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There are many fans of the Colorado Rockies out there who simply don't understand how the organization works. They think that the team should be in the running for free agents like Cliff Lee. They believe they should trade their top prospects for players whose contracts are over $10 million per year. The Rockies tried that. It didn't work.
The Rockies model has proven to be successful. However, if they want to be viewed as more than just a middle-of-the-pack team by both the experts and the online betting world, they must make moves that do not require them to simply bank of their current group of players performing better the next year.
That does not mean that the club should go out and pay a ridiculous amount of money to keep Jorge De La Rosa. Shelling out money does not equal success. A player is not going to play better simply because they have a bigger bank account, nor should they be expected to.
The hot stove season has just begun. The Rockies still have plenty of time to make a move. However, the early signs from the club are eerily familiar. After 2007, when the Rockies stunned the baseball world and found themselves in the World Series, the offseason was filled with very little. Dan O'Dowd brought in very little proven talent. He signed Kip Wells and Josh Towers to fill the role of fifth starter.
It was easy to believe that the Rockies would naturally get better. Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales and Manny Corpas were all figuring to get better with more maturity and experience under their belt. The one thing that the Rockies failed to remember was that Mark Redman was slotted to be the No. 3 starter. Redman had a good run with the Rockies down the stretch but was with the Rockies because he had been released twice before landing at Coors Field.
There is a fine line for the Rockies. There model is clear. They are never going to be in the market for big name free agents again. What that means is that they have to take chances on veterans and other players who might seem to be washed up. Finding those players is not easy and is quite risky. O'Dowd, however, has had quite a bit of success in finding diamonds in the rough in recent years.
Banking on Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Chris Iannetta to simply perform better, while watching Jorge De La Rosa walk away from the club and not finding someone to fill his role, is like crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. There must be some sort of padding if the plan fails.
That may be Kevin Kouzmanoff. That may be resigning Melvin Mora for a little bit more money than what the club would like to commit to a 38-year-old. It may even be resigning Miguel Olivo as a fall back in case Iannetta doesn't perform like his talent has suggested he would be playing like five years ago.
Whatever it is, the Rockies cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the '07-'08 offseason when they sat on their hands and found themselves leaning on Kip Wells and Josh Towers.