Why don't the Rockies go ahead and convert [Juan] Nicasio to a reliever going into Spring Training?
The Rockies want to keep watching Nicasio, because they realize he was rushed to the bigs after only two months at Double-A so there is plenty to learn. The other thing is, you can always take a pitcher who is conditioning for the rotation and slip him into the bullpen. If you condition a pitcher for bullpen work and then decide to put him in the rotation, he won't have the necessary arm strength.
Curious as to why you left [Frank Thomas] off your ballot but voted [Jeff] Bagwell first ballot last year?
I feel Thomas is worthy of the Hall of Fame. I also feel Tim Raines and Lee Smith deserve the nod. The ballot, however, limits 10 players, and I had to make tough decisions on who to leave off. The big factor for me with Thomas is that he played a majority of his games at designated hitter. I have nothing against the DH rule, and I actually feel it adds to subtle strategy in the game. Yet when it comes to either/or, I am going to lean toward the guy who played in the field as well as hit. As for Bagwell, he was a complete factor for the Astros, in the field and at the plate. As one of the game's better defensive first baseman, he also was an impact hitter who played a lot of his games at the Astrodome, a hitting graveyard.
What is the status on Ubaldo Jimenez? Is he going to re-sign with the Indians?
Jimenez has indicated that he's still after a four-year contract, seeking a deal in excess of $60 million. The Indians would like to bring him back, but not at those years and dollars. Most likely, Jimenez will remain in limbo until the Masahiro Tanaka situation is settled. The idea would be to get teams that lose out on Tanaka interested, and then try to get them bidding against each other.
Have you spoken to Todd Helton lately? This season will be hard not seeing him play.
I have not. With the National Western Stock Show under way, I would imagine I will run into him. He has a strong friendship with Binion Cervi, whose family is the stock contractor for the rodeo. Helton also is a member of the National Western Stock Show Association. Rockies fans will be lost without him. He's one of only two regular first basemen in franchise history, having taken the spot over from Andres Galarraga.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.