It's not quite spring training yet, but you know we're getting close when versions of the "players are in the best shape of their life" pieces start coming out. Although, for the Rockies, there tends to be more of a "hey, we're finally healthy" feel to them.
The most important of these articles came from Patrick Saunders yesterday as he chronicles Jhoulys Chacin's effort to return to 2013 form. Jorge De La Rosa has been working out with Chacin and expects big things, but until we actually see them happen in real, regular season games, I'm sure a large segment of the fan base will remain skeptical since shoulder injuries are particularly tricky with pitchers.
Also in the hoping to have a healthy season camp are the teams' stars. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez each talk about their thoughts for the upcoming season in this Saunders piece. In some ways it's getting tiresome reliving the same story every year, but it's nice to see their determination and optimism after so much turmoil. Oh, and apparently Tulo's one-year-old son Taz 'can already rake'.
Saunders also has another piece exploring the interesting seasons ahead for Tyler Matzek, Wilin Rosario, and Rex Brothers.
On a broader MLB view, our own Eric Garcia McKinley explored new commissioner Rob Manfred's comment about potentially doing away with the shift, which is simply a terrible idea. Eric already covered this well so I won't jump too deep into it, but I'm stunned Manfred would even consider something of this nature. Perhaps instead, these hitters should try an approach where they use the entire field and try to push the ball the other way.
This also brings me to a guilty pleasure I have to admit. One of my absolute favorite plays in baseball is a bunt base hit against the shift. I'm actually surprised hitters don't do this more often. If you can get it down and by the pitcher it's a free hit. Obviously each situation is different, but that tactic should probably be used far more often than we see it. As the run scoring environment continues to be low, little things like fundamentals are becoming more and more important, and the fact that the new commissioner is talking about something like banning shifts shows that some people are having a very hard time adjusting to this new reality.
On a better Rob Manfred note, here's the letter he wrote to fans released yesterday.
Awesome news for those who like baseball and hockey and live in Colorado -- looking at you Muzia. Over the weekend it was officially announced that the Avalanche will host an outdoor game against Detroit in Coors Field in February of 2016.
That's all for today. Sorry about the lack of expansion on topics in today's piece. There's a major blizzard headed into my area and getting ready for it is cutting down the time I have this morning to spend on the Rockpile.