Diving into the depths: Colorado Rockies

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Colorado Rockies
Rotation
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Aaron Cook
3. Jorge De La Rosa
4. Jason Hammel
5. Jeff Francis
6. Jhoulys Chacin
7. Greg Smith
8. Tim Redding
9. Franklin Morales
10. Greg Reynolds
11. Samuel Deduno
12. Chaz Roe
13. Christian Freidrich
Colorado’s rotation is a strength, even though neither De La Rosa nor Hammel can be counted on to be as effective again. I really like the depth. If Chacin’s command improves a bit, he’ll fit in nicely as an injury replacement, and Smith, who was effective for the A’s as a rookie in 2008 before arriving in the Matt Holliday trade and missing most of last year, could prove to be pretty good insurance.
Bullpen
1. Huston Street
2. Rafael Betancourt
3. Manuel Corpas
4. Franklin Morales
5. Matt Daley
6. Matt Belisle
7. Juan Rincon
8. Tim Redding
9. Justin Speier
10. Jhoulys Chacin
11. Randy Flores
12. Casey Weathers
13. Jimmy Gobble
14. Shane Lindsay
15. Al Albuquerque
16. Esmil Rogers
The Rockies made an attempt to sign free agent Kevin Gregg, but they should be OK as is in the bullpen. Five spots appear to be locked up, and there are plenty of veterans around to battle for the two openings. Plus, Taylor Buchholz could return from Tommy John surgery in June.


Catcher
1. Chris Iannetta
2. Miguel Olivo
3. Paul Phillips
4. Paul Lo Duca
5. Michael McKenry
First base
1. Todd Helton
2. Jason Giambi
3. Brad Hawpe
4. Ian Stewart
Second base
1. Clint Barmes
2. Melvin Mora
3. Eric Young Jr.
4. Omar Quintanilla
Third base
1. Ian Stewart
2. Melvin Mora
3. Omar Quintanilla
4. Jonathan Herrera
Shortstop
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Clint Barmes
3. Jonathan Herrera
4. Omar Quintanilla
Mora was an interesting choice as the new utilityman, given that he’s 38 and he hasn’t started a game at a position other than third base since 2003. Still, he’s a nice complement to Stewart, and the Rockies do have the option of going to Barmes at shortstop in the event of an injury to Tulowitzki. If that happens, they’d probably be better off with Young at second than with Mora.
Left field
1. Carlos Gonzalez
2. Seth Smith
3. Ryan Spilborghs
4. Eric Young Jr.
5. Jay Payton
6. Matt Miller
Center field
1. Dexter Fowler
2. Carlos Gonzalez
3. Ryan Spilborghs
4. Eric Young Jr.
5. Jay Payton
Right field
1. Brad Hawpe
2. Ryan Spilborghs
3. Carlos Gonzalez
Rather than trade Hawpe or Spilborghs, the Rockies opted to keep all five of their outfielders. My suspicion is that the Rockies would be better off with Gonzalez in center and Smith in left against right-handers, but Smith will probably take a backseat initially. They’ll probably go with a bench of Smith, Spilborghs, Olivo, Mora and a second utilityman. Quintanilla could be the choice, since the Rockies won’t want to carry someone who would be better off getting at-bats in Triple-A.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.