Rox Caravan Ends at Coors Field

I went to the Q & A session hosted by the Rockies at Coors Field.  I came away with higher expectations of the team and impressive answers to some excellent questions.  I will paraphrase the various things said at the session and then follow that with my interpretations and impressions.  The 90-minutes sessions were divided into three 25-minute groups where the participants rotated among the three conference rooms.

Story is completely recovered and 100% healthy & working out as normal without restrictions.

Black spent considerable time talking about pitching as the audience peppered Bud with questions mostly “ignoring” Story.  That was to be expected somewhat.  Clearly the FO is no longer meddling in the on-field management.  Bud says there is an understanding between Jeff Bridich (JB from now on in his article and BB for Black) that there is a red line between them, but they will continue to communicate on team transactions.  Gone are the days of Bill Gievett telling the manager to use the piggyback system for pitching.  In short, JB and BB will talk about what tools they need to make the team better while letting each other do their own jobs.

BB hinted that he will give most players the green light to steal on their own trusting their intelligence and awareness of context during the game.  If that is the case, the team will probably have more stolen bases this year.  I am comfortable with the idea of stealing on your own so the other team can’t steal signs or figure out the likelihood of running.  Story and Black were ribbing each other about stealing and if caught would be pointing the fingers at each other.  That told me that the players are clearly comfortable with BB and not worrying about being thrown under the bus.

BB stated that since Gray, Bettis, Anderson, and Chatwood had the most innings and experience last year they are likely to be four of the five rotation starters.  He mentioned that Hoffman, Marquez, and Freeland are the candidates for the fifth spot and they all are likely to contribute this year as the rotation is not expected to be the same five the whole year.

BB not going to mingle in the mechanics of pitchers.  He will manage the mental part of the game and let Steve Foster/Darren Holmes be responsible for pitching mechanics and hitting coach be responsible for the swing mechanics.

BB and Dick Montfort drove in the car 1 1/2 hour each way to Greeley (to attend some function) and chatted baseball.  BB was clearly comfortable with Dick and feels that he will not be meddling at all.  Dick seemed to be comfortable with JB and BB and no longer feels a need to meddle according to BB.

BB says Wolters and Murphy will be the catching tandem and he does not expect one of them to catch 140 games like Yadier Molina or Matt Wieters.  It will depend on match ups and hot hands.  There will be no “personal catcher” for certain pitchers.

BB had a long rousing applause when he was introduced.  He started off saying he was clearly happy to be here in Colorado and was grateful for fan support from Albuquerque to Utah to Grand Junction and anywhere the Rockies Caravan stopped.  He talked about his resume and how it helped him prepare for today’s game in Colorado.  He’s seen both the traditional style and the sabermetrics style and he knows sabermetrics is part of baseball game today.

Gray was asked about the catchers – Wolters is so smart and very creative and Gray knew Murphy from the days in the minors.  Gray says Murphy is the hardest working man in the workout room and a very detailed oriented person. Both catchers are great in the clubhouse.

Ottavino feels very normal and working out preparing for the new season.  The last 2-3 weeks of 2016 felt like 100% so he prepared during the winter like he had no injury to overcome.  He has talked with Greg Holland about what he has gone through during the  TJ recovery.

I personally directed a question to Steve Foster and asked him how he will balance analytics with gut feelings.  I cited an example of a LH-batter has very good even splits against RH and LH pitchers but a lefty specialist gets brought in and it was a waste of time in my opinion.  Foster answered that analytics will definitely be a part of matchup decisions.  Good!

Foster emphasized as always that he wants pitchers who has tough mental make up who don’t care where they are pitching.  But he also understands that fastballs in the mid to high 90s will play anywhere including altitude.

Sam Moll, Miguel Castro, and Matt Carisiti will likely be needed at one time or another in 2017.

Yency Almonte and Ryan Castellani were prominently mentioned as the next SPs to hit Coors even as early as 2017 if they are needed.  Zach Wilson says even MLBN has not heard of them yet, but soon they will.  Woo hoo!

JB came into my conference room in the last group of three.  Great and tough questions were directed at JB and I expected him to kind of dance around the tough questions, but no he was honest and forthright.  The big question was about how the FO has meddled with the organization quite a bit (paraphrased by me).  JB – in 2014 when he took over he wanted to change the  direction of the organization and asked Montfort to give him more money and flexibility.  (my interpretation – apparently Dick was convinced by JB’s plan of attack for the future and gradually gave him complete control).  JB says Montfort is totally hands off (or nearly to that effect).

Another question fired at JB that all purple seamheads wanted to ask – what are you doing to change the perception that pitchers don’t want to come to Coors?  Greg Holland took the microphone away from JB and said I’ll answer that question.  JB was beaming and proud of his latest acquisition (Holland).  Holland basically said it comes down to the product on the field.  And the Rockies were putting shoddy products year after year on the field especially on the pitching side.  Holland says he chose to come to Colorado (other than the relationships he already had with Foster & Holmes) because he believes Colorado now has a quality winning product especially on the pitching side.  Bigger grin from JB.

Holland talked about himself a little bit; the main theme was he is here to win today.  He has no interest in building up stats that would help him look good.  All he wants to do is win.  He’s not thinking into the future.  One game at a time and his only mission is to win now.  Losing is not in his vocabulary.  Dunn is the same way except he’s not as vocal as Holland.

JB and Zach Wilson talked about the first baseman position.  They prefaced their comments saying that Todd Helton’s shoes were quite big to fill.  The first thing they look at is the glove noting  how Helton makes the defense better especially at Coors behind the pitchers.  In my opinion, that explains why they chose Ian Desmond over the other available first basemen on the market thinking his glove will play a lot better than the marquee first basemen on the market.  They mentioned that Ryan McMahon and Brian Mundell are being looked at and developed to possibly play the position in the future.

Foster (if I remember correctly) says he is aiming high.  He says if the Rockies pitch well as expected, we can go to the World Series.  Yah, I like this attitude.  Gone are the days of “losing is the norm attitude.”  Foster and Holland have similar convictions – aim high.  That explains why Foster & Holmes were JB hires and retained when the rest of the coaching staff (except Stu Cole) were let go.  Indirectly, JB is aiming high as well.  Now Montfort can sit back, relax, and enjoy the Coors Field atmosphere.

I have read comments here and on Purple Row and elsewhere that the off-season job done by the Rockies was not all that great.  After attending the Q&A yesterday, I think the pundits are delivering low blows.  I’m aiming for 90-wins.  We have a really good depth in both the rotation and bullpen.  SPs – Gray, Bettis, Chatwood, Anderson, Hoffman, Marquez, Freeland, Almonte, Castellani, Senzatela. BP – Ottavino, Holland, Dunn, Diaz, Castro, Moll, Rusin, Lyles, McGee, Motte, Qualls, Estevez, Gopherg, and Rayon Gonzalez.  At my count for the BP, that’s 14 and 10 for the SPs.  Do I see any scrap pickups? NO! (except Qualls).

Then there’s our lineup – I project that CarGo will be the only one regressing as his long swing slows down a little bit (plus his inability to hit away from the shift; I read the 2017 Bill James Handbook and CarGo is hurt tremendously by the shifts as in top five.  Some guys say Chuck_Nazty and DJLM will likely regress; but I say if they do regress it will be small and the difference will be more than made up with the addition of David Dahl and Ian Desmond to the lineup.  Not to even mention Tom Murphy despite the high K rate (still way better than Hundley).  I think the only work we have left is to strengthen the bench.  I advocate Mark Reynolds (still available and he’s better than Raburn) or Jordan Patterson.  I don’t need the PAT theory to cross the 90-win barrier.  I need PAT only for the bench to take us from 90 to 95. (breakout season from Cardullo?  LOL)

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sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Great stuff RMH – thanks.

I wrote a comment in the Hot Stove thread the other day regarding Holland and his Rockies connections. Virtually every national writer I’ve read think Holland will bolt for greener pastures after this season. Mark it down…..if he returns to health, pitches well in the 2nd half, and the Rockies are competitive, he’ll stay in Denver.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

One more interesting thing about Holland and his contract that I’ve only seen mentioned once:

If he pitches well, but the Rockies suck, it’s a very tradable contract in July.

roxnsox
roxnsox
3 years ago

Thanks, RMH! Interesting. Clearly they’ve sold you, and that’s an OK barometer for me. I will forever have the “caution” flag up in my mind, having had high hopes and hard falls many times before, but … wheeeeee … the high hopes do seem somewhat justified this year, and here we go.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago

Rockies sign former Phillies prospect Domonic Brown to minor league deal.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/rockies-sign-domonic-brown-minors.html

Doc
Doc
3 years ago

Excellent job, RMH. Thanks. Sounds like the ship’s been righted at long last. I put on my purple glasses last fall when I read how the Rockies players had bonded as a team. Talk about clubhouse chemistry all you want, but I believe that’s a tremendous difference maker. Best thing to happen to this club was replacing WW with BB.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago

I posted this on PR when EButt was DFA’d. In my mind, it came down to Rusin/Lyles/Butler for the DFA. IMO – Butler was the one chosen to be DFA’d because he still has the Prospect pedigree from the not-so-distant past. So I saw him as the tradable commodity of the three. This is the Kahnle situation version 2.0, and even somewhat similar to the Marquez inclusion in the Dickerson trade. Bridich is at his best picking low minors, off-the-radar… Read more »

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

It is really nice to see the Rockies get something in return for DFAed players. When O’Dowd was in charge it seemed like they were always releasing them or losing them on waiver claims without getting anything in return.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Rox sign Mark Reynolds to a MINOR LEAGUE deal. Ag has opined that this was the way to go. I’m stunned Amat the 1B market has cratered this Hot Stove season. There must be something seriously wrong with Chris Carter.

For the record – I’m a fan of all minor league deals.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Oops – meant to say “at how the 1B market has cratered.”

Damn IPhone!

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago

He’ll start 3 days a week at 1st. That allows Desmond to roam about the diamond and truly maximize his value. I think this deal has been in Bridich’s back pocket all along. It was dependent on signing Holland. Had we missed on Holland, we may have gone after a bigger name at 1st. Napoli? Carter? But Holland + Reynolds is way better than Joe Blanton + Carter. Remember the article that gave the Rox a Hot Stove D+ grade?… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

RMH, great write-up here! There was a hint of spring in the air over the weekend, and it brought out the big time optimism. And guess what? I’m not going to be that guy – the guy who has to rain on the Rox Caravan parade. Let’s just leave it at this: we agree that the Rockies can be competitive this year. Mark Reynolds: nice to see that. And they kind of have to keep him. I’ve been having nightmares… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Ag…..I see this deal (Reynolds) bumping Desmond by 1 WAR minimum. Perhaps a bit more – even though it’s all schematics. IMO – some of that “bump” should be assigned to the bench, even though technically it’s not bench. I guess what I’m saying is the traditional SP+RP+Everyday Lineup+Bench sum of the parts analysis for the 2017 Rockies will be tricky (in a good way) because of Desmond.

Bill
Bill
3 years ago

A little off-topic but it was reported today that Caleb Joseph, back up catcher for the Orioles, “lost” in arbitration. Joseph batted in the 170s with 0 (that’s right zero, none, zilch) RBIs and still got more than a 33% raise from $523,500 to $700,000. He did not lose he just won less than the desired million dollars a year. I know professional sports is not the real world and I don’t usually care about the salaries but can’t he… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill

A little less off topic, our boy Boone Logan signed today with the Indians for 5.5M 2017 dollars. That’s a bit less than I would have guessed.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago

Non-roster invitees

Left-handed pitchers: Kyle Freeland, Sam Howard, Harrison Musgrave, Jerry Vasto

Right-handed pitchers: Matt Carasiti, Ryan Castellani, James Farris, Johendi Jiminian, C.C. Lee

Catchers: Anthony Bemboom, Dom Nunez, Chris Rabago, Jan Vazquez

Outfielders: Noel Cuevas, Chris Denorfia, Rosell Herrera, Michael Tauchman

Infielders: Stephen Cardullo, Daniel Castro, Ryan McMahon, Mark Reynolds, Rafael Ynoa

http://roxpile.com/2017/02/02/colorado-rockies-announce-non-roster-players-for-spring-training/

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago

Call me crazy………………..I’d claim Byung Ho Park.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Overall, Park posted a disappointing .191/.275/.409 batting line with the Twins. He is guaranteed $9.75MM over the next three years which isn’t bad if he could actually hit. He did hit .257/.339/.578 before he hurt his wrist. He is expected to clear waivers.

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob K.

Bob – we should send them Chad Qualls. That means were only picking up about 5M, and they’re saving about 5M.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

If it was up to me, I would give them both Qualls and Motte.

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago

I told you – I’m crazy!

9-10M for 3 years of a guy with his upside is a cheap risk in baseball economics.

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Boone Logan: he’s somewhat better than Dunn, and he comes with a shorter commitment and lower average annual salary. Oops. There’s been a higher injury risk, but still, I’d have re-signed him for a year instead of Dunn. Park: Carp, I’m with you on that one, assuming that the posting fee/signing bonus thing is already fully paid (not pro-rated over the years of his contract). Despite being huge, the defensive reports on him are pretty solid. He really wasn’t as… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Can I add a #4 to Freeland? 4. He’s compared to Tyler Anderson. Not a bad comparison.

Think about this Ag (and others) – we’re debating Hoffman vs Marquez vs Freeland as # 5 starter. A couple of years ago, we were debating Kendricks vs Hale vs Nicasio. 2017 is a much more appetizing debate.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago

MLB 2017 Fantasy player Review 5. Nolan Arenado 13. Charlie Blackmon 39. Trevor Story 47. Ian Desmond 65. Carlos Gonzalez 78. DJ Lemahieu 112. David Dahl 135. Jon Gray 225. Tyler Anderson 339. Greg Holland 346. Chad Bettis 378. Adam Ottavino 396. Tom Murphy 413. Tony Wolters 446. Tyler Chatwood 469. Gerardo Parra 530. Chris Rusin 533. German Marquez 587. Carlos Estevez 589. Jake McGee 648. Mike Dunn 725. Jeff Hoffman 736. Alexi Amarista 752. Mark Reynolds 797. Cristhian Adames… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob K.

As a long, long, long time Owner in very old, established auction league……….I’ve found the fantasy publications are much more relevant than most people want to believe, for a different reason than most people want to believe. I’d like to have a dollar for every time someone has told me “real baseball isn’t fantasy.” Well DUH. But the fantasy publications are all about setting their subscribers up to win, so they tend to not be biased. In fact, they do… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
3 years ago

It appears as though the RWO site has been hacked by the Putin and the Russians. How cool is that???

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

It’s a shame that it doesn’t appear that anyone is doing any maintenance on the site.

jaredean
Admin
jaredean
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob K.

sorry guys, my life has taken a massive upgrade in time needed to maintain just my very existence so, sadly, other things have had to suffer a bit – like the site…i dumped a ton of time/$ into the “update” of the site and had a horrible experience with that because i went against my better judgement and outsourced it (twice) and got burned (twice) instead of doing it myself – i just didn’t have the time…Third time i was… Read more »

julieG
julieG
3 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

Glad you could put the time and effort you have into the site. I really appreciate it!

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Doc
Doc
3 years ago

Appreciate all you’ve done Jared; no apologies necessary. Without you this site would not have existed, much less survived. I’m sure this year’s team will spawn a lot of interest and with it, additional donations to RWO which will allow you to afford additional help. Take care of yourself, man.

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago

Baseball America 2017 Top 100 prospects

16. Brendan Rodgers
36. Jeff Hoffman
46. Riley Pint
49. Raimel Tapia
53. German Marquez

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2017-top-100-prospects/#l9pIQv3Z8BDvTWrZ.97

jaredean
Admin
jaredean
3 years ago
Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

That’s great!!

Thanks for cleaning up the site and everything you do to make this a great site.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

WOW…..looks much better. Thanks Jaredean (or whomever).

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