CHICAGO -- Rockies owner/CEO Dick Monfort was on perfect balance as he stood by the visiting dugout at Wrigley Field. No shaking in his shoes in the wake of the Dodgers' decision to spend big this season.
On Saturday morning, the Dodgers were close to officially announcing a blockbuster trade with the Red Sox that would land them pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, injured outfielder Carl Crawford and utilityman Nick Punto. This team already has acquired shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Shane Victorino, and pitchers Randy Choate, Brandon League and Joe Blanton. The deal was officially announced on Saturday afternoon.
For the last several years, the Rockies have kept a payroll roughly in line with the size of the Denver market. Actually, the payroll could drop in the immediate future, given the number of younger players who seem in line for key roles.
But Monfort doesn't feel threatened by the competition. He paused and smiled when asked how is it possible for the Rockies to compete.
"Well, I don't know," Monfort said. "Sometimes, on paper, it looks like they acquired some good players -- and they should be very formidable offensively. But sometimes it doesn't always work out.
"We've got to continue to build from within -- and if there are opportunities somewhere, you always look at them. But I like the young guys we've got. I think the pitching is starting to come around. We've got a lot of guys injured that are starting to come back. We've seen some great play from some of these young guys, and we've got other young guys in the Minors that are starting to play well. Just keep bringing them along."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who once held that job with a Dodgers team under different ownership, said the series of moves are no surprise.
"They have money," Tracy said. "They're making it very clear -- and it's none of my business that they're going to spend the money.
"What are you going to do about it? You have your organization, and you continue to do your business within the framework of what it says and how it says you're supposed to do it. The Tampa Bay Rays don't do their business the exact same way as the New York Yankees do, do they? They compete with them."
The Rockies' few forays into big money have yielded mixed results. Paying first baseman Todd Helton helped lead to a World Series trip in 2007 and a playoff appearance in 2010, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez have the potential to be winning investments. The Rockies tried spending big on pitching -- starting in 2001 with Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle, and those turned out so poorly that they set the franchise back until 2007.
Monfort said a big payroll is not a guarantee.
"It's still a team sport, even though it's based with a bunch of individuals," Monfort said. "But you build a team. Tampa ... look at Oakland this year. You can get it done [with a lower payroll].
"Just because they've got high-priced players doesn't mean they're going to play good, doesn't mean they're going to work hard, doesn't mean they're going to be great teammates. I'm not saying they're not going to do any of those things, but they've still got to go out and do it. We've just got to figure out ways to beat them."
Tracy said he is not preoccupying himself with how the Dodgers operate.
"I don't stick my nose in other people's backyards," Tracy said. "More times than not, they don't want you in their backyard, and secondly if you do go in, I don't think they're going to ask you about how you feel about what they're up to. Stay in your own yard. That's what my mom and dad used to tell me when I was a real young kid."
Fowler's ankle improving rapidly
CHICAGO -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler missed his third straight start since suffering a sprained right ankle on Wednesday against the Mets, but was on the field taking batting practice on Saturday morning.
Fowler was on crutches on Thursday, but has improved dramatically since then.
"To see him getting taped up [for batting practice], you have to tip your cap to this guy," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He bounces back very quickly. He has a fairly high threshold for pain. He sprained that ankle good.
"The silver lining was, for whatever reason, he didn't swell up much. If we were trying to get swelling out of that ankle, he'd be still up there with his foot in a bucket of ice -- trying to get swelling out so then it can be massaged, then you can get tape on it and possibly get him out here walking around. He would have more than likely been on the disabled list."
Tulo, Giambi get hits in first rehab games
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and first baseman Jason Giambi each had a hit in limited duty on Friday night as they began injury rehab assignments at Double-A Tulsa.
Tulowitzki went 1-for-3, with the hit being a bloop double, and played five innings but didn't have a defensive chance. Giambi went 1-for-3 with an RBI groundout as the designated hitter. Both will be off on Saturday and will play on Sunday.
Manager Jim Tracy said the comeback of Tulowitzki is linked to the Rockies' approach with Josh Rutledge, a prospect who was playing shortstop in Tulowitzki's absence but has been nursing a sore left quadriceps all week. Rutledge was used as a pinch-hitter on Friday, and will be used sparingly until the Rockies are sure he is healthy.
When Tulowitzki returns, the Rockies want to move Rutledge to second base and see how he meshes with Tulowitzki, a two-time National League All-Star.
"I would love to see the dynamic of what it looks like with those two guys in the middle of our field," Tracy said. "To do so, we've got to have them both healthy.
"We want Josh Rutledge a lot more than just a percentage of himself. I don't want to push a quad because you're one chopped ball and a hard sprint to first base away from really pulling it badly -- and that's a month when that happens."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.