The revelation that Kyle Kendrick has been gutting it out through shoulder inflammation and a possible rotator cuff injury for two months was kinda hard to accept. Having a damaged Kendrick in there easily cost the Rockies 5 games or more during that stretch. Some say this is a sign of a bad medical staff, but more likely it is a case of a player being less than honest and hurting the team. (They don’t walk through a rotator cuff-detector after every start.)
— Don Dingee (@DonnyDinger) August 1, 2015
Now what we’re looking at is a complete mess. Several of our esteemed Rockies blogger outlet counterparts have floated the idea that maybe, with Tulo gone and this race totally over (and it was over with him here, granted), Jon Gray isn’t coming up.
I thought it would be a no-brainer, with 2 rotation slots now open and the deadline over. One slot was an opening. 2 slots is “break glass in case of rotation fire” and changes the thinking.
Does Jeff Bridich have a bit of Theo Epstein in him, playing the Super 2 waiting game and holding Gray back until sometime near the end of April 2016? Gray makes no difference in how the Rox finish 2015, plus or minus a couple of wins. If for some reason he gets hurt during the dog days, it looks even dumber if he is rushed up in a meaningless situation.
This almost looks like we planned it this way. We have three guys with major league starting experience (not good, but experience). One is already here and the other two are stashed in ABQ. Oh yeah, there’s also that guy with 1 MLB win that I temporarily forgot about last night.
Just think of it: DLR Rusin Butler Laffey Jurrjens Lannan It’s like a Cici’s Pizza rotation. #Rockies
— Don Dingee (@DonnyDinger) August 1, 2015
Starting Flande lends even more credibility to the Cici’s Pizza rotation theory – all the innings you can eat for $5. Here’s the takeaway: it doesn’t matter who starts the last 60 games after DLR today. Gray is still pitching in AAA and getting some wear, but they can limit his inning count and prepare his agent for the Super 2 conversation.
Walt can start sleeping at night because this is totally not his fault. He just has to figure out a batting order without Dickerson and he may get a new toy like Kyle Parker. The CarNoGo decision is now looking a bit less brain-dead, and I suspect the Dickerson injury on Thursday might just have tipped the scale there. Chicks still dig the long ball, and as long as CarGo is hitting them we will win a few games and look like we’re trying.
Unfortunately, this scenario makes more sense than calling Gray up. Flande, Jurrjens, Laffey, and Lannan are not the long or even intermediate term plan, and aren’t trade worthy. Use them up, move on. After all, if Hoffman is anywhere near as good as advertised, he’ll need a spot in AAA come 2016, as will Chatwood for rehab, plus the likely carryover of Butler, Hale, and Rusin – all min salary guys. Barring trade, 2016 picks up right where we leave off without Kendrick but with everyone else back – DLR, Bettis, Lyles, and two guys sitting on the Jon Gray musical chair.
If that sounds like more of the same, it is, and that’s the way Monfort wants it.
The long-term contract in Colorado died on July 29, 2015. The model is, and will continue to be, about half the 25-man roster on league min, and the other half on arbitration.
I don’t know how many of you besides sdcarp took note of that salary spreadsheet from Cots Baseball Contracts post-Tulo. After years of deferred Larry Walker salary, paying Mike Hampton to play elsewhere and Denny Neagle for legal counsel, followed by long term deals to Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, a once bleak picture now looks very flexible. Only 2 players – Jose Reyes and CarGo – are owed specific amounts in 2017, and the only firm number in 2018 is Reyes’ buyout.
2016 commitments look like $65M right now. Arbitration for Arenado and others will lift the figure somewhat, and a trade of Reyes could drop it substantially. Arenado and Axford are the only Super 2s on the books with 4 years of arbitration, everyone else has 3. Balance that with the fact there is no cable megadeal on the horizon, with the Rockies paid $20M a year through 2020. A $27M annual kick of MLB revenue sharing helps, but not all that goes to salaries.
While the Dodgers spend money faster than the Department of Defense, the situation in Denver is as Troy Renck put it succinctly in December 2013: “It means the Rockies can win only if they spend their money wisely and have a farm system constantly churning out impact players.”
Not only impact players, but impact pitchers. Like one Jon Gray whose future hangs in the balance.
St. Louis Cardinals
3B Matt Carpenter (L)
CF Randal Grichuk (R)
2B Kolten Wong (L)
SS Jhonny Peralta (R)
RF Jason Heyward (L)
C Yadier Molina (R)
1B Brandon Moss (L)
LF Stephen Piscotty (R)
P Lance Lynn (R)
CF Charlie Blackmon (L)
2B DJ LeMahieu (R)
RF Carlos Gonzalez (L)
3B Nolan Arenado (R)
1B Ben Paulsen (L)
C Mike McKenry (R)
LF Drew Stubbs (R)
SS Daniel Descalso (L)
P Jorge De La Rosa (L)