Rockies manager Jim Tracy indicated that both Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco would be in the lineup most of the time the rest of the season, sending veterans Chris Iannetta and Kevin Kouzmanoff to the bench.
Iannetta has a right to be upset by the arrangement. Among regular catchers, only Alex Avila (.391) and Carlos Ruiz (.371) have higher OBPs that Iannetta’s .370 mark this season. Only Avila (.907), Brian McCann (.843), Miguel Montero (.804) and Nick Hundley (.801) top him in OPS (Iannetta is at .779).
Rosario, in comparison, hit .249/.284/.457 in Double-A this year. He’s just 22 and he has the tools to excel defensively, but he’s likely a big downgrade from Iannetta right now and it’s doubtful he’ll overtake him at any point within the next year or two.
But Rosario is at least a prospect. Pacheco, 25, hit .278/.343/.377 as the catcher for Triple-A Colorado Springs this year. He was originally a middle infielder before converting, and the Rockies intend to give him most of his playing time at third base for now. At best, his versatility could make him a fringe major leaguer.
The Pacheco plan could be taken as a strong indication that the Rockies don’t like what they’ve seen from Kouzmanoff since grabbing him from the A’s earlier this month. Auditioning for a spot in the 2012 lineup, Kouzmanoff has hit .244/.306/.289 with no homers, one walk and 10 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. The Rockies will probably end up releasing him, trading Ian Stewart and going outside of the organization for a new third base solution for next year.
For what it’s worth, the Rockies are also going a bit younger at shortstop tonight, with Chris Nelson getting the start in place of Troy Tulowitzki. That’s likely a one-day thing, though, as Tulo is getting a night off to deal with a sore hip.