We haven't talked a lot about what this offseason will bring for the Rockies. Why? Because most of you aren't going to like it. Dan O'Dowd felt that heading into last year he had his core for the next several seasons assembled; annoyingly, he was right. The few veterans whom Colorado doesn't have under contract and thus must compete with other teams on the open market to re-sign are all going to leave. Yes, all of them. That means Kaz Matsui, Jeremy Affeldt, Josh Fogg, and Yorvit Torrealba, who has a free-agent deal with the Mets all but signed.
Since our memories are still tinted by the magic of Colorado's September run, it's going to be hard not to overreact to these forthcoming losses. Part of me wants to throw out all logic and chastise O'Dowd for letting Yorvit go: the man was the team's best hitter in the clutch (relative to his abilities the rest of the time) all season long and combined with Matsui as the hitting star of the NLDS. But the fact of the matter is that Torrealba failed to stick in San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle, three organizations where plus catching hasn't been easy to come by in recent years, and he's going to be 30 next year -- by the end of the three-year, $15 million contract the Mets are said to be offering Torrealba, he'll be bumping right up against the age at which most catchers completely lose their value.
Clint Hurdle has had a recurring tendency to play a known-quantity veteran catcher over a higher-ceilinged prospect. Some of you long-term readers may remember the year of Danny Ardoin and J.D. Closser, which was about as angry as I'd ever been about a Rockies' playing-time decision before Willy Taveras came into all of our lives in 2007. In the instance of Torrealba and Chris Iannetta, Hurdle was actually right. Iannetta wasn't ready for the majors in 2007, and just because a lot of his Colorado Springs teammates were ready to make the leap wasn't a great justification for having him cool his heels as Yorvit's caddy for most of the season. We'll see what comes of Iannetta the full-timer in this coming season. It also looks like the Ian Stewart: Second Baseman plan is more than a mere idle threat to drive up the bidding for potential Garrett Atkins trades.
Potentially, the Rockies could do nothing this offseason except watch some guys leave. Is that a bad thing? The roster they have had a pretty good season last year, and next season with more at-bats for Stewart, Ryan Spilborghs, Jeff Baker, and Seth Smith and fewer for the likes of Jamey Carroll and Steve Finley they should be all right. However, just because Colorado has switched phases from rebuilder to contender doesn't mean O'Dowd should forget about all the good value he has turned up digging in dumpsters for finds like Fogg, Affeldt, Matt Herges, and Rodrigo Lopez. One potential free-agent bargain this year has a real familiar name -- Jason Jennings.