It's Possibly More Productive Than 68 Hours of Phish Shows
by Mark T.R. Donohue
It seems like we've reported on this before, but several people e-mailed me this morning about this story involving the Rockies' use of video iPods to study game footage. I knew that Todd Helton was one of the first guys to start having his at-bats loaded onto his iPod, but apparently the Rockies as a club are ahead of the curve in this and other franchises are starting to take notice. Assistant video coordinator Brian Jones grabs guys' mp3 players out of their lockers during games so he can keep them up-to-date. Among the enthusiastic subscribers to Jones' service are Jason Jennings, pictured with his snazzy black iPod model, and Jamey Carroll. So that's what got into Jamey Carroll. Apparently Dontrelle Willis left after the Marlins' recent trip into Denver with his brain buzzing about the possibilities of the system Jones and the Rockies have set up, which evidently extends to Colorado's minor league instructors and scouting staff.
Does that mean the Rockies have an inside edge on a possible deal for Dontrellemania? Well, according to Jayson Stark, it's not likely that Willis will be traded, although Colorado is one of at least ten teams that has asked about him. The other big rumor currently circulating connects the Rockies with Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford, a rising young power/speed guy who has stated his intention to become "the greatest fantasy player of all time." I imagine fantasy owners who already have a hold of Crawford in mixed leagues would salivate at the prospect of the lefty playing half of his games at Coors Field. Crawford has played mostly left field in St. Pete but would be a huge upgrade over Cory Sullivan in center for Colorado. We've already read a lot of reports identifying TB's new boss Andrew Friedman as a lot easier to deal with than the late, lamented Chuck LaMar. However the Rays want three or four players for Crawford (who is, it should be noted, playing on an extremely reasonable long-term contract through 2010), most of whom would be pitchers. The Rockies have some outfielders and middle infielders who might be of interest to Tampa Bay -- with the emergence of Carroll and the deal for Kaz Matsui, Clint Barmes and/or Luis Gonzalez ought to be expendable -- but are reluctant to let go of pitching prospects Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, and Juan Morillo. If the Devil Rays can be talked down into accepting maybe just one pitcher, one current major leaguer, and a useful but blocked Rockies minor leaguer like Ryan Shealy or Jeff Baker, Crawford would be worth getting. The Angels seem to be their main competition with regards to Crawford. Ervin Santana is the name being bandied about there, but it's not clear whether that's who Anaheim is offering or that's what Tampa wants. I think the Angels aren't really in any position to be buyers this year, but on the whole young, promising pitching is more scarce than young, promising hitting so I wouldn't make that deal.
It's nice that the Rockies are in a situation this late in the campaign where the idea of adding talent to make a run this year isn't ludicrous. The trade deadline is a ways off still and they might as well keep playing with the group they've got, which isn't bad, and see where they are in a few weeks. Judging by Stark's list, the trade market this year could be brutally lean, meaning that the large number of teams still in hailing distance of contention could wind up in cutthroat competition to overpay wildly for what few semi-appealing names emerge. Here are the good names from the Stark shortlist: Jeff Weaver, Craig Wilson, Jeromy Burnitz, Bruce Chen, Reggie Sanders, Oliver Perez, Jose Guillen, Chris Reitsma, Kyle Lohse. Yeah, no thanks.