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Updated: 2017-10-18T08:31:51-06:00


Rockies need to fill holes at catcher and closer this offseason



Colorado Rockies news, notes and links for Wednesday, October 18

Free agent Jonathan Lucroy fits with Rockies |

Signing Lucroy should be the biggest offseason priority for the Rockies. His fit with the team after being acquired at the deadline was obvious and his bat rebounded to what everyone was accustomed to during his time with the Brewers. With the Rockies boasting one of the youngest rotations in the majors, having a veteran behind the plate is a good idea, and the disappointing seasons from Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy illuminated the possibility that the Rockies may not have the catching answer in house.

For Lucroy, his struggles with the Rangers and then the enjoyable time with the Rockies may have him doubting that the grass will be greener somewhere else and lead him to re-sign with the Rockies. The Rockies also have the benefit of being a playoff contender to help re-sign their priority free agents as well as sign any new players.

An Early Look At The Cardinals' Search For A Closer | MLB Trade Rumors

While not directly Rockies-related, this deep dive into the available closers this offseason has a couple of Rockies tie-ins. First, Greg Holland appears to be the second-best closer available on the free-agent market. Even if he doesn't re-sign with the Rockies, the size of his contract should be something that Rockies fans are closely following to see where the Rockies compensation pick for him will be in the next draft. Also, the Rockies may themselves be looking for a closer in this market if they don't re-sign Holland and this article is a great starting place for conversations about who the Rockies future closer may be.

Rockies 2017 Review: Young starters, led by Jon Gray, German Marquez, made leap forward in 2017 | Denver Post

The Denver Post reviews the Colorado Rockies rotation and breaks down each of the player's seasons. For a rotation that was mostly rookies and sophomores the more then held up their end of the bargain and were a big part of the Rockies success in 2017. If the young guns can collectively take another step forward in their development next season, the Rockies will continue to be playoff contenders for the foreseeable future.

Rockies reliever Jairo Díaz still has not found his groove



Díaz pitched just 5 major-league innings in his first season after Tommy John surgery

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the in-season contributions of every player to don the purple this past season. The goal wasn’t and isn’t to quibble with order. Instead, it’s to get a snapshot of a player along with a look forward. For that reason, we simply sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) and will start at the bottom and end up at the top.

No 32, Jairo Díaz (-0.1 rWAR)

Jairo Díaz is a person who can’t be reduced to a lesson. And yet, he holds a lesson in his fragile right arm. The Rockies acquired Díaz prior to the 2015 season from the Angels, and all it cost them was superfluous infielder Josh Rutledge. At first blush, it seemed like the Rockies got a steal. Díaz was a 23-year-old fireball throwing right-hander, and it seemed like he would be able to find a role in the bullpen in short order. The remaining question was whether he’d be a middle or late inning reliever. It hasn’t turned out that way, and Díaz’s 2017 was another speck on what’s turning out to be a huge question mark.

The question mark is less about Díaz’s abilities than it is about whether or not he’ll be in a position to realize those abilities. Díaz didn’t play a major role in the bullpen during his first season with the Rockies, as he only pitched 19 innings. But he was effective. Not only that, but Díaz left the team with hope that 2016 would see an increased role in both playing time and leverage. During Spring Training of that year, however, Díaz suffered an injury that led to Tommy John surgery. All of 2016 was lost, which meant that 2017 was going to be as much about recovery as it was about his strikeout rate.

Díaz began the year in Triple-A Albuquerque, but he took a personal leave of absence that kept him out of games until June. The Rockies called Díaz up in late June, and he made one appearance. He allowed four hits and three runs in one inning of work, and the Rockies sent him back to Triple-A the next day. The Rockies brought him back up a couple weeks later. Díaz made three more appearances that were better but still unimpressive. In all, he allowed 12 hits and six runs in five innings of work.

On the bright side, Díaz’s velocity was still there. He averaged about 98 mph during minimal regular season work (92 recorded pitches, according to Brooks Baseball). But that’s really just a minor comfort. The lesson found in Díaz is that fireballing is no straight line to success, and that pitcher injuries will add a whole lot more uncertainty to it all.

2018 Outlook

This story’s the same for the fourth consecutive season. Díaz will attempt to play a role in the Rockies’ bullpen on the strength of his fastball. We shouldn’t be surprised if he finally finds his niche, but it’s not really a safe bet.

An imperfect swan song for Rockies all-timer Carlos Gonzalez


Number 33 on Ranking the Rockies is an old face Welcome to the 2017 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the in-season contributions of every player to don the purple this past season. The goal wasn’t and isn’t to quibble with order. Instead, it’s to get a snapshot of a player along with a look forward. For that reason, we simply sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) and will start at the bottom and end up at the top. No. 33 Carlos Gonzalez (-0.2 WAR) Baseball is, at it’s core, unfair. For Carlos Gonzalez, a player who had given the Rockies so much hope over the last eight seasons, this cannot be more true. CarGo’s 2017 was painful. He was a shell of the player we knew. His bat speed dwindled, his groundballs skyrocketed, he looked completely lost against lefties. Carlos spent five months looking miserable at the plate and giving sad quotes to beat writers. It was a disaster—one that drove the narrative during the best season in years for the organization as a whole. In five years and beyond, Carlos will end up meaning more than his 2017. Nobody will remember the bad days. The strikeouts and the dwindling confidence will fade. We’ll remember the bat drops and the line drive home runs. We’ll remember a batting title and an amazing 2009 NLDS. Carlos will represent good moments in a horrible era. But right now, we can’t erase a 2017 that ripped the rug out from underneath us. There were good moments, too. A vintage line drive home run at Citizens Bank Park, two beautiful home runs to notch a sixth straight road victory in Chase Field, a September that looked more and more like we were starting to see the Carlos we remembered. These moments became our life line, a reminder that even in the worst of it CarGo could pull off something amazing. June was the worst of it: 10 hits in 16 games with just 3 RBIs. The moment a “rough start” began to really become a “lost season” for the outfielder. His slugging percentage dipped below .300 in the month, and he could only muster a 56 OPS+. It wasn’t fair. None of it was. This was Carlos Gonzalez, and he refused to look like it. No matter how much will we tried to force into him from the stands and from our couches, it was just wasn’t Carlos anymore. There’s something strange about the way our brains are wired. Scientists believe a loss can be up to three times as painful as a win is joyful. It’s why breakups destroy us, why sports leave us ruined for hours or days, and it’s why losing money hurts so much. Our brains view loss as more significant than gain. When Carlos wasn’t hitting, when it all felt lost, it was worse than any of the joy he had given us. Maybe that’s why this feels so unfair to say goodbye now. Maybe we just wanted something to cheer for one last time. We just want one last home run. Gonzalez wasn’t given the swan song he deserved. Baseball is unfair, and it always will be. Ironically, that’s why we keep coming back. If it were fair, it would be boring—the stories old and tired, the losses just and true. CarGo should’ve finished his Rockies career waltzing into the sunset. Instead, he appears to leave after one of his worst seasons, and we are left to wonder what could have been. CarGo ended his 2017 season with only 14 home runs and a league average 100 OPS+. He accumulated -0.2 WAR. He will not be remembered for this season, but he will be remembered. 2018 Outlook In what will undoubtedly be one of the most painful and weirdest moments of 2018, we will likely see CarGo standing in the outfield in another cap and another jersey next season. The pain will eventually waver, and the good memories will float to the top. Good look, old friend. [...]

Reliever Pat Neshek would consider a return to Colorado



The 37-year-old is a free agent this winter, but is open to a return to the Rockies.

Pat Neshek says “if it’s close” in free agency, he wants to be where he’s comfortable - BSN Rockies
Jake Shapiro caught up with Rockies reliever Pat Neshek after this month's Wild Card Game to discuss his plans in free agency. Neshek said he enjoyed his rather brief time in Colorado and would be interested in returning to the Rockies if that is what the team wants.

Expansion Could Trigger Realignment, Longer Postseason |
At Baseball America, Tracy Ringolsby outlines a possible plan for expansion and radical realignment in baseball, doing away with the American and National Leagues and putting the Rockies in a division with the Cubs, White Sox, Astros, Royals, Brewers, Cardinals and Rangers and adds franchises in Portland and Montreal. It is a big change that most likely will never happen, but is nevertheless is fun to think about.

Yankees 8, Astros 1: Sabathia, Judge, and Frazier give New York their first ALCS win - Pinstripe Alley
Pinstripe Alley's Matt Provenzano has a recap of Game 3 of the ALCS that saw the Yankees grab their first win of the series, an 8-1 blowout at Yankee Stadium courtesy of a strong start from CC Sabathia and the first home run of the series from AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge. New York will look to even the series with Houston tonight in the Bronx.

Colorado Rockies will increase ticket prices for 2018



The Rockies have a lot planned for the 2018 season, including a bump in ticket prices

Season ticket holders received a letter today from Colorado Rockies CEO Dick Monfort. In the letter, Monfort laid out the improvements that the Rockies are planning to make to Coors Field before the next season, as well as the unfortunate news that there will be a “modest price increase for 2018.”

The planned improvements for Coors Field include replacing the scoreboard with one that “is as unique as any in the game,” new ribbon scoreboards, improving the sound system, and better concessions for the Club Level. There is also an ambiguous “and more” at the end of the explanation of promised improvements that, let’s hope, will include the increased netting that has been discussed.

The Rockies have maintained some of the lowest ticket prices and most affordable MLB experiences, so a small increase to capitalize on the Rockies success this past season is hardly a surprise. Monfort promises that the increased revenue will hopefully allow them to sign the players necessary to advance deeper in the playoffs.

Not to make this about me, but this is about me


Also, you—it’s about you, and everything you’ve given me “I feel like you’re one of the only people I can lean on.” That (slightly paraphrased) message—one I’ll never forget—changed my life in a lot of ways. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, those ways were minor. But as I sit back and recollect my time at Purple Row and SB Nation, I can’t help but think that I’m perhaps underestimating the statement’s true impact. It was former Purple Row boss Andrew Martin who delivered that message to me one day in early 2012. A-Mart’s intention wasn’t to disparage anyone else on the staff; it’s just that it can be hard to find the time to do essentially free work with a perennially bad team as the primary subject. Heck, I rarely wrote more than my required 1-2 articles per week. Purple Row was truly a labor of love for all of us, but eventually, that wasn’t enough. Rox Girl left. Russ Oates got an actual job (with SB Nation!) that paid actual money. Andrew Fisher struggled to find the time after the birth of his child and the landing of an awesome professional gig. Jeff Aberle’s time was consumed with his day job (though he eventually took the reins of the site before I did). And even A-Mart found himself unable to continue for a variety of reasons. I, too, nearly stopped contributing to Purple Row in those days. I worked 50 or more hours every week and was struggling to maintain my relationship at home with my wife. But when A-Mart delivered that message, it motivated me to dig deep and do my best to keep at it. I’m so glad I did. It’s not just the bond I built with A-Mart—a close friend whom I love dearly—and the rest of the staff, though that would’ve been enough in hindsight to justify my decision to quit making excuses and Be Better (TM). And it’s not even the professional relationship I came to cherish with the Colorado Rockies (I’ll get to more of that in a bit). Rather, it’s the community—the readers and commenters, the Twitter followers, even the hot take bots on Facebook—who really made all of this so fun and rewarding for me. I used to comment on the site a lot. I was no SDCat09 by any means (love you, Cat!), but my presence was frequent. And, again, I bonded with people I eventually met and became friends with in real life: Muzia, Resolution, FI#2, The Ghost of Marv, Goeldfinger, TLMM, et cetera. And I argued with papality, ESterps and Rocked Up, because who hasn’t? But it was all a blast, and—though I never realized it back then—was time well spent. Then came the unintentional (I think?) decision by SB Nation to render the commenting feature useless on mobile (sorry not sorry)—a decision that forced me, and many others, to Twitter. On that god forsaken social website, I made so many more friends and formed so many working relationships. @PurpleRow became a must follow. I created a stupid March Madness-like Rockies Twitter Tournament that, for some reason, was hugely popular. It all circles back around to someone I respect immensely telling me they needed me, and from there, the personal satisfaction I got from providing a service to content-starved fans of a mostly bad (on the field), purple-clad baseball team. For every piece of negative feedback I received from the people who populated the mediums I listed above, there were at least five who were quick to let me know that they appreciated what I did. That fueled me for years, and for that, I’ll always be grateful. And then there’s the Rockies. This year ended up being just the third winning season of the nine I spent covering the team, but even the down years were extremely rewarding because of the great people I had the honor of meeting and working with. The most unforgettable of those, for me, were 2012 and 2013. In the former year, I roasted the Rockies’ public relations staff, who for some reason ended up giving me—and us, as a blog—unprecedented[...]

Mike Tauchman provided occasional OF depth for the Rockies in 2017


Tauchman displayed his limited role in limited playing time Welcome to the 2017 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the in-season contributions of every player to don the purple this past season. The goal wasn’t and isn’t to quibble with order. Instead, it’s to get a snapshot of a player along with a look forward. For that reason, we simply sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) and will start at the bottom and end up at the top. No. 34, Mike Tauchman (-0.3 rWAR) The Rockies entered Spring Training with considerable outfield depth. Charlie Blackmon, Carlos González, and Gerardo Parra stood as the three veterans, while David Dahl and Raimel Tapia were the young players poised to get substantial playing time, or at least compete for it. Add Ian Desmond’s outfield experience to the mix, and the Rockies had six players for three starting positions and at most two spots on the bench. Mike Tauchman was around number seven on Rockies’ outfield depth chart. And yet, injuries and a promising start in Triple-A conspired to give Tauchman a taste of major league baseball. In his time in the bigs, Tauchman demonstrated his limited but useful skills as a role player. Tauchman wasn’t on the 40-man roster to begin the season and started with the Albuquerque Isotopes. It was his second try in Triple-A. In 2016, Tauchman hit just .286/.342/.373 there—below average after adjusting for the league and home ballpark. He rebounded in 2017 though, which contributed to the Rockies’ purchasing his contract and immediately calling him up in late June. Tauchman was hitting .313/.377/.529 at the time. Tauchman didn’t get a lot of playing time in his first of two stints in the majors. He started two games and logged 12 plate appearances before getting optioned. The Rockies called him back up in August, and while he remained with the Rockies for the rest of the season, he only got 20 more plate appearances and didn’t start a game. Tauchman didn’t hit well, but he also didn’t get a lot of chances. Despite his resurgence at the plate in Triple-A, the Rockies probably didn’t, and don’t, expect a lot from Tauchman’s bat. The most revealing feature of Tauchman’s time in the majors is that he played all three outfield positions. His defense can make him a valuable role player on the Rockies’ depth chart. Tauchman’s speed helps him out there. That tool is also the foundation of perhaps the greatest nickname in Rockies history: Mike "Speedy Leg Boy" Tauchman (trademark purple row) (trademark connor)— Purple Row (@PurpleRow) July 2, 2017 2018 Outlook The Rockies’ outfield depth-chart doesn’t look to be as top-heavy in 2018. González probably won’t be back, and Desmond should move to a more full-time role at first base. Even if everyone is healthy, there might be a window of opportunity for Tauchman to sneak his way into a bench role for at least part of the season. [...]

What Rockies great Carlos González can do in free agency



Rockies news and links for October 16, 2017

Inside Baseball: NL Notes | FanRag Sports
Jon Heyman suggests that free agent Carlos González may be best off seeking a one-year deal and “resetting.” He points to Adrián Beltré as an example. Beltré signed a one-year contract with Boston before the 2010 season. At age 31, Beltré took a pay cut from what he earned in his previous contract years. But he posted one of his best seasons, and that led him to sign a long-term deal with the Texas Rangers. All he’s done since then is solidify himself as a future Hall of Famer. CarGo might not take that path exactly, but it wouldn’t be too surprising for him to land a one-year deal to show that his late season return to form wasn’t a fluke.

J.D. Martinez potential free-agent locations |
Speaking of free agent outfielders, JD Martinez will be on the open market once hot stove season officially opens. Jon Paul Morosi identifies five places he could land. He speculates that Martinez could end up with the Angels or Red Sox. And, if so, that's fine. But then he goes and considers the Cardinals (ugh), the Diamondbacks (ughh), and the Giants (ughhh) as possible fits. Martinez is a great player who is fun to watch. Luckily, I don't mind watching AL games. Please go there, JD.

How the love of baseball brings together a crowd | BSN Rockies
Jake Shapiro sought out and talked to several Rockies fans who traveled to Phoenix for the Rockies' Wild Card game. It's an awesome look inside the ways in which baseball can bring people, even strangers, together. There's also a look inside the hard, slow, and memorable road the folks from BSN Rockies and Mile High Sports took from Denver to Arizona for the game.