Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Who Wants These Guys?
2005-10-23 15:54
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Dave Krieger has kind of a bizarre column up on the Rocky Mountain News site. I think he's trying to ridicule the Colorado organization for not spending money hand over fist (since that's worked so well for them in the past), but by going through the list of available free agents and dismissing them all as too expensive, he proves a point opposite to the one he's trying to make. There's really nobody on the free agent scene this year worth the dough they're going to get. And since the big money teams are all going to be fighting over what second-rate talent is available, the cost for guys like A.J. Burnett or Johnny Damon is going to be outrageous.

Krieger's claim that Hunter would "hit 30 points higher in front of Todd Helton" is totally unsubstantiated. Hunter would hit for a higher average with the Rockies...because of Coors. But he's injury prone and was never that great offensively. The Yankees are going to trade for him and give him an outlandish extension, making the same mistake they made with Bernie Williams. Oh, those wacky Yankees.

And listen to some of these other names! Neifi Perez? Brad Ausmus? Eric Young? Jeff Cirillo? These are the exact kind of guys budget-conscious teams like the Rockies have no business getting involved with. Why pay two or three million dollars for Neifi Perez when Omar Quintanilla will do the same thing for the minimum? How is Jeff Cirillo better than Garrett Atkins? Does Brad Ausmus have magical powers of hypnotism that have convinced the entire world he's not a mediocre player who owes his career longevity basically to inertia? The Rockies wasted money on Dustan Mohr and Desi Relaford last year, guys who took playing time away from the young players we need to evaluate and played so badly in the first half we couldn't even flip them for interesting prospects at the deadline.

Oddly, Krieger fails to mention the one guy who does make a certain amount of sense for Colorado -- erstwhile Padres backstop Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez won't come cheap, but we're not talking Ivan Rodriguez money here, despite the fact that Hernandez is now better both offensively and defensively than Pudge. A Danny Ardoin/Hernandez platoon would not be bad at all, assuming Dan O'Dowd can't pry white whale Kelly Shoppach away from Boston. Ardoin could catch the younger pitchers and flaunt his vaunted game-calling and defensive skills. Hernandez could bring his bat into the games started by the vets. And J.D. Closser? Well, the dude never really got a chance. It's a cold world.

If the Rockies could somehow get a superstar -- a Vlad Guerrero or a Manny Ramirez or a Miguel Cabrera -- and demurred because the cost was too great, now that would be cheap. Paying $3 or $4 million for a .250-hiting infielder when there's half a dozen guys in the farm system who can do the same thing for essentially free is a good way to run an organization into the ground. Neifi Perez! That'll be the day.

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