Contention Pretension

Contention Pretension

ROX BACK IN PHOENIX; 162 AHEAD

Carlos Gonzalez, No. 5, “Cargo,” is back to lead the 2018 Colorado Rockies, who’ll seek a second straight appearance in MLB’s post-season, hopefully one that will last more the 4/3 innings.  Wade Davis is on from the Cubs to close, Brian Shaw comes over from Cleveland to be a righty set-up guy, and southpaw Jake McGee was resigned to join him, as general manager Jeff Bridich made some big waves back in late autumn when the stove was hot, and it wasn’t hot for long.  Chris Ianetta returns to the fold after a brief stint in hostile territory to be the every day catcher.

Gonzalez will play right in an outfield that will also include should-have-been MVP Charlie Blackmon in center and the spark plug Gerardo Parra in left.  One might expect projections for a former batting champion and 3-time all-star coming upon the peak of his career at age 32 to be something like .340/40/120, yet the RWO forecasts Gonzalez will actually meet his demise some time in mid-May, expiring I imagine from symptoms of pneumonia, progressive kidney failure, creeping dementia, and apathy.  Fortunately, 2016 phenom David Dahl will have just about completed shaking-off the rust of a lost 2017 down in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico by the time Gonzalez conks-out for good, minimizing the tragedy of No. 5’s predicted passing.

Bridich’s reacquisition of Cargo resulted in a “ka-ching ka-ching” effect on the Rockies’ projected lineup, relocating Parra from right to left, and the 70 million dollar man without a position, Ian Desmond, from left to 1st-base, which had been Bridich’s plan ‘A’ all along.  Desmond will team with rookie Ryan McMahon to make put-outs of the assists fired across the diamond by the all-world defense consisting of the other-worldly Nolan Arenado at 3rd, Trevor Story at short, and steady DJ LeMahieu at 2nd.

Gonzalez, Blackmon, and Parra comprise a similarly imposing outfield defense, and teamed with Ianetta and back-up catcher/infielder Tony Wolters, a young Rockies’ starting pitching staff gets the benefit of that very strong group of veterans backing them up.  Right-hander Jon Gray, he of the infamous 4/3 innings in Phoenix, leads the rotation, which will be filled-out by lefties Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland, and right-handers Chad Bettis and German Marquez.  Antonio Senzatela makes the team at the long end of a deep bullpen designed to provide additional comfort to the young group of starters.

In between Senzatela and McGee, Shaw, and Davis, the pen will include right-handers Scott Oberg and Adam Ottavino, warts and all, with left-handers Mike Dunn and the exquisite Chris Rusin rounding-out the staff.  Beyond the aforementioned McMahon and Wolters, Pat Valaika returns as a menace off a bench that will be completed by outfielder Mike Tauchman, who came to camp with a plan, and executed it to near perfection.

All-in-all, one can’t help from concluding it’s an impressively imposing group that Bridich was assembled for the manipulations of 2nd-year skipper Bud Black, who returns a staff that includes bench coach Mike Redmond, Bob K’s favorite Duane Espy and Jeff Salazar coaching the hitters, with Steve Foster and Darren Holmes coaching the pitchers.  Tony Diaz is back to coach 1st, Stu Cole will again be over at 3rd, Ronnie Gideon is the infield coach, and Aaron Munoz is the bullpen catcher.  The trouble for all, as sd carp, now posing as the Prophet of Doom, has made painfully clear, is the competition is equally impressive, and widespread as well.  Looking around the league, you can say, well the Braves are still doing a lot of stirring and shaking, the Marlins are in the midst of one of their 5-year purges, the Padres are still in San Diego, and the hated Giants are trying to make a “Yankees of the West” approach work in the latter years of their contention window.  But otherwise pretty-much everybody else has reason to be thinking meaningful games in September, and it figures to be a brawl.

I think carp’s being a bit harsh, but I too fear 2018 will be a stutter-step backward for the local 9.  I’m calling out 84 wins, a game short of grabbing the outside wild card.  The key will be besting the rival Diamondbacks, and of course we get to start with that action at 8:10 MT tonight at Chase Field.  Gray (10-4, 3.67 in 2017) gets the call against Arizona’s difficult lefty Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.03 in 2017).  Get a leg-up on the Dbacks and make a run at the lordly Dodgers, then maybe more than 4/3 innings of Rocktober are in the cards.

So OK, sit back, it’s on.  Don’t get too comfortable, HERE WE GO!

 

jim-miller

Architectural Spec Writer Born Toledo, Ohio 4-9-55 Tiger Fan Braves Fan Rockies Fan

44 Comments

    • roxnsox

      March 29, 2018

      I’m gonna say they keep it up! Bullpen better, young starters steadier/more experienced, Story hits much better (meaning whiffs a lot less too), Dahl and McMahon shove their way into it and tear it up, Cargo is at least serviceable, hopefully Desmond is better than that, the rest of the known excellence stays at or near par. The LoDo Magic is thick with this cohesive team. 86-76, and that might be good enough for a wild card. You all are right that there’s a lot of competition.

      The title of the new thread is a little jinx-y, I fear, Jeem…. or is that reverse voodoo? 😉 As stated above, I am going with real contenders, not pretenders. A 4-3 road trip to start in the division would be acceptable. Here we go!

      Reply
    • Jeem

      March 29, 2018

      Hmm. What do I mean by that! I’ve had that rhyme in my head so long I probably didn’t think hard enough about what it means.

      We are contenders. Whether or not we contend beyond September, we’ll see

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      March 29, 2018

      I’m calling 90-72; 1st in NL West. Reasons:
      1) This year half of the NL teams will be great and half of the NL teams will be awful. No in-between teams.
      2) Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, and Chettis were not in the rotation to begin 2017. The Rockies will expect better pitching from the rotation and rely less on the bullpen in the first two months.
      3) Bullpen is vastly better. No Chad Qualls or Jason Motte to begin the year. Otto will be back to pre-TJ form. Oberg will break out this year. Senzatela and Rusin perfect left/right swing guys. Have Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez down in Albuquerque for depth. Hoffman too for the rotation depth.
      4) Desmond and CarGo cannot do worse than last year. That’s at least two wins right there.
      5) Story won’t strike out as much and drive in more runs this year.
      6) Ianetta/Wolters at catcher far better than Garneau/Wolters plus Tom Murphy is healthy and adds depth behind the plate. Better than Ryan Hanigan.
      7) Jon Gray will be the true ace better than Ubaldo’s best year; add three wins there.
      8) McMahon/Desmond at 1B way better than hoping that Mark Reynolds can endure the entire year.
      9) David Dahl and/or Raimel Tapia ready to contribute if Parra and/or CarGo are having bad years.
      10) Giants are old and regressing. Dodgers won’t repeat career years from several players. And I don’t fear their rotation beyond Kershaw. I just think we are better than Arizona this year especially having chips on their shoulders. San Diego – expected to be bottom feeders along with Giants. But if we can only figure out how to beat those Padres.

      Go Rockies!

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        March 29, 2018

        Forgot one more reason: our bench. Instead of Alexi Amarista, it’s Valaika, Tauchman, and McMahon off the bench.

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      March 29, 2018

      Senzatela in the Bullpen. Who would have thought that…..for the last two years minimum (snark intended).

      Reply
    • Bob in WV

      March 29, 2018

      I’m going with 89-73, a slight improvement. I’m not convinced the young pitching staff won’t suffer some regression along with some growth, but I expect solid seasons from NA, CB, and DJ along with more production from Cargo and Trevor. Regardless, let’s have some fun this summer!!!!!

      Reply
    • Jeem

      March 30, 2018

      Well, that was no fun at all. Don’t know as to whether I’d have tried to get a second inning out of Rusin in that situation.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 30, 2018

      Only one game. I know. But the weaknesses of this team were clear immediately:
      – Jon Gray: presumptive Ace with Ace stuff. Big game pitcher? Umm, not yet. This was our ace vs. their (really) #4. It should have been a mismatch. Gray comes out, first pitch slider. Why? Dude, you throw 97. Go right after them. You should not be a nibbler. Last year’s wild card playoff game on repeat.
      – Batting order, 4-7: Story (cleanup), Cargo, Desmond, Parra. By RC+ in 2017 (100 is average), this is a murderer’s row of: 81, 84, 69, 90. And that’s overall. It’s considerably worse for Cargo and Parra vs. lefties. Last night: 2-12, 5 LOB.This has to be addressed, quickly. I know, lefty starter and all that, but we need to see McMahon immediately since if he’s not ready, they’ll have to look at trading for someone.
      – Rusin was fantastic. Box score won’t show it as he gave up 3 runs in that second inning, but he saved Gray – bases loaded, and he fooled ’em, allowing no one to score.
      – Cargo: special mention here. He looked … awful. Strikeout swinging, strikeout looking, weak grounder. Why oh why did Bridich re-sign him? Did I mention that he doesn’t cover much ground in RF anymore too?
      Oh, and I was at this one, and let me just say the Diamondbacks organization was Not Ready for Prime Time. Concessions running out of food before the first pitch. I was in club level with “waiter service” but I didn’t see any server until the 6th inning. First time I’ve been there with the roof open, and it’s a perfectly fine stadium for the environment – the open air makes all the difference. There were definitely blocks of empty seats in the cheap sections of the upper tier on opening day. I can’t fathom why the Dbacks are whining that they need taxpayer financing for something new. They just need to run the facility professionally …

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 30, 2018

      Correction: last year Parra actually hit lefties a little better than righties, but that’s an anomaly. Repeat after me: “reverse splits are almost never real and are almost always a consequence of a small sample size.”
      But Cargo’s utter uselessness against lefties is real: last year – .206 vs. lefties, 2 HRs in 137 plate appearances. A 29 RC+ and this is the guy you bat 5th in the order against a lefty starter? He can be a useful PLATOON player (as RMH has said many times, he’s probably best off sitting against some power pitcher righty starters too), but there’s no way he should see the starting lineup against a lefty, and really no way that even if you’re forced to play him he should bat in the middle of the order. I don’t care how much of a man crush Nolan has on him …

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        March 30, 2018

        The commentators (and the ATT Sportsnet producers, who repeatedly make them show and discuss the graphics on Cargo from last September – last September is over!!!) need to zip it about the man crush, too. I guess Bridich may be guilty as well, cuz he pulled the trigger. Clubhouse chemistry is all very well, I’m sure, but…. PROVE US WRONG CARGO!

        Very disappointed in Gray. The growing up should be over by now. Yep, throw the friggin’ heat! Don’t get tricky right out of the gate!

        All that aside, and this clunker, I’m with Bob. Let’s have some fun! A winner helps, but I’m going to try not to be Eeyore too often in down times.

        Reply
    • Doc

      March 30, 2018

      I’m all for fun, but I can’t drink enough beer to sit through this rerun of remedial hitting and pitching.. At least we don’t have to listen to Drew say, “You know they’re going to hit.” McMahon should be getting his shot now. BB wouldn’t play him last year and is using Cargo as an excuse to hold him out this year. Supposedly Cargo was brought back to appease Nolan; fine, let him sit on the bench and cheer Nolan on. If the Rox still have that in house psychologist, I recommend Gray and Story see him first thing. You belong here, guys. Just go out and do it.

      On another note, hear that Holland is signed with St. Louis if he passes his physical. Seems I read somewhere that the Rox wouldn’t get any compensation for him signing if the season had already started. Is that right? Shrewd of Cardinals to wait to save draft pix.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        March 30, 2018

        They would not have gotten a compensation draft pick if he had signed after draft day. Because he failed to get a $50MM contract their compensation pick will be after the Compensation B draft picks instead of after the compensation A draft picks.

        Reply
    • Bob in WV

      March 30, 2018

      Could we please score a run without a homer for once? Homers are nice but certainly don’t reflect a consistent offense.

      Reply
      • Bob in WV

        March 30, 2018

        Ok, we finally got one. Now pull this thing out, dang it.

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      March 31, 2018

      Nine of ten runs on HRs. Issuing walks that come around to score. Trevor Story needs to swap spots with Ianetta in the batting order. I cannot stand his automatic strike outs. Or move Desmond to SS and put McMahon at 1B.

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      April 1, 2018

      My lineup suggestion
      Blackmon CF
      Deej 2B
      Arenado 3B
      CarGo RF – short leash to prove u can play everyday.
      Dahl LF – Makes Parra 4th OF as appropriate.
      Desmond SS – Take Story’s strikeouts out of lineup.
      McMahon 1B – Free him to play everyday.
      Ianetta C – he knows how to hit #8

      If Rockies cut bait on CarGo (highly doubtful), Tapia can replace him in RF keeping Parra as 4th OF. Don’t be afraid to call up Brendan Rodgers to play SS if the Desmond experiment at SS fails.

      Yes you heard that right, I’m cutting bait with Story. A near 40% strikeout rate with two years to fix it doesn’t cut it with me.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 1, 2018

      I’m neither agreeing or disagreeing with the above comments. But I will offer/ask this – why should we be expecting anything offensively different in 2018 (when compared to 2017)?

      We doubled down on the same personnel, in more or less the same batting order. Expect more of 2017 (offensively) until real change is implemented.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        April 1, 2018

        And they kept the same inept hitting coach. They even have Arenado striking out more than normal.

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        April 1, 2018

        Because Trevor Story was supposed to have figured out how not to strike out so much by now! And because Ian Desmond’s 2017 was aberrant! That’s why, Carp. BTW, anyone heard more detail about Desi’s knee injury?

        Too soon to panic about runs coming on homers. A run is a run (and dingers are sometimes more). I agree that it can’t be relied on, obviously. Are you guys and gals worried that a mindset will solidify around hitting them out, leading to bad habits? Is that the concern? I don’t know enough about hitting to say, but I am curious and asking.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          April 2, 2018

          I’ll grant you both of those RnS (Story being better and Desmond being healthy)……even though the first 3 games suggest otherwise. Do you realize Desmond has had a remarkably healthy career until last year?

          But we still have the Parra/Cargo dilemma. We still have DJ batting in the wrong slot. We’re still forced to hit Nazty #1 in the order when he’d be great at #3. And……we’re still married to Nazty and Arenado being 100% healthy.

          Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        April 2, 2018

        That’s two great minds that think alike. See my post above in early part of thread. I called 1st in NL West.

        Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 3, 2018

        3 of those 5 games against the High School team masquerading as the MARLINS!

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 3, 2018

      Not trying to jinx anyone……but Desmond is playing really well. Almost looks comfortable at 1st,

      Reply
    • Bob K.

      April 3, 2018

      Tyler Chatwood pitched 6 innings of one run ball last night as the Cubs lost 1-0. He had 4 Ks and 6 BBs.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 3, 2018

        I saw that box score……….my eyes went straight to 6 BBs. That’s (still) horrible. Hopefully he’ll improve that – if not he’s destined for another bad year.

        Reply
    • ProgMatinee

      April 3, 2018

      nobody in the MLB is jobbed at the plate more than T.Story. Never ever gets a borderline call in his favor.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      April 3, 2018

      Did Bud just go to Oberg with a couple lefties in a row due up? Don’t we have like a half dozen lefty relievers?

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 4, 2018

      Regarding Nazty – the latest and greatest going price for 1 WAR is about 10M. So Chuck will need to produce 11 WAR over the next 6 years to sorta, maybe, kinda justify contract. I can see something like this:
      2018 – 5 WAR
      2019 – 4 WAR
      2020 – 3 WAR
      2021 – 1.5 WAR
      2022 – 1.0 WAR
      2023 – 0.5 WAR

      So this is 15 WAR……well over the 11 “required.” Granted – I’m not saying I’m buying into this analysis methodology…..but it’s something to consider.

      Reply
    • roxnsox

      April 4, 2018

      ONE win for 10 million? Cuckoo money. To once again quote Larry Walker.

      This contract is fine with me – I’m happy to have him! and I’m not the one who has to deal with it in a few years when it’s proven again that these things are cement overshoes. What a screwed-up business. This is Charlie being a Rockies stalwart WAY above even my prediction when he came up. Yeah!!

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 4, 2018

        For sure RoxnSox……10M per win (basically a slightly below average regular) is insane…….but it is what it is I suppose.

        Reply
        • roxnsox

          April 5, 2018

          Yes, what it is. An industry that has transformed real money into play money. My ears have long since stopped steaming over the injustice of this when teachers get $50K, etc. etc. etc., but it still rankles a bit. Clearly.

          And….HELLO Jon Gray! Welcome!

          Reply
          • Agbayani

            April 5, 2018

            “… when teachers get $50K” … I can’t disagree with you, Roxnsox. A long time ago I had a professor in a theology class who said the key to true understanding was to stop thinking in terms of “but” and start thinking in terms of “and.” In other words, it’s not “Charlie Blackmon is getting a ridiculous amount of money to play a kids’ game, but that’s what the economics of baseball dictates.” Rather, it’s “Charlie Blackmon is indeed getting the market rate for a professional ballplayer at the peak of his game, AND it is (in some deeper way) obscene. And indeed both clauses are true here. I don’t begrudge him the salary at all, but I still wonder about how we got to this place …

            Reply
            • roxnsox

              April 6, 2018

              WELL said, Ag. Another note: looks like you might be right about the return of Good Otto!

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