Restoring the rosters: No. 7 – Colorado

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This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
No. 10 – Los Angeles (AL)
No. 9 – Toronto
No. 8 – Boston
The Rockies’ presence in the top 10 may surprise many, but they boast one of the deepest lineups of any team and an underrated starting rotation. If only they could do something about the pen.
Rotation
Aaron Cook
Ubaldo Jimenez
Jeff Francis
Jake Westbrook
Franklin Morales
Bullpen
Manuel Corpas
Mark DiFelice
Jamey Wright
Jason Jennings
Sean Green
Matt Daley
Jhoulys Chacin
Cook and Jimenez are both legitimate No. 2 starters, with Jimenez potentially on his way to being something more, and Francis could again jump into the same boat if he’s able to get healthy. Mix in a strong innings-eater like Westbrook and a still promising youngster in Morales and it’s a fine group. The problem is depth. Only untested prospects like Chacin and Christian Friedrich are behind them.
The bullpen is a real problem, but the breakthrough seasons experienced by DiFelice and Daley help somewhat. It’s still a terribly shallow group, and I’m not sure it wouldn’t be a better arrangement to have Morales in a key late-inning role and Chacin in the rotation.
Lineup
2B Chone Figgins
1B Todd Helton
LF Matt Holliday
SS Troy Tulowitzki
RF Brad Hawpe
C Chris Iannetta
3B Ian Stewart
CF Dexter Fowler
Bench
OF Juan Pierre
INF Garrett Atkins
INF Craig Counsell
OF Ryan Spilborghs
C Josh Bard
How about that for a nice top-to-bottom lineup? Two legitimate stars hitting third and fourth and two more players with 900 OPSs this year in Helton and Hawpe. The top six are all clearly above average regulars, and Stewart and Fowler aren’t far away from fitting into the same category. Plus, just look at the bench. Pierre and Atkins could resume playing regularly next year, and Counsell’s solid OBP and excellent defense make him very valuable. It’s such a strong group that Seth Smith, Clint Barmes, Jody Gerut and Jeff Baker all failed to win spots.
Summary
7th out of 30 in developing talent, yet never once first out of five in the NL West race. In 16 seasons, the Rockies have finished second twice. Since the Diamondbacks made it a five-team division in 1998, they’ve finished fourth or fifth nine times in 11 years. Of course, things have gone a lot better lately. The Rockies lost the World Series in 2007, and after a very disappointing 2008, they’re back in contention now. Still, it shouldn’t have taken so long. A ballpark that made it incredibly difficult to win on the road took a heavy toll, but so did poor management. GM Dan O’Dowd used to pick a plan and stick with it for a good three weeks or so. I’m still not completely convinced that shouldn’t have gone in a different direction long ago, but O’Dowd has done more good than harm the last few years. The Rockies are in fine position for the future if they keep their current pieces in place.

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.