With 27 days to go the Baseball juices are flowing within me at a strong pace. Sorry football fans, but I wish I can fast forward to February 14, 2011 (and no it is not for the corporate "holiday" Valentine's Day) which is the voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players. Hurry up and get here already, LOL. Ok, enough of that. Let's get to business.
In recent weeks the Cincinnati Reds, the Colorado Rockies and the Milwaukee Brewers have done right by both their teams and their fans by locking up some of their young talent and trading for important pieces to help them compete in 2011. Let's look at the Reds first.
- Cincinnati Reds
The 2010 National League Central Champions have been busy this offseason in signing integral pieces of their team to multi-year deals. Reported earlier today on MLB.com the Reds and the 2010 National League MVP Joey Votto have agreed to a 3-year $38 Million dollar deal. This signing ensures that Votto will be reading Cincinnati Red through the 2013 season. Add the 6-year $51 million dollar contract extension to outfielder Jay Bruce, the 3-year $35 million dollar contract extension to starter Bronson Arroyo with the core group of Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Edison Volquez and Aroldis Chapman make the Reds a team to contend against in a NL Central division that has become a tougher place to play in with the recent improvement of the Milwaukee Brewers. I'll get to the improved Brew Crew in a few.
- Colorado Rockies
One of the most exciting teams in the National League made plans to stay that way for a few more years. Last week the Rockies announced that they have signed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a 7-year $80 million dollar contract extension which keeps him in Colorado through the 2017 season. Add the signings of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a 7-year $134 million extension through 2020, pitcher Jorge de la Rosa to a 3-year $32.5 million dollar contract to the core group of rotation ace Ubaldo Jimenez (signed through 2012 with club options for 2013 and 2014), Todd Helton, Eric Young Jr., Ryan Spilbourghs and Huston Street and we see a team that is poised to contend with the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
My only reservation with the Rockies' moves is that they have invested heavily in Gonzalez who only has two years of experience at the Major League level and in Tulowitzki who has only played in over 150 games twice in his five years in the league. Don't let me rain on their parade, the potential for the Rockies in unlimited with their young studs, hopefully the investment in these players pays off in a big return.
- Milwaukee Brewers
I believe that the Brewers are hoping to go for broke with the moves they made this offseason. Out of the three teams I've profiled here, the Brewers have the most cloudiest of futures. There is no guarantee that superstar players Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder will play together after this season. Management made moves, especially on the pitching front, to make sure that the team is in the best position to compete with the division champion Cincinnati Reds.
The biggest move was the trade for former Kansas City Royals ace Zach Grienke. The Brewers also traded for Toronto Blue Jays starter Shawn Marcum adding him and Grienke to a rotation that already included Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. The Brewers have Braun signed until the 2015 season, outfielder Corey Hart until 2013, third baseman Casey McGehee and second baseman Richie Weeks are both signed for a more years before arbitration kicks in ensuring that the Brewers will have a good core nucleus together for a number of years even if Prince Fielder is traded or decides to leave Milwaukee after this season.
It is good to see some of the teams that people would refer to as being "small market" teams making the effort to invest in their future. Baseball needs more owners who are willing to take the chance and lock up their players ensuring the their teams remain competitive and their fanbases remain interested in their team. Now if the owners of Pittsburgh and Kansas City can take notes as see how it can be done from the small market perspective.
For Further Reading
- Click Here to read Mark Sheldon's article Reds reward MVP Votto with three-year deal from MLB.com dated January 16, 2011
- Click Here to read Thomas Harding's article CarGo hold: Rox ink Gonzalez to $80M deal from MLB.com dated January 11, 2011
- Click Here to read Adam McCalvy's article Greinke trade caps Milwaukee makeover from MLB.com dated December 19, 2010