|Welcomed Matt Not in Front of Fans|
Written by Paul Keen (Contact & Archive) on January 04, 2009
While December and January usually mean tourist rush and ski season out here in Colorado, residents of the Mile High city have other things on their mind.Â Of course baseball fans everywhere are all abuzz about Oakland doing its thing to make a grab at the 2009 title, but poor little Denver is left out of the hype.Â Matt Holliday was, if not the best, at least one of the most popular players on the Colorado Rockies.Â Any way you slice it, the Rockies have kind of a huge hole to fill for the 2009 season.Â Not that Holliday was always going to be a permanent fixture, but now Hurdle and the front office need to figure out what to do to make it happen in Denver this year.
So where does one start with that?Â The answer for the Rox seems to be young blood.Â Let's start with a break down of the trade.Â What is the going market price for a Matt Holliday?Â One relatively seasoned pitcher, one not-so-seasoned pitcher, and one not so seasoned outfielder.Â
Getting good pitching is an essential for the Rockies.Â Not just now, but always.Â Huston Street has shown himself to be a worthwhile pitcher in the A's organization for the past four seasons, and with any luck will continue to do so in Colorado.Â Greg Smith however leaves something to be desired.Â Having not a great rookie season (finishing with a 4.16 ERA and 1.345 WHIP), Smith has a lot to make up for in 2009.Â Which is not to say his so-so performance in Oakland will mean he falls flat on his face in Denver.Â It could be his break out season this year.Â The bad news?Â Denver is very unkind to pitchers.Â Even with its humidified balls and extended outfield walls, Denver is a town where getting a hit is easier than you might think.Â
For those uninitiated, Mile High City isn't just a clever name.Â We actually are a mile high (elevation 5,280 feet).Â This makes for thinner air.Â Thinner air makes it easier for objects to travel through the air.Â The Broncos have used this to their advantage for a while.Â But enough science and football.Â Even the best pitchers in Denver have a rough time keeping their ERAs down.Â Management is well aware of this and won't hold it against them, but it could hold them back personally when we're talking about careers.Â Best of luck to the both of them.
Of course pitching is good, but not when it's "replacing" Holliday.Â Since rosters aren't set, there is no way of knowing who will be the solid left fielder at Coors Field, but the A's did give up Carlos Gonzalez.Â While Gonzalez is young and his batting average is not as high as one would like it when losing a player like Matt Holliday (Gonzalez averaged .242), it's good because it's a starting point and not an ending point.Â He came out strong last year with two doubles in his MLB debut and 73 hits at 85 games.Â The number that makes me the happiest as a Rockies fan is the 26 RBIs, which means he doesn't have to knock it out of the park.Â Clint just needs to put him somewhere good in the batting order to make it happen.Â
And bad news for pitchers means good news for hitters.Â Since he's young he has time to develop and will definitely be able to improve his average at Coors Field.Â The question is, Will he go up or down.Â That's always the question, and you always hope up, but you still can't help asking.
Colorado is also calling up some of its younger players to make it happen for them in the infield.Â Chris Nelson and Eric Young, Jr. (son of 1993 Rockies original Eric Young) are going to be in Arizona this spring to see if they can't snag a spot with the Rox.Â While both are infielders, they are hot news out here in Denver and will hopefully give the Rockies a little bit of a spark to bring them up to speed.Â There is also a lot of buzz around Chris Ianetta and the question of whether he can handle the Majors is out there.
All of these things are just pure speculation and minor league numbers don't necessarily hold up in the Show.Â But pure speculation is what gets all of us baseball fans through the winter.Â So why not ask the impossible to answer questions and throw in your two cents? One thing is for certain, when Vail and Steamboat Springs melt again you will find the Denver locals at Coors Field hoping that the Rockies can pull off another miracle season. Only this time they wonâ€™t have the help of one of their favorites, Matt Holliday.