1. The return of Manny Corpas
-It remains to be seen if Corpas will be used as the closer, but it's certain that the Rockies will need Corpas circa 2007 if they are going to compete in 2009. Corpas was fantastic in 2007 (2.08 ERA) and it looked as though the Rockies had a rising star on their hand. But Corpas regressed in 2008 and suddenly became very hittable and average. With Taylor Buchholz out until at least the end of May, the Rockies will need Corpas to perform at his peak for the team to stay afloat.
-If there is a pitcher for Rockies fans to be excited about, it's Ubaldo Jimenez. Not only is Ubaldo one of the best baseball names out there, but he has a chance to establish himself as the ace of the staff in 2009. Sure Aaron Cook is great, but Jimenez has electric stuff (including a smokin' heater) and is a master at inducing hitters to hit ground balls. A ground ball pitcher like Jimenez should theoretically thrive at Coors Field (3.31 ERA in '08), which is known to be a hitter's paradise. If Jimenez can gain consistency in 2009, then look for him to become a rising star on the mound for the Rockies.
3. A healthy Tulo
-Make no mistake about it, Tulo is the straw that stirs the Rockies. Without him, the Rockies are a floundering team without an identity. Tulowitzki missed a significant amount of time in 2008 and without him, the Rockies struggled mightily. Tulowitzki's injury plagued season killed any chance the Rockies had to compete in 2008. But when healthy, Tulowitzki is a difference maker. He has the ability to hit around .300 with 20 HR and close to 100 RBI while playing stellar defense. Tulo could become one of the best shortstops in baseball...just stay healthy! Stay away from Bobby Crosby and Khalil Greene at all costs!
-Baseball in Colorado has survived because of this baseball steamer...pitchers can actually pitch in the thin air of Colorado. All hail the humidor!
5. Todd Helton's contract
-The countdown towards financial freedom for the small market Rockies will begin! After 2009, Helton is only signed for another 2 seasons at $35.7 million bucks total! 2011 can't come soon enough...this contract is absurd!
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