For a team that has finished last in the NL West two consecutive years, the Colorado Rockies don’t have much to lose. Perhaps it is the nothing-left-to-lose mentality that has fueled their flurry of offseason transactions. Colorado has turned the page and finally created the appearance of a franchise looking to return to playoff baseball. The Rockies recently acquired Franklin Morales, Drew Stubbs, and completed their deal with veteran Justin Morneau. The addition of Morales, Stubbs, and Morneau complements the addition of closer LaTroy Hawkins, reliever Boone Logan, starters Brett Anderson and Jordan Lyles, and outfielder Brandon Barnes.
Phew, what a list. Denver will be the cover page of new faces new places next season. So what does all this movement really mean for the Colorado Rockies? Well for one, it means that it finally appears the front office has grown bold and is looking to change the direction of the franchise. Often harassed for their lack of spending and questionable deals, the front office has now gained some credibility. Walt Weiss’ three-year contract means he’s got little time to turn things around in Denver. His urgency is the cause of change. These acquisitions will help. Second, it means the Rockies are addressing their weak points, namely the bullpen. With two All-Stars locked in long-term, the Rox needed to start filling holes that plagued them all of last season.
Relief pitching was an Achilles’ heel for the Rox last year. Now it has quickly become one of their strengths. Rex Brothers spent 2013 establishing himself as the crutch of the Rockies bullpen. He now has the addition of Boone Logan, Franklin Morales, and LaTroy Hawkins. All of a sudden the backend of the Rockies bullpen looks to be reliable and can be counted on to close out games.
Despite the excitement around the acquisitions, the best part of the Rockies activity is the names they’ve acquired. For the Colorado Rockies, not being able to acquire big name, big ego players like Robinson Cano is a blessing in disguise. Having acquired guys like Stubbs and Barnes, the Rockies are setting an early theme for Spring Training. Competition. That’s the perfect environment for a young team like the Rockies.
With Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, Brandon Barnes, and Drew Stubbs all competing for a spot in the Rockies outfield next to Cargo, there will come with the competition a great expectation for improvement. Shipping out Jonathan Herrera opens the door for Josh Rutledge and Charlie Culberson to battle for an infield job. Again, more competition. Nothing breeds improvement like competition. And the Colorado Rockies are in need of a lot of improvement.
Bringing on $35 million in contracts, the Rockies now are making the strides, no matter how small, to get back into contention in the NL West. These moves will bring a new kind of excitement to Coors Field come April and appease the thirst for change from fans.
Despite the activity and acquisitions, there are no indications of a return to postseason play for the Colorado Rockies. Having the Dodgers in your division is tough. Having been a state of rebuilding for multiple years now is tougher. With the combination of veteran experience and young talent, the Rox will have more upside than last season. Though they are still a few big pieces away from getting back to October ball, Walt Weiss appears to be leading them in the right direction. At the end of the day, postseason or not, the offseason activity ensures one thing for the Colorado Rockies in 2014; some form of relevance.