Weiss says 'time is right' for Tulo to lead club
Rockies manager says shortstop showed he could handle role in '13
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki earned a reputation as a prodigious team leader when the Rockies went to the World Series in 2007. But that team had several veterans who had been through enough ups and downs to be the team's main compass, and Tulowitzki has spent the years since buffeted by older pros such as Todd Helton and Jason Giambi.
Now with Helton retired and Giambi heading into his second season with the Indians, Tulowitzki, 29, enters 2014 as the senior player in terms of games played in a Rockies uniform. Manager Walt Weiss believes Tulowitzki has developed the skills it takes for the difficult task -- being the physical and inspirational leader of a team full of players with different personalities and skills.
"I think the time is right for Tulowitzki," Weiss said. "I think it's somewhat of a perfect storm at this point in his career. I think he's seven years in, and he's ready for that. With Todd leaving at this time, I think, like I said, it's all lined up for Tulowitzki to take on more of a role that way. And he did that last year. I thought he took great strides in that area last year."
Part of leading for Tulowitzki, a three-time All-Star Game participant, is avoiding injury. The team went from contender to one headed for last in the National League West after he suffered a rib cage injury last season, and leg injuries had been issues in the past.
"It's tough when you get hurt, and he's had to deal with that stuff; that wears on you mentally," Weiss added. "But I thought he really stepped up last year as a leader and was a great encourager to some of our young guys, and that's going to be needed again."
Monitoring hitters, Rockies more likely to add to 'pen
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While the Rockies continue to monitor free-agent hitters such as Michael Morse, who could provide corner power, and Michael Young, more in a veteran utility role, they are more inclined to put resources into late bullpen help.
An attempt to acquire the Reds' Sean Marshall was iced because of concerns about his left shoulder, and on Wednesday it appeared Jose Veras was moving toward a deal with the Astros and righty Joaquin Benoit had priced himself beyond the Rockies' comfort zone. But lefty J.P. Howell was a target, along with Oliver Perez and Scott Downs, the Denver Post reported.
The search for someone to join righty LaTroy Hawkins and lefty Rex Brothers could continue beyond Wednesday's conclusion of the Winter Meetings.
"In general terms, we feel like it would be really good for us to be pitching really well -- we definitely feel like we got stronger out of the rotation and want to get stronger out of the bullpen," Colorado's senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said without discussing any specific pursuit. "When you really dig into the wins and losses, and the clubs that win the most, they tend to be pitching-dominant types of clubs."
If the Rockies land a lefty, it could increase manager Walt Weiss' strategic options. He would have the option to use Hawkins, signed to close, earlier on some occasions and have Brothers pitch the end of the game. But Geivett noted that pitchers depend on having a routine, and for that reason the Rockies would have difficulty deviating from the plan they take into the season.
"It's very difficult for those guys who rely on that consistency in role to perform at their best level," Geivett said.
Club partners with video distribution system PlayerLync
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Rockies announced a partnership with Denver-based PlayerLync -- a system that distributes video and securely collaborates it throughout the organization.
PlayerLync is a technology used throughout the NFL. The Rockies, according to their news release, last season became the first Major League Baseball team to adopt the company's technology that automatically pushes and controls videos, scouting report and more to team-issued iPads.
"It used to be difficult and time consuming to distribute video and scouting reports to anyone outside our building," said Brian Jones, the Rockies' video coordinator. "Now, with PlayerLync's technology, we are able to automatically disperse those videos and reports to the iPads of any player, coach, or scout, no matter where they are. PlayerLync has revolutionized our process, and there's not another technology solution like it."
The Rockies' baseball operations staff uses PlayerLync to provide instant scouting reports with attached video of amateur and pro players, and the baseball operations staff and scouts now can use it outside of the Coors Field offices.
Half the teams in the NFL and numerous baseball, basketball and hockey teams use PlayerLync, which works on iPads and Windows 8 tablets.