Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Coffee and Links
2005-05-04 05:49
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Desperate for new storylines in the "Twilight Zone" episode that is each Rockies road trip, the Post this morning tries to stir up bad blood between Damian Jackson, whom Colorado discarded last year, and the Rockies, losers due to Jackson's eighth-inning double. Not so much. To make room for Jackson, the Padres designated Adam Hyzdu for assignment. I thought he was a young guy, but it turns out he's 33. I hear the weather's lovely in Portland this time of year, Adam.

The RMN, bless them, has the answer to our Chris Nelson mystery: another hammy injury. They also note that the hearing on Colorado's attempt to void Denny Neagle's contract will take place this week in New York.

Hey, has anyone besides me noticed that the Brewers are playing pretty well? Milwaukee beat Chicago 4-1 for the fifth victory in a row last night. The Crüe are a team Rockies fans should keep an eye on, as their GM Doug Melvin has done a very nice job of building from within. The Brewers' attitude after years of stagnation has been to wheel and deal with impunity, giving everybody a shot while they wait for their superstar prospects to be ready. With guys like Lyle Overbay, Dan Kolb, and Scott Podsednik, they struck gold, but were unafraid to then spin off Kolb and Podsednik while their trade values were high. If the Rockies could get a haul for Todd Helton like the one Milwaukee got from Arizona for Richie Sexson -- Overbay, Junior Spivey, Chris Capuano, Craig Counsell (now back with the Snakes), Jorge de la Rosa, and Chad Moeller -- they'd really have something. Of course, Sexson didn't have a cartoonishly huge and unwieldy contract attached to his services. But then again Helton is a better player.

What the Brewers have done is isolate their biggest needs -- this offseason it was catcher and a right-handed bat -- and pay the going rate. They gave Damian MIller a market-value contract to catch and traded former waiver claim Podsednik and reliever Luis Vizcaino (another guy they got for basically nothing) for Carlos Lee, a really good player. They were lucky in that Ben Sheets wanted to stay and took below-market money to do so, but one of the reasons that their young pitching stud made that decision was his approval of the direction the franchise is going in. Meanwhile they're saving big on decent to good players like Bill Hall, Brady Clark, and Overbay who are in their cheap pre-free agency period. The concept is the very best of them will get resigned and the others will be replaced from the farm system (Overbay will bring good returns in a trade when Prince Fielder is ready).

The Brewers' pitching isn't yet in a state for them to contend, but one of these years they will be close at the All-Star break and in a terrific position to deal. The Rockies are a year or two behind in terms of young players already established in the major leagues, but their farm system gets good marks from the people who give out such things. The trick now is getting out from under the two really onerous contracts -- Helton's and Preston Wilson's. The harder part will be deciding when to let go of younger guys who might be blocking better players in the minors. Take Aaron Miles...please.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.