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Friday, May 21, 2010
Rockies on lookout for second baseman


Troy Renck on how the Rockies might address their single crying need:

When contenders have weak spots, they naturally pop up in roster talk. Spoke to a major league source tonight who said that the Rockies would have interest in second baseman Kazuo Matsui when he clears waivers. Matsui struggled mightily with the Astros this season, losing his starting job before getting jettisoned Wednesday night.

The Rockies have a history of taking chances on no-risk, high-reward veterans. They did as much with Matsui in 2006, and he was a critical component in their 2007 World Series run. But those around the Astros said his bat has really slowed down. If the Rockies put him in Triple-A for depth just to get a look, that would make some sense.

Fox Sports reported Thursday night that the Mets have also contacted the Rockies about second baseman Luis Castillo. The Rockies will be connected to second base rumors as long as Clint Barmes continues to struggle offensively.

At some point, you have to make a move.

But the Rockies aren't at that point yet.

Especially considering their (supposed) options.

Regarding Matsui, I'm having trouble imagining the "high reward." He's 34, and he's got a .267/.321/.380 career line. Yes, he was valuable to the Rockies three years ago, but 1) it was only 104 games, 2) he wasn't that good, and 3) that was three years ago. Matsui was lousy last year, and lousier this year. Much lousier than Barmes, even.

Luis Castillo is 34, too. He's getting on base reasonably often -- that's been the hallmark of his long career -- but he's got zero power and his preseason projection was roughly the same as Barmes'. Which doesn't mean he wouldn't be an upgrade; maybe there's just something wrong with Barmes. But before trading even one thin prospect for Castillo, you'd want to be reasonably sure that Barmes isn't just going through a routine slump.

It's easy to focus on Barmes, because second base is the Rockies' only glaring deficiency (I'm assuming that Seth Smith and Dexter Fowler will eventually start hitting again). The rotation seems set, now that Jeff Francis is back, and the bullpen looks decent enough if Jim Tracy can resist the temptation to work Manny Corpas and Matt Belisle into the ground.

Barmes is exactly the sort of player you replace if you can find someone who's both better and reasonably priced. But I don't believe that Matsui or Castillo qualifies at this point.