The long and rather quiet winter (other than the Arenado signing) has finally come to an end. The Rockies will open the season in Miami for four games before traveling upstate to Tampa to take on the Rays for three games.
There was some mumbling that Colorado has not done much in the quiet off season. In hindsight, there were clues why the front office had chosen to go the quiet route. They immediately signed Dan Murphy to play first base since they knew they had to move Ground Balls off first base and move him to center field pushing Chuck_Nazty to right field. He should not have been playing CF last year when he led the majors in the wrong way with the worst negative RS (runs saved) metric. Murphy looked much better at 1B than Desmond ever did during spring training.
Colorado also figured that they had plenty of in-house candidates to compete for the second base job to replace DJLM who moved to the Yankees as a free agent. The Cactus League games showed that they had adequate or better replacement for DJLM. Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, and Pat Valaika were the candidates. McMahon showed that he is hitting the balls on the barrel a lot. Last year he had BABIP help. Hampson had also played well he joined McMahon on the OD roster.
The Rockies didn’t want to spend a lot of money so they would have enough cushion to buy out Arenado for the next eight years (option after third year). The average Coors Field crowd just went from 33,000 to 38,000 after the Arenado extension (my subjective estimate).
After experimenting with Nado in the two-hole for a good portion of the spring, they decided to flip flop Nado and Murphy. The everyday lineup will look like this: Blackmon RF, Murphy 1B, Arenado 3B, Story SS, Dahl LF, Desmond CF, McMahon 2B, Ianetta/Wolters C, and starting pitcher. The bench is Mark Reynolds, Raimel Tapia, Garret Hampson, and catcher not starting.
The rotation was settled with Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, and Chettis. The bullpen will have Wade Davis, Scott Oberg, Seunghwann Oh, Mike Dunn, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Harrison Musgrave, and DJ Johnson. Chris Rusin will begin the season on the IL like he always do every year. Antonio Senzatela also begins the year on the IL with an infected heel after wearing brand new baseball shoes. Carlos Estevez is probably the first man up from AAABQ when the pen needs help. Jeff Hoffman is likely the first SP unless Peter Lambert jumps over him on the depth chart.
If the rotation can be consistent and go deep frequently and the bullpen has less hiccups than last year, the Rockies have a real shot to displace the Dodgers as the NL West champion. The offense can’t do any worse than last year.
Jeem will be back and he will do the weekly reports on Mondays or Tuesdays when time permits. I will do the weekend reports on Thursdays or Fridays when my time permits. I will be on vacation from April 13th until May 6th. But I’ll be watching the games on MLB.TV while cruising in the South Pacific (next day mornings over there during evening games here). If there is no new post, just keep commenting away on the current post like we did during the winter. But I promise we don’t have a thread 100 pages long.
Go Rockies – my projection is 93 wins according to my Planet Alignment Theory and 84 wins if all kinds of problems appear during the season.