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Updated: 2018-02-17T06:00:03-07:00


Saturday Rockpile: The Rockies would be the “first choice” for Mark Reynolds


Rockies news and links for February 17, 2018 Reynolds discusses free agency in Q&A | Rockies.comWhile all members of the Colorado Rockies (well, except Ian Desmond) have shown up to participate in Spring Training activities, free agent Mark Reynolds remains at his home in Virginia waiting for a team to pick him up. The Rockies and Reynolds have maintained dialogue, but have not come to agreement on any sort of deal, of course.’s Bill Ladson had a Q&A session with Reynolds, in which he discussed his previous two seasons spent in Denver, what he is currently up to, and what he hopes for 2018. When asked about re-joining the Rockies, Reynolds noted that the team would be his “first choice.” Reynolds noted that he is comfortable with Manager Bud Black, the rest of the coaching staff, the players, the ballpark, and the postseason aspirations of the club. In the meantime, Reynolds is spending more time with his family, getting to coach his sons as they begin their own baseball journeys. Reynolds, 34, says that he has kept in shape, and is ready to play if given the opportunity. He’s coming off a season that saw him post a .267/.352/.487 slash, reaching 30 home runs for the first time since 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. That output would tend to result in a major-league contract, but that is certainly not a given considering the current offseason environment. Arenado readies for new first baseman | Rockies.comReynolds clearly also had a profound impact on Nolan Arenado during his time with the Rockies. “This offseason, I was kind of worried because I love Mark,” Arenado says. Arenado lauds Reynolds’ ability to scoop throws in the dirt at first base, and now recognizes the alterations that might be necessary with either Ryan McMahon or Desmond receiving his throws from third base. Colorado Rockies: 2018 National League MVP Nolan Arenado | Rox PileAn MVP season was not to be for Arenado in 2017, but Rox Pile’s Olivia Greene posits that his time will come in 2018. Arenado’s WAR (according to both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs) has steadily climbed with each new season since his debut in 2013. .364/.428/.642- that’s what I’ve got pegged for Nolan in 2018, his best year yet. Feel free to bookmark. Colorado Rockies: Looking at 2017 performance by uniform choice | Rox PileIn a fun exercise, Rox Pile’s Nick Bunney examines the Rockies’ win-loss record in 2017 based on the uniform they wore. Of course, this isn’t a very objective way to analyze a team’s performance, but it is enjoyable to look at. The results are ultimately inconclusive, with the team’s record sitting between one and six games above the .500 mark when wearing all but the purple uniforms, when they went 12-15. Pitchers and Catchers Report: Bounty in the bullpen | Mile High SportsThe latest edition of the Blake Street Irregulars podcast features a discussion of the Rockies’ 2018 bullpen. The relief corps figures to be a strength for the team- Arenado even goes as far as to call them “some dudes.” While much has been made of the bullpen additions, and rightfully so, the subtraction of Jordan Lyles may be among the greatest indicators for improved success in the coming year. Rusin embracing versatile role in ‘pen |’s Thomas Harding focuses specifically on reliever Chris Rusin’s approach for 2018. Harding explains the value in having a pitcher who can thrive in a variety of roles, and features quotes from Rusin and Black about what such a reliever can bring to the table. Rusin is also practicing his basketball skills as part of his fitness routine. “A little of this, a little of that,” Rusin says of his time on the court during high school. Parra looking ahead after minor hand surgery | Rockies.comAs Hayden Kane covered at Purple Row on Friday, Gerardo Parra recently underwent minor hand surgery, but both he and Black don’t expect it to be a big deal. Of course, we’ve heard that line before, but we can gain some confidence from the fact that Reynolds recovered from the sam[...]

Gerardo Parra out 4-6 weeks with broken hand



The Rockies already have their first major injury of the spring.

The Colorado Rockies are just arriving for Spring Training and they already have their first major injury news. Jenny Cavnar reports that outfielder Gerardo Parra had surgery last Friday to repair a broken hamate on his right hand. Patrick Saunders also reports Parra is expected to miss between four and six weeks and return to the team sometime in the middle of March.

That timetable means that Parra will still be back with the team before the start of the regular season. Nevertheless, this injury opens up some questions about the corners of the outfield, spots that were already of concern for a team that needs to improve on offense.

Will David Dahl or Raimel Tapia take advantage of the opportunity and start hot this spring to take hold of a spot? What does this mean, if anything, for how Ian Desmond divides up his time between the outfield and first base? Will the team be more inclined to reunite with Carlos Gonzalez? Do we dare dream that this would motivate them to pursue a splashy move like signing J.D. Martinez?

Coming off a disastrous 2016, Parra was the subject of scorn and disdain just one year ago. He rebounded in 2017, posting a .309/.341/.452 slash line while often holding it down in the middle of the lineup. Even if the team could stand some upgrades in the lineup, Parra was probably considered a relatively stable presence as the team considered its options in the outfield. He will still be ready to contribute when the season starts, but this early injury may affect what that role looks like.

Lineup options with Charlie Blackmon in the middle of the order


Let’s play manager! The Colorado Rockies need to improve their offense in 2018. While some of us clamored for an offseason addition to address those concerns, the team has chosen to count on internal options that will need to either improve (Ian Desmond, Trevor Story) or arrive (David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, Ryan McMahon) to bolster the offense. Another way that the Rockies could inject life into their offense is to change their lineup around. Ryan Freemyer suggested a switch along those lines last season when he argued that Charlie Blackmon should bat second and DJ LeMahieu should bat leadoff. The Rockies kept Blackmon in the leadoff spot for all of 2017, but with a recent report from Patrick Saunders that Bud Black will try Blackmon in the middle of the lineup during spring training, we can start to think about what these new lineups would look like. Let’s play manager! The Swap Because of LeMahieu’s ability to put the ball in play, and in turn his ability to ground into double plays, the Rockies might find an improvement by swapping him with Blackmon as we just mentioned. How about something like this: 2B - LeMahieuCF - Blackmon3B - ArenadoSS - StoryRF - Gerardo ParraLF - Desmond1B - McMahonC - Chris Iannetta and friendsPitcher I built this lineup assuming that we will see more of the veterans in the corners of the outfield, and I think you should think about that too. It’s just a gut feeling, but between the foils of youth and injuries, the dream of Dahl and Tapia might not be realized just yet. Then again, we can dream while we’re playing manager. The Swap with Better Outfielders No disrespect to Desmond and Parra, but we’ve been talking about Dahl and Tapia for years and we should let ourselves think of a lineup with them in it. Also I put Desmond in at first base because you know why. 2B - LeMahieuCF - BlackmonRF - Dahl3B - ArenadoSS - Story1B - DesmondLF - TapiaC - Iannetta and friendsPitcher This puts a lot of pressure on Dahl, of course, but we have plenty of reasons to believe he’s up to it if he’s healthy. Now let’s get weird. Plug Those Bases It would be crazy to bat Iannetta, an on-base machine who is also a hopelessly slow runner, in the second spot, right? Maybe not—the Arizona Diamondbacks deployed him there on occasion en route to the playoffs last season. 2B - LeMahieuC - IannettaCF - Blackmon3B - ArenadoRF - DahlSS - Story1B - McMahonLF - Desmond/ParraPitcher Can I tell you guys something? I kind of like that lineup a lot. Call me crazy, but while you do I’ll be dreaming on LeMahieu and Iannetta dad-jogging their way around the bases with Blackmon or Arenado home-run-trotting behind them. Actual Possibility No. 1 (Probably) (Maybe) As you can see with my attempts at this exercise, there are a number of spots in the lineup that are hard to nail down. Specifically, both corners of the outfield and first base are totally up in the air. Whoever wins those position battles, or how Black mixes playing time among those guys, will go a long way towards explaining what the top of the lineup would look like if it wasn’t Blackmon and then LeMahieu. I should also say that, for all of my fun with LeMahieu batting lead-off, Black seemed to suggest that his lanky second baseman would remain entrenched in the two-hole with a different lead-off hitter. Black suggested Desmond (gulp), Dahl and Tapia as candidates to lead off. With that in mind, let’s take a stab at two actual possibilities. The first one assumes Dahl is healthy: RF - Dahl2B - LeMahieuCF - Blackmon3B - ArenadoLF - Desmond/ParraSS - Story1B - McMahon/DesmondC - Iannetta and friendsPitcher If Tapia is in for Dahl, I’m guessing he would just swap in at leadoff. If he is in left field, I would assume he drops down to 7th or 8th and the other guys bump up. I can also imagine some mixing and matching depending on where Desmond is playing—a hedge that shows that I obviously don’t know what the hell to do with Desmond, but I don’t think the Rockies do either. For wh[...]

Come eat and talk with Purple Row on Opening Day



Purple Row is hosting its second annual Opening Day breakfast at Wynkoop in LoDO from 8-10:00 a.m.

Purple Row is hosting its second annual Opening Day breakfast on, you guessed it, Opening Day. The breakfast will take place from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on April 6. Like last year, the event will be held at Wynkoop in downtown Denver.

Also like last year, the $25 ticket will allow attendees to have multiple appetites sated. For the baseball hunger, Rockies media members will be on hand for a question and answer session that will get going at 8:30. Radio voice Jerry Schemmel and newspaper man Nick Groke will be on hand, along with Purple Row’s Eric Garcia McKinley. Expect a couple more names to be added to that list.

Several other Purple Row staffers will be on hand as well. They are eager and excited to meet and talk to some of our Colorado-based readers.

The cost of entry also includes a filling breakfast buffet for that more primal hunger. Breakfast includes coffee and juice, though alcohol purchases will be extra.

And, finally, we’ll have some Rockies goodies to give away. Since the Rockies will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2018, expect some goody oldies.

Grab a ticket at this link. We can’t wait to talk baseball with you.

Friday Rockpile: The future of DJ LeMahieu


Rockies news and links for February 16, 2018 Colorado Rockies: The future of DJ LeMahieu with Trevor Story | Rox Pile Since 2013, DJ LeMahieu has been our man at second base. But 2018 is looking like it will be our last year with the two-time Gold Glove winner. He enters the free agent market at an unfortunate time, as the Rockies are also dealing with Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado also reaching the end of their contracts. One key component for LeMahieu’s future is the performance of Trevor Story. He gave a superstar performance in his rookie year, then hit a bit of a sophomore slump, with a disappointing amount of strikeouts. Despite his lack of offense, Story provided a strong defense at shortstop. If he is able to continue to deliver there, then the Rockies might look to move prospect Brendan Rodgers from his traditional shortstop position to second base after LeMahieu’s contract is up. Rodgers, as the top prospect, could be a natural, more affordable option for second base. However, in the instance that Story doesn’t deliver, the Rockies might look to put Rodgers at shortstop, meaning there is some need to hang onto LeMahieu. If you ask me, though, I don’t see the Rockies keeping LeMahieu after this year. Given that he’s entering free agency alongside Charlie Blackmon, followed by Nolan Arenado after the 2019 season, he’s in the unfortunate position of coming up a little too short. As much as I love seeing him at second, I think he is a lower priority for the Rockies to try and keep than the other two stars. Colorado Rockies: Pat Valaika is the underdog they need | Rox Pile Pat Valaika has already given us reason to believe in him. He stepped up in 2017, making 195 plate appearances and having some pretty solid results. He did really well for us as a pinch hitter, leading the league in those statistics. He also delivered in what was overall a tough Wild Card game. At this point, it’s hard to say where Valaika fits on the field, though. He did well at first, but doesn’t seem like the ultimate answer to that question. He could play there, but most likely as back-up there rather than starter. Regardless of where he ends up, the Rockies could find themselves relying on him in 2018. This year, we are going to see a lot of young players, and Valaika could be a huge part of that talent. Rockies manager Bud Black learned valuable lessons about mile-high baseball | Denver Post Bud Black has had his fair share of baseball experience, but he has had to adapt, like most, to playing at the highest elevation in the MLB. Black came in last year with a plan, and overall, it worked for him. However, he now understands that some adjustments need to be made to account for the high altitude. The oxygen levels take a toll, and that is a factor to be considered in managing the team. The consideration here is mostly with pitching, and Black has worked with the staff to best understand how to maneuver starting pitchers and the bullpen in the most strategic way possible. The Rockies currently have a very young rotation, one that managed to do very well for the team last year. However, in general, they did not have the endurance that Black seems to be looking for. Even though the team has an incredible bullpen, the starters need to be able to last a bit longer. As long as everyone can communicate, recovery should be possible, and the entire pitching staff can hopefully be successul. Tapia bulks up, maintains speed | In 2017, Raimel Tapia was something of a string bean. This allowed him to have some incredible speed, running the bases pretty well as the fastest Colorado Rockie. However, this meant that he didn’t have the most power, hitting only two home runs in his major league appearances last year. Tapia has worked on this in the offseason, putting on 15 pounds, hopefully in muscle. Tapia is going to face some competition for an outfield position this year, so we’ll see if this he[...]

Thursday Rockpile: Rockies to wear throwback uniforms in 2018


Rockies news and links for February 15, 2018 SOURCE: Rockies to honor Denver’s Negro League history with throwback uniforms | BSN DenverEstablished in 1993, the Colorado Rockies are among the youngest franchises in Major League Baseball. The history of baseball in Denver goes back much further. The Denver Bears were a minor-league team in the Western League from 1885 until 1954. The New Orleans Baby Cakes, current Pacific Coast League Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, were housed in Denver as the Bears from 1955-1984, and were then known as the Denver Zephyrs until 1992 before the Major-League Baseball team we all have come to know and love moved into Mile High Stadium. Another baseball team you may not know about is the Negro League’s Denver White Elephants, who played in the Mile-High City for a 20-year stretch from 1915 until 1935. The White Elephants have floundered in obscurity as of late. They don’t even have a Wikipedia page, though one of you faithful readers could change that if you are feeling so inclined! Throwback uniforms have not been commonplace for the Colorado Rockies franchise, perhaps because 25 years of existence hasn’t provided the team with vast variances in apparel (the Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have a lot of throwback options). In 2013, the Rockies did wear a throwback uniform for their inaugural season, but that’s all. In some pleasantly surprising news, a new throwback uniform looks to be in the books for the 2018 season in an August 3-5 series against the Brewers in Milwaukee. It will be a look “similar to the White Elephants’ 1930 road uniform,” according to BSN Denver. Jake Shapiro has compiled more information about the history of the Denver White Elephants and has a collection of images to showcase what a potential throwback uniform might look like. He even mocked up some models of players wearing the uniform on MLB The Show 17 that you should absolutely check out for yourself! 2018 Rockies Preview: Colorado’s success hinges on the starting rotation | Mile High SportsTurning to the current iteration of the Rockies, the 2018 team is overflowing with starting pitching talent. Roster Resource projects a starting five of Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, and Kyle Freeland for the Rockies. Two notable omissions that had big 2017s for the Rox include Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman, who project to begin 2018 pitching out of the Triple-A Albuquerque rotation. At Mile High Sports, Aniello Piro breaks down the 2017 campaigns of all seven starters, including how their upcoming seasons might look. Pitchers and Catchers Report: Sizing up the starters | Mile High SportsThe Blake Street Irregulars podcast also tackles the subject of the rotation. With pitchers and catchers reporting on Wednesday, hurlers will be the primary talk of the team until full squad workouts begin on Monday, February 19. Mile High Sports’ Casey Light speaks of the intriguing possibility of sliding Freeland into the second spot in the rotation to give the Rockies a lefty-righty matchup in the top two rotation slots. Kyle Freeland’s offseason dedication is positioning him for a strong 2018 | Mile High SportsDenver native Freeland spoke on the Afternoon Drive with Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro about the work he put in over the offseason. The youngster emerged as a bright spot in the Rockies rotation in 2017, but appeared to struggle with stamina down the stretch, as is to be expected from a rookie starting pitcher. Freeland says he has been attempting to eat healthier over the offseason, as well as adding yoga to his weekly routines. Bettis finds purpose in first camp after cancer | Rockies.comChad Bettis is entering camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, free of the testicular cancer that caused an abrupt change to his life both on and off the field in 2017. Bettis is getting back into the swing of a normal routine, but not without stop[...]

An introductory guide to Cactus League parks and Rockies’ Spring Training


An overview of Cactus League parks and their amenities February is here and that means only one thing: the start of baseball season! (The pitchers and catchers reporting and exhibitions games part of it at least.) We’ve all survived the long, harsh, non-MLB months of December and January, and now we can all rejoice in hearing the crack of the bats, the pop of the gloves, and seeing all of our favorite players take the field once again. Almost all of us have some great baseball memories, and it all starts in the sunny, Arizona (or Florida) spring. I’ve visited most of the Cactus League parks. The first one was Tempe Diablo Stadium when I was two years old (the California Angels vs. Oakland Athletics). My grandfather was a huge baseball fan and made sure that we attended spring training whenever he came to visit us in Phoenix. The game was delayed on account of bees—something surprisingly common in Phoenix during springtime. After my grandfather passed and my family moved to Denver, we didn’t spend as much time around baseball until Rocktober 2007 re-sparked our interest. Even then, we never made the trek back down to Phoenix for Spring Training. It wasn’t until after I moved back to Arizona in 2011 that I started attending games regularly. Since then I have attended at least one game in all except three Cactus League stadiums, which I plan to finish out before the end of 2018. Here’s a glimpse of what to see and do if you plan on working your way through the Cactus League. The league The Cactus League has been since 1947. Since 2010, it has hosted 15 teams in 10 stadiums all within a 47-mile radius around the Phoenix Metro Area. It is the greatest concentration of professional sports facilities in the United States. More common in Arizona than Florida, five of those stadiums are shared between two teams. Peoria Sports Complex in northwestern Phoenix was the first stadium in Arizona to adopt the two-team model in 1994 with the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. Only the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Milwaukee Brewers have their own stadiums. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies currently share Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. The stadium opened in 2011 and is the first Major League Baseball Spring Training Facility to be built on Native American land. It seats 11,000 fans and has 12 practice fields and office buildings spanning over 140 acres. In the fall, it is home to the Salt River Rafters for Arizona Fall League. The parks Here are some first things to know about the Cactus League parks. Sloan Park - Chicago Cubs Sloan Park, the newest Cactus League stadium and home of the Chicago Cubs, is located on the border of Tempe and Mesa just southeast of Phoenix. It’s only a few miles from Arizona State University’s Downtown Tempe Campus and Sun Devil Stadium. It truly embodies its nickname “Wrigleyville West,” with many relics of the original stadium. Probably the most distinguishable of those are a replica of the Wrigley Field Marquee just inside the first base gate and the singing of “Go Cubs Go” after Cubs wins at the park. Fans even sang it after the AFL game I went to in 2016, which also happened to be during Game 3 of the NLCS vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sloan Park a fun stadium, but it’s a little tricky to get tickets to unless you’ve already bought them. Even if you are lucky enough to get them, parking can be difficult also. If you want to see it, I honestly suggest waiting until AFL. Goodyear Ballpark - Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians Goodyear Ballpark is in a western suburb of Phoenix and is the spring home to the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Despite it being a far drive, I consider it my second favorite. When you enter, you’ll see the unique sculpture called “The Ziz”—a 60’6” statue inspire[...]

Pitchers and catchers report


Rockies news and links for February 14, 2018 Pitchers and catchers report today for the Rockies! There are no games until next week. But pitchers and catchers report today for the Rockies! On to today’s links. 2018 Rockies Preview: Competition is high for the corner outfield spots | Mile High Sports The question of who will play in the corners of the outfield still remains. It will come down to performance in Spring Training. With time running out, things are not looking good for resigning Carlos Gonzalez, so there is no certainty in right field. The four players vying for the two spots are Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, David Dahl, and Raimel Tapia. The Rockies are undoubtedly hoping for good things from Desmond, who signed a huge deal with the team only to be plagued by injuries in his first year in Denver. Desmond could also provide some veteran action on a very young team. Parra is another serious contender. He rallied in 2017, stepping way up after an off 2016 season. Parra contributes not only on the field, but off as well. Anyone can see the positive impact he has on his teammates, creating a friendly, upbeat culture for the team. Dahl impressed us all, coming up from the minors to hit in 17 straight games. He, too, suffered from injuries and was unable to provide much action later in the season. Tapia had some strong moments in 2017. He had his down times, too, but his speed and hitting ability ensure that we will keep an eye on him this year. All four of these candidates have a ton of potential, and the competition for the two spots will be very tight. Catcher competition on display in camp | The outfield isn’t the only part of the field in high contention. It’s coming down to Tom Murphy, Tony Wolters, who are mostly neck and neck, and Chris Iannetta. After Murphy suffered an injury in last year’s Spring Training, Wolters took over as the primary catcher, at least until Jonathan Lucroy came to town. Wolters played well for us last year, hitting something of a slump later on. Murphy, in his 12 games, didn’t have much chance to prove himself offensively, but he did hit well in 2016. Given the number of catchers the team used last year, it is completely likely that we will see both play. Performances in Spring Training will determine who will play on Opening Day. Bud Black will also be looking at some minor-league catchers, keeping an eye out for someone who might soon be ready for the majors. Colorado Rockies: The predicament of Carlos Gonzalez | Rox Pile Carlos Gonzalez is still a question mark for the Rockies. He remains unsigned, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the Rockies will sign him, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t. Yes, last year was a rough year for CarGo, but he did provide the Rockies with some great playing in the past. It’s hard to say exactly what happened last year, but it’s possible that it was just a fluke. And that’s what Gonzalez and his agent, Scott Boras, will try to convince any team they attempt to make a deal with. Boras might create a bit of an issue for Gonzalez. All offseason long, he has been holding out for better offers for his clients. However, many teams are not willing to spend large amounts, creating a stalemate. Although there are some who would like to see CarGo back in Denver, it is looking less and less likely that we’ll see him in a Rockies uniform in 2018. Colorado Rockies: Will the same formula work in 2018? | Rox Pile Last year was the best season the Rockies have had in a decade. Bud Black provided a new, fresh leadership to the team. Watching him interact with his players was a true joy, and it was imminently clear the positive impact he had. Add to this the surprising young players, who stepped up and wowed us all. We’ve got David Dahl, Mike Tauchman, Brendan Rodgers, and Ryan McMahon, all of whom have some really exciting po[...]