Waiting Game

There hasn’t been much to report lately. Elmer Dessens is apparently headed for Kansas City, and more power to him. The Royals evidently plan to raise their payroll to $50 million next year, which means there will be at least one more team spending more per win than Colorado next year. Seriously, if the Rockies manage to find one more decent starter, they ought to win about 75 games next season, and I don’t see how Dessens and Reggie Sanders are somehow going to get the Royals more than 60.

If anyone still cares, Wayne Hagin, the broadcaster who went out of his way to disparage Todd Helton last spring, has lost his job with the Cardinals. The Cubs’ comical overpaying of Scott Eyre should prove again the wisdom of Colorado’s plans to extend Brian Fuentes’ contract. Less wise would be giving anything other than a minor-league contract to 40-year-old Jose Mesa. Given the ridiculous prices that even relief specialists are receiving in the current free agent market and that save for Fuentes the Rockies assembled their entire bullpen from waiver claims last year, Dan O’Dowd would be wise to tread cautiously.

CBS SportsLine has offseason checklists for all of the NL West teams. Unfortunately Scott Miller resorts to the usual cruise control reporting that the national baseball media uses with the Rockies; it’s "trade Todd Helton" this and "pitching at altitude" that. Plus he badmouths our Kims. Byung-Hyun and Sunny were our second and third best starters last year, thank you very much. Miller does stress continuity, which I approve of, but minus several points for the gratuitous Barmes/vension gag. A companion piece has nice things to say about Fuentes.

The Rockies seem to at least nominally still be in the running to acquire the services of Matt Morris, a useful starter whose price tag probably won’t be out of control thanks to his injury history. They’re competing (according to ESPN Insider) against the Royals and Mariners, both of whom should be significantly less competitive than Colorado next year, and Texas, the other place (besides here) where pitching goes to die. Morris is adjusting to life without a blazing fastball by concentrating on sinking stuff, and his double play and groundball/flyball numbers from last year look interesting. He’ll give up homers but he hasn’t walked too many recently. He’s worth a look at the right price, in short. If the Rangers remain somewhat gunshy from the Chan Ho Park blooper signing, Colorado could sneak in there. If the Rockies were able to sign Morris and bring back Byung-Hyun Kim, that would mark the first and second times in franchise history that Colorado acquired an above-average starting pitcher as a free agent for a reasonable dollar figure. And you know we’re all about moral victories around here.

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