claim that both players are great influences in the clubhouse--even if there have been a few rogue stories floating around about Hawkins not necessarily being the positive influence that the Rockies tout. However, it really isn't the right choice, especially when the Rockies are in as bad of shape as they currently are.
As much as every Rockies fan wants to root for good guys, who are good people, that cannot be the only focus of the club when they are looking for players to fill the many holes that have been exposed in the 2014 season for the Rockies.
Cuddyer is certainly easy to root for. He hustles, he takes good at-bats, he speaks openly and honestly with the media, and he seems to be a good influence on the younger players on the team. Even with those positives, the Rockies need to allow him to find a new home in the offseason.
This team simply cannot afford more players who spend a significant amount of time on the disabled list. They already have so much money invested in two players who are both going to fall short of 100 games apiece for the second consecutive season. Having a bunch of money wrapped up in another aging player who is most likely going to be back on the DL again in 2015 isn't wise.
In Cuddyer's case, the issue is that the Rockies have enough players in their system and on their current roster that it doesn't really make sense for them to not allow those players the opportunity to show what they can do. They need to see what Kyle Parker can do at the big league level. They have seen that Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon are good enough to be everyday players, and frankly, Drew Stubbs is making re-signing Cuddyer look like it would be a terrible idea.
The Rockies also need all of the good pitchers that they can get. Hawkins has been good enough to be considered a good signing at this point. However, the idea of a 42-year-old having two consecutive good seasons isn't a really something that is dependable. At this point in Hawkins career, the idea that he will continue being a valuable contributor to a bullpen isn't sustainable.
Dick Monfort is on record as saying that the Rockies have the best minor league system in all of baseball. If that is the case, it is time for those prospects to start contributing. This is the time where the Rockies can save some money on veterans like Cuddyer and Hawkins and allow their young (and cheap) prospects to contribute at the big league level.
With 100 losses hanging in the balance, the Rockies must make decisions that don't seem easy. They must stop doing what they are so accustomed to doing and break free from the typical moves that have been a part of this organization for so long. They must take a chance at letting their clubhouse favorites go and be alright with creating a new culture in the clubhouse. Clubhouse culture is important, but when a team loses close to 100 games, how much influence are these veterans really having.
The Rockies must start figuring out what it is going to take to be winners. If they are going to stick with the same front office, they must change their way of thinking.
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