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12/02/09 10:00 AM EST

Inbox: Will Rox power up for 2010?

Beat reporter Thomas Harding answers fans' questions

In my opinion, I think that a priority for the Rox this offseason should be a middle-of-the-order type bat -- nothing against Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies need somebody that can strike fear in the opposing manager. Do you see them going after somebody either via a trade or in free agency?
-- Danny B., Denver

If this team had a bigger payroll, I'd agree. With a greater payroll, the first move I'd consider would be bringing back Matt Holliday. Alas, that's not the way it works here.

I don't see an established power hitter coming. Huge free agent dollars are out, and the Rockies would have to destroy their nucleus to make a trade for such a hitter.

This is when growing from within helps. The Rockies have a good handle on right fielder Brad Hawpe, who showed a big bat in the first half but not the second, as well as catcher Chris Iannetta and third baseman Ian Stewart, who have shown power at times. Those players will have a chance to give the Rockies production throughout the lineup, without spending big on one player and having to skimp elsewhere.

Will Seth Smith get any playing time next year? He looks to me to be a very good hitter, but the Rockies have a bunch of them.
-- Brad H., New York

Smith showed he could produce off the bench and in the starting lineup. What may have been the best development tool was the increased playing time manager Jim Tracy gave him, rather than keeping him on the bench just because he produced there.

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I see Smith getting some starts. Part of the reason Hawpe struggled in the second half was the wear and tear of playing nearly every single game when the Rockies were in their early-season hole. It makes sense to rearrange the outfield to rest Hawpe occasionally, and that could mean playing time for Smith. Also, with Carlos Gonzalez able to play all three outfield spots, Smith can play left when center fielder Dexter Fowler is out of the lineup.

What are the Rockies going to do with Ryan Spilborghs? Have you heard anything?
-- Daniel P., San Diego

The Rockies need a right-handed hitter with some pop, and Spilborghs has demonstrated that -- more in the past than last season. The Rockies don't have to make a move, unless a really good deal becomes available. I expect the Rockies to listen to proposals during the Winter Meetings, understanding that the best trade may be no trade.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.