Rockies Prepare for 2018 Run

Rockies Prepare for 2018 Run

It was the coolest stove season in MLB history.  Jeff Bridich knew what he wanted to do and completed his most important tasks of the off season.  It was warmer than usual stove season by the Rockies’ standard.  They almost immediately snatched Chris Ianetta to keep the money available for the bullpen.  Bridich went above and beyond the fans’ expectations by signing not one, not two, but THREE back end of the bullpen arms.  Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee each signed a three-year contract so the back end of the bullpen would be set while the window is open for the potentially perennial run at the post season.

David Dahl has returned from his injury and began swinging without limits.  He should be fully ready when spring training starts.  Raimel Tapia, Mike Tauchman, and Jordan Patterson will join Dahl in competing for the fourth and potentially fifth outfielder slots.  Gerardo Parra, Chuck_Nazty, and Ian Desmond are the presumed starters in the outfield.  Desmond and Patterson could potentially shorten an infield roster by having the ability to play 1B as well.

The infielders and utility players are pretty much set with the exception of first base.  The lack of pursuit for a first baseman in free agency tells me that Ryan McMahon’s job is his to lose at first base.  DJLM, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado are set as starters.  Pat Valaika is expected to be the utility man.  He could be the only one if Desmond and/or Patterson is on the roster and could play first base.  Who knows if the Rockies could go with five outfielders and five infielders this year?  I think the bench will be stronger with five outfielders without watching in horror Alexis Amarista coming up to pinch hit.  I’d prefer Tauchman/Tapia/Dahl/Patterson as pinch hitters.  The catchers will be Ianetta and either Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy.

The rotation will be the big wild card in 2018.  If they can all avoid the sophomore slumps and stay strong through the dog days of the season, it should be a formidable group.  Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson when healthy are locks in my opinion.  The next three starters will very competitive.  Chad Bettis, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, and Kyle Freeland will battle to fill out the rotation.  Yency Almonte and Sam Howard are on the 40-man roster and will be the emergency starters if needed.

The bullpen for the first time in franchise history is pretty much set.  Spring training performances could cause a change here or there.  Davis, McGee, and Shaw will be at the back end.  The high leverage pitchers will be Scott Oberg, Mike Dunn and Adam Ottavino.  The long relief guy will obviously be Chris Rusin.  That’s seven spots already.  The eighth spot is open for competition with Carlos Estevez having the most experience and Jairo Diaz having the most potential.  Or it could go to a guy that missed out on the rotation such as Senzatela.

I turned in a Purp30 ballot and Purple Row is revealing the players one by one.  The list below is the consensus choice by the PR community with my ballot in parenthesis.  The first five has yet to be revealed but the first five are my presumptions.

  1. Brendan Rodgers (1)
  2. Ryan McMahon (3)
  3. Riley Pint (2)
  4. Colton Welker (5)
  5. Peter Lambert (9)
  6. Ryan Castellani (4)
  7. Ryan Vilade (6)
  8. Yency Almonte (8)
  9. Garrett Hampson (12)
  10. Sam Howard (11)
  11. Tom Murphy (7)
  12. Tyler Neven (14)
  13. Brian Mundell (20)
  14. Jordan Patterson (NR)
  15. Dan Montano (10)
  16. Forrest Wall (13)
  17. Sam Hilliard (16)
  18. Breiling Eusebio (19)
  19. Yonathan Daza (21)
  20. Ben Bowden (18)
  21. Dom Nunez (29)
  22. Mike Tauchman (15)
  23. Will Gaddis (17)
  24. Robert Tyler (HM)
  25. Mike Nikorak (24)
  26. Willie Abreu (HM)
  27. Jairo Diaz (25)
  28. Vince Fernandez (NR)
  29. Chad Spanberger (28)
  30. Tommy Doyle (23)

I had  Jesus Tinoco (27), James Farris (26), Jack Wynkoop (30), and Noel Cuevas (22) on my Purp30 ballot.  I left Patterson completely off my ballot cuz I consider him another Ben Paulsen.  All in all, a lot of pitchers made big moves into the top ten such as Lambert, Castellani, Howard, and Almonte.  That bodes well for the future of pitching at Coors Field.

It is now three weeks before the pitchers and catchers report to spring training.  There are still over 100 free agents that are still looking for a team including CarGo and Mark Reynolds.  Reading about baseball in general, the GMs are trending towards shorter term contracts.  They are tired of being tied down to any contracts longer than four years as most players begin their decline in the final few years of the contract.  Two other factors can explain the slow off season.  One, most teams are trying to stay under the luxury tax line to save money.  Two, next year will be a huge year for free agents with Bryce Harper as the headliner and teams are saving their money for 2019 winter.

With my assumptions that the rotation will do their part, bullpen holding up their end of the bargain, and an improved offense (less Ks from Story, Desmond bounce back year, and production from catchers) I project a 90-win team.  The reality is that the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Giants will provide stiff competition for the West pennant.  All the while Cardinals, Brewers, and three West non-winners will muddy up the playoff picture.  Actually, the Cubs may not finish first in the Central as their rotation and bullpen are questionable (unless Chatty gives them a career year which he is fully capable of).

Coldest Stove Season Except for Rockies Bullpen

rockymountainhigh

Hometown - Champaign, IL College - Northern Illinois University, 1988 Sports Editor for my high school newspaper. Travels frequently - I can be found anywhere in the world.

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sdcarp
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sdcarp

As a general rule, you shouldn’t drive at night in your purple tinted glasses. But RMH, yours are so tinted at the moemnt, I’m thinking the State of Colorado should slap some daylight driving restrictions on you as well. Here’s where I am at the moment (and very important note………the Hot Stove season is NOT over, it’s just extremely delayed this season): 1. Bullpen is incrementally better. 2. SP is actually our strength. “Nice” quality (there are no true aces – but solid guys), good mix of LHed and RHed, very good depth, different types of pitchers, almost all figure… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.
sdcarp
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sdcarp

How can you wrong with a name like that?

Bob K.
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Bob K.

His ERA in the past was just under 10.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

That was a last name (Pounder(d)) joke. A bad one.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Yes, he has been “pounded” in the past rather than “pounding” the strike zone.
LOL

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Spring training invitees:
Brendan Rodgers – SS/2B/3B
Garrett Hampson – 2B
Peter Lambert – RHP
Ryan Castellani – RHP
Shane Broyles – RHP
Brian Mundell – 1B
Dom Nunez – C
Sam Hilliard – CF
Harrison Musgrave – LHP
Daniel Castro – IF
Shawn O’Malley – IF
Brooks Pounder – RHP
James Farris – RHP
Austin House – RHP
Jerry Vasto – LHP
Anthony Bemboom – C
Jan Vazquez – C

https://www.mlb.com/news/brendan-rodgers-among-rockies-spring-invites/c-265514500

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Lookie, lookie……..Rox talking to Todd Frazier. This could move my prediction dial to 84-77 RMH.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Former Padres GM Kevin Towers dies at age 56. RIP.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/kevin-towers-passes-away-cancer.html

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Rockies may not be looking at Arenado, Blackmon or LeMahieu long term.

Zach Wilson, director of player development said:

“Our job is to not worry about Charlie, Nolan or DJ. Our goal is churning out impactful, major-league players from year to year. We think we have a chance to do that for a really long time.”

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/04/rockies-success-prospects-striking-gold/#?returnUrl=https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/04/rockies-success-prospects-striking-gold/?clearUserState=true

If they do not have any intention of signing these guys long term, it is time to trade them now and not let them walk away for nothing.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

USA Today Sports predicts Rockies to finish 2nd to Dodgers in NL West. They are predicting a record of 85-77.

https://twitter.com/usatodaysports/status/960921513489772544/photo/1

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Yu Darvish to Cubs. I suppose this could help the Rox in theory. It may knock the Cards and Brewers down a game or two. That weird Brewer’s Jimmy Nelson injury last season may weigh big on the 2018 WC race. As you’ll recall (or maybe not), Nelson is a really, really nice, emerging young SP for the Brew Crew and then injured his shoulder RUNNING THE BASES! (a slide). He had to have labrum surgery. An optimistic projection for his return is June. The Brew Crew needs some SPing help. They were in on Darvish. We’ll see what happens… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

I think the Rockies need to trade for J.T. Realmuto. Currently the Astros and Marlins are discussing a trade. The Astros don’t need to get any better. The Rockies do need to improve their catchers.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Former Rockies catcher McKenry retires. From MLBTradeRumors: “Former major league catcher Michael McKenry retired from baseball earlier this month, Erik Bacharach of the Daily News Journal relays. The 32-year-old McKenry told Bacharach he “had a lot of opportunities to play,” but he’ll instead work as Middle Tennessee State University’s director of player development and, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com, serve as a Pirates broadcaster. McKenry played with the Pirates from 2011-13 and was particularly effective in ’12, when he hit .233/.320/.442 with 1.7 fWAR in 275 plate appearances. He also saw major league action with the Rockies, who selected… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Former Rockies catcher Hanigan signs minor league deal with Indians,

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/indians-sign-ryan-hanigan-minors.html

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Projections, projections — rosters have settled (but with an unusually large number of high profile free agents still out there), an here’s where we stand: The low end: Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA: 78 wins The middle. Fangraphs now has us at 82 wins The high: Clay Davenport (one of the founders of BP) has us at 90 wins, with the Dodgers just a couple games better. Another interesting one: a couple old Rockies fans (and really smart guys) who started their own NEIFI stats/consulting service had us at 78.3 wins AFTER the Wade Davis signing. “Best bullpen in the NL” notwithstanding.… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

I subscribed to Baseball Prospectus for a few years (years ago). The biggest reason I ultimately ended my subscription was their PECOTA projection system (and their reliance upon it). I thought it was the least accurate major projection system at the time. I felt like it really fell short (accurately) projecting ABs (or IP). Granted…..this opinion is based on dated data. But to this day, I brush off PECOTA based projections.

roxnsox
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roxnsox

Carp, I’m glad you said this about PECOTA. I saw their standings on MLB Network recently and gagged. 78 wins? 4th place? Ugh 🙂 And Ag, thanks for the further info from other sources. Projecting anything really is a wild card (hehe) at this point.

I think SO much rests on David Dahl. Fingers and toes crossed for a season like we think and hope he can have.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

All projection systems struggle with playing time to some extent. But PECOTA really, really struggled with it. I can’t remember a specific example (because it has been a number of years), but perhaps a current example would be projecting David Dahl for 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, 40 R’s with 250 ABs. Yet we know with a solid degree of confidence that if Dahl is healthy, he’ll get 500+ ABs, with 20ish HRs, maybe 75 RBI, maybe 80 R’s. I haven’t seen this year’s PECOTA output, but I imagine it struggles with Dahl, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, Ryan McMahan. Any young… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Tyler Matzek signed a minor league deal with the Mariners. It includes an invite to spring training. “Lefty Tyler Matzek has signed a minors deal with the Mariners, per an announcement from the California Winter League. It includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Once a top prospect, Matzek had been unable to overcome anxiety problems and a related collapse in his control. Though he worked to a 4.05 ERA in 117 2/3 MLB frames in 2014, Matzek issued more walks than strikeouts at all levels over the following two seasons. He was released by the White Sox after participating… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

I’m not about to pay for a BP subscription even if PECOTA made sense, but I’m really not gonna pay for garbage like projecting Arenado at 3.5 WAR this year. There’s no sensible methodology that would reach that result. He’ll be 27 (and given recent player aging curves, perhaps it’s fair to say he already peaked), coming off (by PECOTA) 3 consecutive 6.5+ WAR seasons. So they’d have to somehow be predicting that he’ll miss 70 games or something. Why? Who knows. Like I said, it doesn’t make sense. I do see that Clay Davenport (he took BP’s skills with… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

FWIW – I’m buying Story and Desmond bounce back seasons.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Padres to sign Hosmer to 8 year $144MM contract. Just my opinion but I think the Padres have bigger needs than Hosmer will fill.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/padres-to-sign-eric-hosmer.html

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Rockies get 4 on the Top 100 MLB players list.
7. Nolan Arenado
16. Charlie Blackmon
81. DJ LeMahieu
84. Wade Davis

Arenado is the highest ranked third baseman.

https://www.mlb.com/news/mike-trout-no-1-in-mlb-networks-top-100/c-266463158

Doc
Member
Doc

On Tampa’s release of Cory Dickerson, Evan Longoria went on a rant–sounds like he’s pimping him for the Giants squad.

“It’s really hard to come into a clubhouse and expect to win when you give away your best players,” Longoria said. “Corey was our best player last year. He was better than me. Logan Morrison hit 38 home runs, but overall, Corey was our best player.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Happy (former) El Presidente Day! Finally, some Hot Stove action, huh???? Corey Dickerson…..I did some research to see just how bad he is in the OF and lo and behold, he was actually the #2 AL LFer in “range factor” in 2017, behind only super athlete Justin Upton. His arm strength has never been good, so he’s not a RF candidate, but the “awful defensive” tag is not deserved. One other note on Dickerson…..yesterday I saw one of those fun anonymous player “A” vs. player “B” stat comparisons from 2017. Of course A and B had very similar stats. “A”… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox. I believe it is for 5 years and $120MM. As I recall Boras was asking for $30MM a year and at least a $200MM pay day.

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Dickerson also rated well under the UZR system. +4.5 runs last year, +14 the year before. It’s a mystery to me why he was so underrated by the Rockies and then the Rays. I mean, he doesn’t hit lefties and his arm is weak, but … affordable, ok leftfielder, good LF power bat. I’d undo that Jake McGee trade in a second. As far as Blackmon dropping to 3rd in the order: it’s about time! You just give away too many RBIs with a guy hitting 30 HRs batting leadoff in the NL. Actually, I’d most like to see him… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

You seem to have forgotten that it wasn’t Dickerson for McGee, they also got German Marquez in the deal. I think the Rockies did get the better part of the deal.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Dickerson’s 2 seasons in Tampa – collective WAR of 4.2
German Marquez barely over 1 season in COL – collective WAR of 3.3
Jake McGee 2 seasons in COL – collective WAR of 1.8

So if you closed the book on the trade now – the ROX win 5.1 to 4.2. But…..Marquez is just getting started. This is a ROX landslide win.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Ladies and Gents – do you realize Colton Welker (one of the Rockies really good (and underrated) Prospects) graduated from Stoneman Douglas HS 2 years ago?

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Carp, you’re right – I forgot that Marquez was part of the McGee-Dickerson trade. The throw-in who turned out to be the real (potential still) gem of the deal, kind of like how DJ LeMahieu was a throw-in in the “blockbuster” Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart deal!

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Tapia and Rodgers homer in Rockies 7-6 loss to Diamondbacks.

https://www.mlb.com/rockies/news/raimel-tapia-homers-with-charlie-blackmon-out/c-267043706

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Projections update: as rosters have settled, we’re seeing more of a consensus on where the 2018 Rockies stand. Fangraphs Steamer system stubbornly sticks with 79 wins. Clay Davenport now has the Rox all the way down to 83 wins. That’s not so much about things the Rockies have done wrong since his last iterations; it’s more about where the other teams in the division now stand, and this is a very good division: the Dodgers are still one of the best teams in baseball, the D’backs look a little bit stronger than the Rox (even without JD Martinez), the Giants… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

One point regarding the DBacks…..I thought they played the JD Martinez situation very shrewdly. They held out, and probably had a legit chance. When it didn’t work…..they quickly moved on Plan “B,” which was signing Dyson and trading for Souza. Souza is a player. Both Souza and Dyson can really run. The DBacks as a whole will be a real SB threat this year.

Bob K.
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Bob K.
sdcarp
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sdcarp

“Tweak Piece” in side (torso). I love it (the description).

Bob K.
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Bob K.

For the stats/analytics people this may be an interesting read. The Coors Field Hangover.

I suspect that there is more to it than just hitting in heavier rather than lighter air. Having spent a number of years traveling between high and low altitudes, there is a physical effect on the body.

https://fshbaseball.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/the-coors-field-hangover-how-much-more-might-rockies-hitters-deserve/

Doc
Member
Doc

Checking today’s Box Score, Rox pitchers threw only 58 pitches in 9 innings and 50 were for strikes. Talk about efficiency. In the last 5 innings they didn’t throw anything out of the strike zone.
.

Bob K.
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Bob K.

During spring training they often don’t correctly report the pitch counts. The box score for today’s game that I saw does not show any pitch count. All strikeouts are shown as 3 strikes with no balls being thrown just like any walks are shown as 4 balls without any strikes having been thrown. All cases of ball in play are not showing as any balls or strikes having been thrown as if all balls in play were done so on the first pitch. I am really confident that the Rockies pitchers did not get through today’s game with only 58… Read more »

Doc
Member
Doc

Rockies Rockies Pitching PITCHERS IP H R ER BB K HR PC-ST ERA G. Marquez 2.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 14-10 0.00 S. Howard 2.0 1 2 2 1 1 1 13-9 4.50 S. Oberg 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5-5 0.00 Z. Rosscup 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 7-7 4.50 J. Farris 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 8-8 0.00 J. Vasto 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5-5 3.00 S. Broyles 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 6-6 3.00 TEAM 9.0 4 2 2 2 10 1 58-50 PITCHING… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

I did not find a box score that actually showed the pitch counts so I went through the play by play and came up with this. 1st – 3 pitch strikeout, 2 – one pitch outs, one pitch hit 2nd – 3 pitch strikeout, 4 pitch walk, one pitch out Marquez 14-10 3rd – 4 pitch walk, one pitch home run, 3 – one pitch outs 4th – 3 pitch strikeout, 2 – one pitch out Sam Howard 13-9 5th – 3 pitch strikeout, 2 – one pitch outs Oberg 5-5 6th – 2 – 3pitch strikeouts, one pitch fly… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Ahh, Spring Training ball/strike counts! Always entertaining. I’m interested in whether anyone’s seen any games. Questions: Dahl is 0 for Spring. But I guess he looks healthy; even had a SB the other day if I can trust the box score. Having not swung a bat in competition for 11 months, a little rust is expected. But are some of those outs line drives? Tapia: I’ve only seen photos, but I would agree – he doesn’t look as painfully skinny as he has in previous years. Is he showing a little more ability to drive the ball? Ottavino: he’s my… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Dahl is no longer hitless. He went 2-3 with a walk and 3 RBIs. For his first hit of the spring, he hit a two run homer in the 6th inning and followed it up with and RBI single in the 7th. He went into the game as a pinch hitter in the 4th and drew a walk. On a side note, today’s box score does have the correct pitch counts.

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Bob K, thanks for the update! I guess I reverse-jinxed Dahl. I’ll have to try that again with some other slumping player. Dahl (and McMahon) are critical players for 2018. I think people have forgotten how good Dahl was in 2016. He played maybe 1/3 of a season at the big league level after tearing it up in AA and AAA. And, at 22 years old, he was worth 1.3 WAR (probably about a 4 WAR player over a full season) at the big league level. He won’t turn 24 until April 1. It is great news that he’s playing… Read more »

Bob K.
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Bob K.

Valaika expected to be out 2-3 weeks with an oblique strain. O’Malley expected to be out 4-6 weeks with broken left hand that requires surgery. O’Malley will not make the opening day roster.

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/03/03/rockies-utility-infielders-injuries-pat-valaika-shawn-omalley/

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

O’Malley – tough break for him. I gotta admit it: if he’d made the roster I’d probably be whining about wasting a roster spot on him. But I really feel for these guys, so close and yet so far to living the big league dream. He’s 30, he’ll be getting a very late start this year, and the door is closing for him … as to who they should carry as a utility man, let me make my pitch for Tony Wolters, Super Utility Guy. A solid defensive catcher, a solid defensive second baseman who can play SS in a… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

After a chaotic day of travel that began at 3:45 AM in Fort Collins (courtesy of the East Coast winter storm, a plane stranded in Baltimore, and a diversion to rainy (???) LAX, I made it to SRF in the 4th inning. So please forgive my tardiness, and if give any incorrect info, it’s because I was in zombie mode: 1. Still not impressed with Tapia. It’s the little stuff. Someone got caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd (maybe Benboom). Tapia just stood on 2nd. No effort to distract the rundown. I just don’t believe he has baseball… Read more »

roxnsox
Member
roxnsox

Thanks, carp! Keep it coming! (That’s dedicated fandom, to head for the game in air-travel-zombie aftermath.)

I’m bummed about Valaika. Didn’t I read “oblique?” The dreaded oblique.

Bob K.
Guest
Bob K.

Arenado who has one more arbitration year (2019) remaining, does not expect an extension this year.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nolan-arenado-doesnt-expect-rockies-extension-this-season.html

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Carp, thanks for the trip reports! -Tauchman: if you asked me for a comparable, I’d probably say Cory Sullivan. But there’s no doubt he took a major step forward in AAA last year. You were right about Valaika last year. Let’s hope it’s a trend. – Utility infielder: I think the guy to break camp is not on the roster yet. It could very well be Brendan Rodgers but for the arbitration clock – once top prospects are called up, for whatever reason teams are hesitant to option them back down. And for other guys there may be a 40… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp

I won’t be surprised, in fact I expect, Jurickson Profar to be available. I’d pass.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp

Spring Training game 03/04/2018……Mariners @ Rangers. Made my way to the West Valley today to Surprise. The Rangers threw out the “A” lineup, while the Mariners a “C-“ at best….and I’m giving them credit for James Paxton and Edwin Diaz pitching and Nelson Cruz getting a couple of ABs. Otherwise, it was a solid “F” lineup. Random thoughts: 1. You know how the DBacks have the Yasmany Tomas dilemma….good hitter, awful defensively. Well the Rangers are in the same boat, albeit more extreme, with Willie Calhoun. Calhoun was the prize in the Yu Darvish rental trade. The guy has a… Read more »