Colorado Rockies


Winners of 91 games last year, one shy of the franchise record, the Rockies are coming off back-to-back appearances in the postseason for the first time in their 26-year history. But after losing the wild-card game in 2017 and getting swept in the Division Series last year, they're aiming to go deeper into October this season as well as win the NL West for the first time.
The young starting pitching that was such a strength last year and led the National League in innings will again be counted on heavily. The team hopes to remove a major uncertainty, possibly before the start of the regular season, by signing third baseman Nolan Arenado to a long-term contract. He avoided arbitration with a deal for $26 million this season, the largest ever for an arbitration-eligible player. Arenado can be a free agent after the season. But Rockies owner Dick Monfort said he was very optimistic the team will be able to sign Arenado, who turns 28 in April, to a deal that will keep one of the game's best players with the Rockies.
What's New
Free agent Daniel Murphy signed a two-year, $24 million contract and will play first base. It's the position he prefers, although he has more experience at second base. Murphy is an accomplished hitter, who should help revive an offense that last year set franchise records for the lowest overall batting average (.256) and road mark (.225), resulting in hitting coach Duane Espy being fired and replaced by Dave Magadan.

Veteran first baseman Mark Reynolds returns on a minor league contract that will be worth $1 million in base salary with incentives worth $1 million if he's added to the big league roster. That is expected to happen and will give the Rockies a right-handed option to the left-handed hitting Murphy at first base as well as a power threat off the bench.
Free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu left after seven seasons with the Rockies, signing a two-year, $24 million contract with the Yankees. Also joining the Yankees was free agent reliever Adam Ottavino, a formidable setup man, who signed a three-year, $27 million contract after spending seven seasons with the Rockies. Free agent outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra are also gone and remain unsigned.
Ian Desmond, who had never played first base before doing so for Colorado the past two seasons, will move to the outfield. He's expected to see significant action in center field, also play left field and be a better defender than he was at first base. Charlie Blackmon will be 33 in July and is expected to play less often in center field and more in left field.
What Could Change
The departure of the steady LeMahieu means right-handed hitting Garrett Hampson and left-handed hitting Ryan McMahon in spring training will vie for time at second base, along with top prospect Brendan Rodgers. The third overall pick in the 2015 draft, Rodgers, 22, who received a franchise-record $5.5 million signing bonus, is expected to make his major league debut this season, most likely at second base with Trevor Story a fixture at shortstop. With a terrific spring, Rodgers could open the season with the Rockies. But it's more likely he begins the year gaining more experience at Triple-A, where he played just 19 games after a promotion from Double-A last season.
Outfielder David Dahl, who has been bothered by injuries, played regularly and very well in the final month of 2018 and should be an Opening Day starter for the first time, most likely in right field. But he is very capable of playing all three outfield positions.
Right-hander Ottavino will be missed. But the Rockies are banking on right-handers Scott Oberg, who blossomed last season, and Seunghwan Oh, who was very effective after being acquired just before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, pitching in high-leverage innings to help get to closer Wade Davis. The bullpen could get a boost if right-hander Bryan Shaw and left-hander Jake McGee, both signed to three-year, $27 million contracts before last season and both so ineffective they were left off the postseason roster, can be consistent contributors unlike last year.
The bullpen could also get a boost from left-hander Mike Dunn, a free agent after this season, who is returning from the shoulder injury that ended his season in July and necessitated surgery in September.
Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are at the head of a solid rotation. And Tyler Anderson and, Chad Bettis, are fine back-end starters. But the Rockies could really benefit from Jon Gray finally avoiding his occasional mid-game implosions, harnessing his excellent stuff when trouble arises and enhancing the rotation by being more consistent.
What's Coming
The Rockies were leading the division by one game with two to play but ended up in a tie and lost a playoff game to the Dodgers, who have won six straight division titles and the past two NL pennants. Colorado and Los Angeles again are the strongest contenders in what appears to be a very unimposing since the Diamondbacks, Giants and Padres are all rebuilding to some degree.
Playing meaningful games to the very end of the regular season last year can only be beneficial experience for younger Rockies players like Freeland, Marquez, Dahl, McMahon, Hampson and even Story, who has become a foundational piece along with Arenado and Blackmon. Those three have All-Star pedigrees.
And while closer Wade Davis did blow a career-high six saves and have a 4.13 ERA, he led the majors with a franchise-record and career-high 43 saves, so the Rockies aren't worried about squandering games in the ninth inning.
Best-Case Scenario: The Rockies could win the NL West if the young rotation again succeeds, the offense improves, the bullpen can smoothly get games to Davis and the Dodgers stumble just a bit.
Worst-Case Scenario: Second base becomes a muddle, some of the starters struggle and/or get hurt and the offense again spins its wheels, but even then the Rockies could still finish second.


Posts les plus consultés de ce blog

Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Blackhawks