Mailbag: What's in store for the Rockies?
MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby answers questions from fans
The Rockies have changed their leadership. Is there a bigger change looming in the clubhouse? Does MLB have change on its mind in terms of the schedules? And what's about to change with Hall of Fame membership?
Readers have these issues on their minds, and Tracy Ringolsby (@TracyRingolsby) offers his opinions in this edition of MLB mailbag.
Do you see MLB ever going back to a balanced schedule? Maybe play all teams? -- Craig Melville (@COcubbiefan)
Craig, personally I hope they never try a balanced schedule again. I like the idea of extra value assigned to playing within your division. The key is to prove you are the best in that division, so you should have to beat the teams in your division to finish in first place. To try and play each of the 29 other teams every year would really dilute the schedule. I don't see it happening, but then I was against the Wild Card and Interleague Play.
What do you know about Rockies' new GM? Contrast him with Dan O'Dowd. -- Kelly Steiner (@KellySteiner3)
Kelly, Jeff Bridich is a Harvard grad, but not really the stereotype. He is the son of a high school football coach in Milwaukee. He is one of the young guns who came onto the scene in recent years, but is different than many of them who have gained GM jobs. Bridich was never one to politic for media exposure, hoping to parlay that into a quick rise. He might come across a bit standoffish. But from my dealings with him, I'd say that is more a quiet personality from someone who is unobtrusive. He is intelligent, a good student of the game and did catch four years at Harvard. He keeps more to himself than O'Dowd did. But I think, like O'Dowd, he is good at examining situations and learned well from his time working for O'Dowd. That's not all bad. There is a strong backing in baseball for the efforts of the Rangers' front-office tandem of Jon Daniels and Thad Levine, both of whom cut their teeth with O'Dowd.
How do the Rockies become contenders? Move CarGo or Tulo? -- Wyoming Uniforms (@WYOUNIFORMS)
The best way is for Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to be healthy enough to play 145-plus games and provide that middle-of-the-lineup impact. That, however, has been a challenge because of assorted health issues. As things have developed, the daring thing would be to trade both of them in search of salary relief -- which means there's a good chance five years from now fans will talk about how the team didn't get anything in return. The key to that, however, would be opening up payroll to address areas of concern, sort of like when the Rockies traded Larry Walker. Over the years, folks may have looked back and said they got nothing in return. What will be overlooked, however, was by moving Walker they saved $2 million in salary, which provided scouting director Bill Schmidt money to sign Dexter Fowler the day before he was to head to the University of Miami. So you could say the Rockies acquired Fowler in that deal and also had salary space opened for the coming years.
As GM, what would you want/give for Tulowitzki? -- Michael Pozonski (@grandjunction)
If I was the GM of another team, I would be careful in how much I gave up. The hip flexor surgery can present some problems. I would say a return on Tulowitzki would be limited if the Rockies are looking for payroll relief. If they are willing to eat salary, however, a team will be more willing to give up quality to take a gamble. It's fun to watch Tulowitzki play, offensively and defensively. Watching him play, however, is what concerns other teams. He turned 30 in October, and has averaged 88 games the last three years. He has not played in 150 games since 2009 and has done it only twice in eight full big-league seasons. There have been suggestions about moving him to another position, but I don't know if that helps. He's not going to play a laid-back style because he is at first or third. There will still be the quick movements and he will still show range, because that's how he plays.
If you were the Phillies' GM, where do you even begin to fix this situation? -- Cody Tucker (@sewyopoke)
Cody, sometimes you need to take a deep breath and brace yourself for a few tumultuous seasons while you replenish. The Phillies need to get their focus back on drafting and player development. They could speed up their rebuilding process if they would trade some of their older players with sizable contracts to contenders, who are likely to overpay in terms of prospects for immediate help.
Who do you see as first-ballot Hall of Famer this year other than Randy Johnson? -- Paul Hesco (@paulhesco)
Paul, Johnson would be the one lock from the group of first-time eligible players. I can see Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz getting strong support, but not likely 75 percent. I only say that because there are so many solid holdover candidates that voters will have to sort through.