Rockies sign has-been’s to Minor League deals…everyone relax!

Paul LoDuca last played in the big leagues in 2008.

Paul LoDuca last played in the big leagues in 2008.

In the past few days the Rockies have signed Paul LoDuca and Jay Payton to minor league deals.  They are reportedly going to watch Eric Gagne work out as well.

Rockies nation is up in arms.  Comments on newspaper websites and popular Rockies blogs are full of confused fans.  Why would the Rockies sign another catcher when they have two on the roster, one waiting in the wings in the form of Paul Phillips and two more top prospects on the farm named Mike McKenry and Wilin Rosario?

Why would the Rockies sign another outfielder when they already have a logjam in the big leagues?

Just relax everyone!  These moves are strictly for depth.

Paul LoDuca will not be competing for the Opening Day job behind the plate.  Eric Gagne will not be the closer on the Opening Day roster.  Jay Payton will not be manning left field for the Rockies in 2010.

Rockies fans are being baptized in the next generation of success.  That success brings them to a place where instead of signing the Jay Payton’s of the world and giving them a shot at cracking the 25 man roster, they can bring in a guy like that and plant him in Colorado Springs just in case the worst case scenario happens.

It is not smart to strictly rely on youthful talent.  It is great to have two top prospects waiting to fill in behind the plate, but the fact is, the jump to the big leagues is a much larger jump than what most people would expect.  One sure fire way to ruin a prospect is to throw them into the fire in the middle of a playoff race.  To put that kind of pressure onto a 22 or 23 year old kid is not the smartest move, not only for the development of the player, but also for the team in the race.

Even though Mike McKenry would be a better player today than Paul LoDuca, the fact is, LoDuca has been in a playoff race before.  He has had success at the big league level and would not be thrown into the deep end if, in fact, the Rockies need to call upon him.

There is no reason that the Rockies should not make these signings.  If the players are indeed washed up, no big deal, simply cut them and send them on their way.

If they have a little bit left in the tank, give them a chance at the Triple-A level and if something major happens at the big league level, they become a stop-gap who has some experience on the big stage.

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Tags: Colorado Rockies Dan O'Dowd Eric Gagne Jay Payton Paul LoDuca

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  • Johnny D

    Good take but these moves still seem unwarranted. In LoDucas case he was accused in the Mitchell report to be connected with HGH. It was said he also introduced 4 or 5 other players to steroid dealer Kirk Radomski. Ironically one of those other players was Eric Gagne. LoDuca is a former all-star but after the world caught on to the steroid era in baseball injuries ironically took their toll… likely from steroid use. At age 38 and one year removed from baseball this is a head scratching move in my opinion.

    As for Jay Payton the only question is why? The Rox have one of the more deep outfields in the league. Spilly, Gonzo, Smith, Dex, Hawpe, and EY Jr is still sitting it reserves down in the Springs. While I dont care for the LoDuca signing this one makes less sense.

    Eric Gange – At age 33-34ish I personally think there is potential for him to still compete. Im not sure how much competition he seen with the Quebec Capitales, but if the Rox deem he still has some juice in his arm… no pun intended. Then I wouldn’t question this move as much as the other two. I also respect the fact he’s never denied taking HGH like others and quite frankly Im not really the person to judge what someone does to their body. That said throwing him down south with influenza 20-somethings is something the Rox will have to monitor.

  • i am whaleman

    Hm. I have to disagree, Señor Ginger. First of all, the “has been in a pennant race” card is a talk radio mantra that has little-to-no application in real (baseball) life, especially considering that last year’s entire squad “has been in a pennant race.” Second, there is no reason to trust an organization that refuses to put its absolute best lineup out there by refusing to trade Brad Hawpe. Finally, the decision to sign Melvin Mora (Melvin Mora!) to a guaranteed deal (rather than the spring training invite he so richly deserves) while continuing to forsake the O-
    Dog is, frankly, unforgivable.

  • David Martin

    I have to disagree. Although all of the members of the ’09 Rockies have playoff experience, my point was more about the plan in case someone goes down. Are you going to entrust your prospects who are young and never had that experience, or someone who has been there and done that.
    While I agree that Hawpe is not one of the best three outfielders the Rockies have, there is no reason to think that he won’t explode back onto the scene this season. He very much deserved his All-Star appearance, and if he hadn’t slumped so badly in the second half we would be talking about how we could lock him up well into free agency.

  • David Martin

    Also, I like the signing of Mora. Why does he deserve a Minor League invite? He is way better than Orlando Cabrera, who they were in the running for. I would have loved to see Orlando Hudson here, but he wants $9 million. Maybe that price drops, but you can’t wait forever.

  • i am whaleman

    If it were me, yeah, I would trust the young guns to keep making their way to the top and avoid the San Francisco Giants/Dusty Baker school of playing washed-up losers over promising young guys. And I like Hawpe, but how is MLB’s 2nd-worst defensive outfielder (according to UZR) over the last three years who was worth negative WAR in 2008 and after the ASB in 2009 worth more to the Rockies (in terms of dollars) than Dex, CarGo, Smith, Spilly, and EYJr combined? Hawpe is the guy you sell high on!

    As far as Melvin Mora goes…I think you’re right in that it’s not a BAD signing exactly, but that’s not what they needed. They need a 2nd baseman (which of course is not Cabrera, either), so why throw that money at Mora? Who were they competing with for his services?

    I dunno…maybe I’ve just convinced myself that O-Dog is the missing piece…