John Vandelinder

Photo by John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder: Baseball's winter happenings

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John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder's columns appear Tuesdays and Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail him at jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

— The World Series is long gone and sports fans are settling into football, basketball and hockey.

Despite frigid temperatures, Major League Baseball is in the midst of its most active period as far as player and coach movement is concerned.

During baseball's annual winter meetings, many teams will be wheeling and dealing in the valiant attempt to shore up their bullpens, find that slugging clean-up hitter or catch a diamond in the rough on the rise.

We all know Todd Helton has been the face of Colorado baseball forever. Hopefully, he will remain a constant at first base for the defending National League champions, but it's the other guys I worry about.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd has made the commitments needed to keep the team competitive while in the midst of its current success, which brings a sigh of relief.

The Rockies have put $30 million for three years on the table to pitcher Aaron Cook.

O'Dowd has also said he will make a long-term offer to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, after a stellar rookie year.

Colorado put another $60 million for four years out for Matt Holliday, are working on trading for more pitching with lefties Mark Redman or Glendon Rusch expected to break into the rotation, and Colorado native Shawn Chacon and Octavio Dotel to fill the void left by the departure of Danny Bautista.

Now, Rockies fans should feel fortunate to have ownership and management in place that actually is interested in the "long term."

Boston has aggressively been trying to pry lefty Johan Santana away from the Twins. If that happens - which it probably will with Boston's money - the Red Sox will be stronger than this year's team who just swept its way to the World Series championship.

The Tigers became instant challengers for the American league pennant when they added Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera from the always-having-a-fire-sale Florida Marlins.

What I'm saying is the Rockies aren't fading away after a spectacular run through October.

I spent a few years in Florida as a Marlins season ticket holder, and boy am I glad I moved to an area with a team that isn't rebuilding every year.

Imagine if the Rockies traded Holliday and Tulowitzki for six prospects.

Fans would be in an uproar, leading to fewer spectators at the ballpark, less concessions sold and no money earned from parking, because, well, once again nobody would show up.

Sounds like the Marlins to me.

I now can get behind a team in the Rockies who won't sell out, won't lie down and definitely isn't throwing in the towel.

Finally, baseball's winter meetings mean something again.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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