Purple Row is SBN's Colorado Rockies fan site, and is a clearinghouse for everything Rockies related. Andrew Martin is the Managing Editor and was kind enough to give us his current measure of the market as well as some insight into the mind of Rockies fans:
MLB Daily Dish: What do you think about the Rockies off-season so far? More or less than you expected? What is the team's next most-pressing need?
Andrew Martin: If you’re asking about sheer volume of moves, I’d say more than I expected. As for returned value, I’d say much less for the cost. The Rockies are trading with a vengeance and/or chip on their shoulder, and anyone not nailed down/dirt cheap/Todd Helton is in danger of losing their job.
As for the most pressing need, I’d say either 2B or 3B. Both positions were absolute black holes in 2011 (Well, Mark Ellis wasn’t all that bad) and just rife with disappointment, between Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, and Ian Stewart, there was a lot to hate about those positions.
AM: The right price? Well, the right price seems to be that magic number where if Beltran DOESN’T pan out (assuming the Rockies hypothetically signed him), they’ll get the sympathy commentary ("Well, at least they took a risk. That says a lot for their front office.") without being lambasted over making the signing, period ("How could ANYBODY pay that much for CARLOS BELTRAN?!"). Frankly, I would’ve taken some of that Cuddyer money and put it toward Beltran.
MLBDD: What was the fan reaction to the Cuddyer signing? Did they pay too much?
AM: What timing! Most fans love the signing. Cuddy is a consummate professional, works hard, used to play for Minnesota, you know, the whole 9 yards.
As for overpaying, the short answer is yes, they probably overpaid by about $1.5-2M per season.
Long Answer: In a different sense, they paid probably a smidge more than they’d have liked, but they weren’t just paying for baseball production. The Rockies said "Cuddyer is our guy. We’ve had enough of low-average/high-SLG batters (Stewart, Iannetta, Willingham), we’ve had enough of unaccountable boys (Stewart, Smith, Street), and we’ve CLEARLY had enough of guys that Andrew Martin supports (Iannetta, sort of Stewart, Smith)". He’s kind of the embodiment of the culture change that the organization is looking at. If this team starts to go out there and play like they know they need to earn it, I’ll call the money well spent.
MLBDD: Considering that, how much more does the team have to spend -- $20M or so? Is that enough to get what you want?
AM: Jeff Aberle estimated that the team had likely $15-$20 to spend under their expected budget, and then they dropped roughly $10 of that on Cuddyer. It still leaves room to work with, but it’s doubtful that they go out and sign Kuroda or whoever. Given the way this market has suddenly exploded for young, cost-controlled pitching, I’d wager they won’t be overly active in any major trades, either. Well, not like SUPER major anyhow, because Martin Prado is still a target.
MLBDD: You have your finger on the pulse of the Rockies fanbase, and even though you're a fan as well, is there one common misconception about the team that should be corrected? Is the humidor doing its job? Is having good guys on the roster more important than winning? If Tebow could play baseball would you want him on your team? Would you mind him kneeling at the 2-bag after a particularly spirited double?
Oh man, that’s like a dozen questions. Or 4.
Common misconception is that the ownership is cheap. They locked Cargo and Tulo up to big contracts, just signed Cuddyer to the largest FA contract since... well, you know who... and haven’t raised ticket prices in like 4 years. If we’re going to criticize ownership, criticize their aversion to risk on an outside player rather than just being "cheap". 24/30 teams in baseball can’t sign the Pujols’ and Cliff Lee’s and whoever else. We are the 80%.
As for the humidor, yeah. I’m not gonna say that it’s suddenly turned Coors Field into Dodger Stadium, but HR numbers are far more reasonable now, and a flyball pitcher can survive in Coors. Pitching style is now more reliant on defense than just "oh my god, every fly ball is going to land on I-25 because it’s Coors Field".
Regarding Tebow: Yes yes oh my God yes. It’s not that I think he’s particularly good, but oh man, he’s the biggest sports troll in forever. Everyone would be SO angry about him for whatever reason. Seriously though, in Sports terms, he has a good attitude and works REALLY hard. He and Tulo would be like training buddies or something. Not to mention Jersey sales, along with the "lol rockies are a christian team only and heathens need not apply" meme.
Kneeling? Well, I don’t think he’d have time after the slide, but sure, why not. Do your thing, timmy. He’d be like the Anti-Timmy Lincecum. Lincecum pitching to Tebow would cause a quantum singularity at home plate and the universe would come to an end. Come to think of it, given that possibility, no, I don’t want Tebow anymore.
MLBDD: Let's say you're running Rockies PR. Tell my why the team makes the playoffs next year.
AM: Folks, Michael Cuddyer is made of MAGIC. We have collected a squadron of Josh Fogg-caliber pitchers to all fight for the #5 rotation spot, and this new hard-working infield is going to scrap and claw their way into the postseason, as well as into your hearts.
Again, many thanks to Andrew Martin of Purple Row. Go check it out now!