Thursday, February 14, 2013
By Jason A. Churchill
Reid Brignac, who was once a solid shortstop prospect led by power in his bat and adequate defense, was traded to the Colorado Rockies Thursday and will presumably fight for a roster spot this spring. His competition is fairly strong, however, so his work is cut out for him.
The 27-year-old jumps into the mix with Jonathan Herrera, DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Culberson as the club's main reserve infielder. If Josh Rutledge, the club's second-best option at shortstop based on how they managed without Troy Tulowitzki last season, wins the starting job at second base, Herrera and Brignac become the best bets to fill in if Tulowitzki misses time or needs a day off.
Herrera certainly appears to be the favorite after batting .262 with a league-average .317 on-base percentage last season. Brignac has batted just .228 in small pieces of five big-league seasons equal to just over one year's worth of at-bats.
The roles of Chris Nelson, perhaps the frontrunner for the starting job at third base, Ryan Wheeler (LHB, 3B, 1B), LeMahieu (LHB, 2B, 3B) and Jordan Pacheco (RHB, 3B, C) may impact which backup middle infielder fits best. If One of the latter three mans the hot corner, Nelson can serve as the backup middle infielder, which would not bode well for Herrera or Brignac, since Nelson performed pretty well at the plate in 2012 and is a natural shortstop.