The Rockies are next in our Offseason In Review series.
Major League Signings
- Rafael Betancourt, RP: two years, $7.55MM.
- Miguel Olivo, C: one year, $2.5MM. Includes $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout.
- Jason Giambi, 1B: one year, $1.75MM.
- Melvin Mora, 3B: one year, $1.3MM.
- Total spend: $13.1MM.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Joe Beimel, Jimmy Gobble, Tim Redding, Juan Rincon, Justin Speier, Paul Lo Duca, Jay Payton, Travis Metcalf, Robby Hammock, Brad Eldred
Trades and Claims: None
- Huston Street, RP: three years, $22.5MM. Includes $9MM player option for 2013 with a $500K buyout.
- Todd Helton, 1B: two years, $9.9MM. Rockies also saved money via deferrals and new 2011 salary.
- Chris Iannetta, C: three years, $8.35MM. Includes $5MM club option for 2013 with a $250K buyout.
- Ryan Spilborghs, OF: two years, $3.2MM.
- Garrett Atkins, Yorvit Torrealba, Jason Marquis, Josh Fogg, Joel Peralta, Alan Embree, Glendon Rusch, Jose Contreras, Matt Herges, Matt Murton, Mike McCoy
Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd focused most of his offseason efforts on the bullpen and bench, with the lineup and rotation already in good shape. He also locked up four of his own players. Let's take a closer look.
Betancourt was the main offseason splash. The Rockies acquired him from the Indians in July and enjoyed 25.3 dominant innings. That was enough to convince O'Dowd to take the plunge with an arbitration offer to the Type A free agent, though he declined Betancourt's $5.4MM club option first. Betancourt played it safe and accepted the offer, and the Rockies worked out a two-year agreement a couple months later. Betancourt turns 35 soon and has been dealing with shoulder inflammation, so this was a risky signing.
The risk of the Betancourt signing was balanced out by a slew of minor league deals to once-effective relievers. It's likely that a few of these work out, and the Rockies end up with a pretty good pen.
Tacking two, possibly three extra years on to Street's deal was unnecessary. Street dealt with biceps inflammation in September and now faces shoulder issues. A one-year deal in the $8MM range made more sense. As dominant as Street was in 2009, closers aren't getting paid like this anymore.
The Rockies want Helton to retire a Rockie, but did they need to commit to 2012 and 2013 now? A reworking of Helton's previous monstrous contract provides short-term financial relief, a necessity after O'Dowd committed $11MM to Street and Betancourt for 2011. The Iannetta extension was a clear bargain, though it was surprising to see the Rockies pick up Olivo a few weeks later for a 2010 job-sharing arrangement.
Offensive changes were unnecessary, as the Rockies' offense stacks up with any team in the NL. They might have the game's best fourth and fifth outfielders in Seth Smith and Spilborghs, and the bench was further solidified with Giambi and Mora.
It will be difficult for Jeff Francis to replicate Marquis' 216 innings of 4.04 ball, though letting the latter go and taking a draft pick was the right move. Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge de la Rosa, and Jason Hammel form an underrated front four.
Though O'Dowd overindulged on extensions, the 2010 Rockies have few weaknesses and should be in the thick of the playoff hunt once again.