It should be the final off season post before Opening Day on April 3rd in Milwaukee. The roster crunch time is two weeks from now. Injuries, thanks to BobinWV, has been a factor in the competition to determine who gets on the plane to Milwaukee. The major questions when ST started were the back end of rotation, bullpen, and bench players.
Rotation: Jon Gray is the clear choice to be #1. If BB decides to go with alternating right-left pitchers, then Tyler Anderson will be #2 and Chatty will be #3. With the unfortunate return of the cancer to Chettis, it left two rotation spots open for competition. Kyle Freeland, Agbayani’s favorite dark horse, is separating himself from the field and likely will be slotted #4 as he is a southpaw. Roster space will have to be opened to make room to add Freeland. Probably Rayon Gonzalez to the 60-day DL. BB made it clear that experience in AAA or MLB is NOT a factor. That allows Antonio Senzatela to be considered a candidate. German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman were the other candidates. Hoffman has yet to throw more than two innings in a Cactus League game. Chris Rusin was practically automatic except for his injury and he should be ready early April, but not in the rotation. Marquez has been knocked around a little bit.
Bullpen: Greg Holland, Mike Dunn, Otto, Jake McGee, and Jordan Lyles are locked into five of the eight available BP slots. Gopherg is having a good spring while Carlos Estevez is having troublesome spring. I believe one long relief spot will go to Chris Rusin (if ready) or either one of Marquez and Hoffman. Jason Motte and Chad Qualls should be packing up and sent home. Jairo Diaz should be ready by mid to late May. Qualls may start the season on the DL while Motte might be a place holder until Rusin comes back.
First base: It’s obvious Mark Reynolds will start until Ian Desmond comes back. Jordan Patterson and Stephen Cardullo can play both OF and 1B. BB put Pat Valaika and Cristhian Adames at first base in practice. BB is looking for versatility at all of the infield positions. Alexi Amarista has a cheap guaranteed contract and is having a real bad spring until today when he went 3 for 3. BB clearly likes Valaika and Adames for their power and bats from the right hand side.
Second base: DJLM
Shortstop: Trevor Story
Third base: perennial all-star and MVP candidate Nolan Arenado
Catcher: With Tom Murphy sidelined until late April, Dustin Garneau and Tony Wolters will split the duty behind the dish.
Outfield: Geraldo Parra, Chuck_Nazty, and CarGo will be the starters to open the season. David Dahl is due for a return sometimes in April. That opened the door for Chris Denorfia to be the fourth outfielder. Again roster space will have to be created to make room for Denorfia as well as Reynolds. Patterson or Cardullo may be the fifth outfielder as they can also play first base. Raimel Tapia will probably start the year in Albuquerque so he can play everyday.
The difference this year is having depth that we did not have in the past to plug in the injuries. This spring training has been a great test of the Rockies depth. I am interested to see who will be in the Albuquerque rotation as they may be formidable. Hoffman, Marquez, Yency Almonte, Sam Howard, Shane Carle?