If you’ll excuse my crossing sports for a moment, consider the Denver Nuggets. They are a team with lots of building blocks and lots of talent (unlike the Rockies). But like the Rockies, they have proven talent in certain areas and a lack of talent in others.
Take point guard Ty Lawson. He is a super speedy and dynamic playmaker. His game is far from perfect and in many ways he is still finding his way, but the point guard position is covered in Denver. So imagine this conversation between two Nuggets executives prior to the 2012-2013 season:
“So…what should we look at acquiring to improve our team?”
“Well…we are in dire need of somebody who can stretch the floor. We need somebody who can knock down 3-pointers.”
“I see what you’re saying, but let me run this by you: how about we look for another speedy point guard, or maybe two of them?
“Interesting. Go after something we definitely do not need. I like it. Let’s look for more fast point guards!”
That would make no sense, right? Yet that’s not too far from the conversation that I imagine led to the Rockies’ decision to pursue late relievers and closers at the recently commenced winter meetings. In Troy Renck’s report, you will find a who’s who of everybody and anybody who might be available to close games: the recently-traded Jordan Walden, the recently-almost-traded Wilton Lopez, Joakim Soria, former Rockies great Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan, and Peter Moylan. The Rockies have spoken to some of these pitchers, while others are included as speculation. Nevertheless, that is quite an extensive shopping list for something the Rockies definitely do not need.
Renck notes that the team is interested in lightening Rafael Betancourts‘ workload because of his age (38). That makes a lot of sense, of course. He was just a pup at age 37 when they handed him the reins at closer and he was successful in that capacity for a full season.
Like I find myself doing so often, I imagine how this conversation looked…
“OK boys! The Winter meetings are upon us! Where are we going to look for starting pitching?”
“We could also use some help at third base and catcher.”
“True. But starting pitching always has to come first right? I mean, seriously, did you see how bad the starting pitching was last year?”
“To be fair, they were trying to pitch at altitude, which is pretty much impossible.”
“Great point. Hey, here’s a crazy idea. Instead of addressing a glaring need, let’s try to get more closers!”
“Hmmm…let’s think about this. Betancourt had a solid season, we already have the closer-of-the-future lined up in Rex Brothers, and we still want to see what we have with Chad Bettis. Not to mention one of the best players on our roster, Matt Belisle. We definitely do not need help in the back of the bullpen. Let’s do it!”
“They don’t call me one of the best GM’s in baseball for nothing!”
Ladies and gentlemen, your Colorado Rockies.