Normally I would feel bad about myself after taking an entire week off from Bad Altitude to eat Chex Mix and take naps on my parents' sofa in suburban Chicago, but what can you honestly say I missed? The Rockies haven't made any news this week, as a few more of the big-ticket free agents and several more midrangers signed their names on the dotted line. No representatives from either group will be reporting to Tucson next February to play with Colorado, at least as of this writing. Don't expect many breakthroughs here.
Rockies management does seem to be taking a more-aggressive-than-usual approach towards keeping the current horses in the stable. Garrett Atkins is a long way still from free agency ('06 was just his second full year), but Colorado wants to lock him up in the same fashion they have Jeff Francis. It remains to be seen how well that will go, given the extensions third basemen like David Wright and Aramis Ramirez have signed in this past year. There's no downside to Dan O'Dowd being overambitious in Atkins' case, however. Concerns over Garrett's first-year arbitration figure are not going to force the Rockies into a bad trade this year. The negotiations with Jason Jennings, as we've written, are much more fraught with peril. Management figures and beat reporters alike have been very circumspect reporting on the status of a possible Jennings extension. We do our best to read between whatever lines present themselves, and it seems to me as if the odds in favor of a new Jennings contract are better than you might think. The tone Jennings and his agent seem to be taking is "we want to be here, we just don't want to get ripped off," which is a long way away from "we're going to see what the market is." "We're going to see what the market is" basically means "we're leaving," unless there turns out not to be a market, which obviously wouldn't be the case for a durable and efficient starter like Jason Jennings. We'll continue to monitor it, but if all parties are amenable to continuing negotiations even into the 2007 season, which they are, that's what's probably going to happen.
More interesting still, if you believe the Post and the redoubtable Troy E. Renck, is word that the Rockies will make at least a token effort to retain Brian Fuentes' services beyond 2007. This comes as a bit of a surprise given the hysterical overvaluation of relief pitchers in general, left-handed relievers in particular, and left-handed relievers with multiple double-digit save seasons in extra particular. I don't know how serious these talks are; it may well just be common courtesy on Dan O'Dowd's part. If we do begin to see more market-level extensions given veteran Rockies players, it may be the first welcome sign of a shift from a "rebuilding" economic model to a "contending" profile.