David Laurila's discussions with managers form a mosaic of opinions about matters ranging from "gut decisions" to the difference between young and experienced managers to optimizing talent. Laurila was able to ask Walt Weiss some questions. After Jeff Bridich told Laurila that he believes certain types of hitters are good fits for Coors Field, Laurila asked Weiss about contact hitters, in hopes of identifying what type of hitter Bridich was referring to. Weiss told Laurila:
"Yeah, it’s an offensive park," responded Weiss. "If the ball is in play, you’ve got a chance. We talk a lot about, when you get to two strikes, what your approach is, and trying to save at bats and put balls in play. That’s important. If it’s in play, there’s a lot of grass out there and you get rewarded for it."
In related news, the Rockies just signed serial whiffer Mark Reynolds. We should either look elsewhere for a trait suited for Coors Field, or remind ourselves that it's okay to be indifferent about a one-year contract for a first base holdover.
Laurila also got an interesting nugget from Weiss about how and why the Rockies dramatically ramped up their infield shifting in 2015.
While Jason Heyward's signing should move the outfield market along, Ken Rosenthal suggests that free agent outfielders such as Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Denard Span might still delay the development of Carlos González/Corey Dickerson/Charlie Blackmon trade. Rosenthal writes:
The Angels, Giants and Mets almost certainly will add outfielders in the coming weeks, and the Cardinals, Nationals and Orioles are among the other teams looking. Free agents cost only dollars and in some cases draft picks, as opposed to actual players. But eventually, the Rockies' time will come.
David Schoenfield offers his thoughts on the CarGo trade market. He names the Nationals, Cardinals, and Giants as possible landing spots. Like other commentary, Schoenfield refers to the remaining free agent outfielders that would be alternatives to CarGo. He puts forth a perspective that might not be getting enough attention.
Namely, some teams might find it more attractive to make a short-term commitment to González by giving up prospects rather than making a long-term commitment and losing a draft pick to boot. Only Cespedes and Span do not have qualifying offers attached. Schoenfield writes, "If I'm one of those teams above, I like the idea of trading prospects for González rather than spending big money on one of those free agents."
In an article presumably in reference to former Denver Post Rockies beat writer Troy Renck's justification to leave Larry Walker off of his ballot due to injury time missed, BSN Denver's Sean O'Brien addresses Walker's Hall of Fame case. He examines Walker's OPS+ compared to current Hall of Famer's as a way to account for Coors Field inflation. Indeed, Walker deserves a spot in Cooperstown, although he's not likely to make it through BBWAA selection.
For Hall of Fame-ophiles, we'll have something later today about the different ways in which association with the Rockies might shape Todd Helton's candidacy compared to Walker's.
Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement will expire in December 2016, so this is a topic that will be addressed more and more in the coming 12 months. Recently, Adam Felder notes, MLB Players' Association executive director Tony Clark mistakenly conceded that revenue sharing between owners and players is as close to 50/50 as it has ever been.
While that might be true, team profits have been outpacing player salaries for the past few years, primarily due to huge television contracts. Not only that, but the biggest slice of player salaries goes to veterans. So, as a whole, "Major League Baseball players are grossly underpaid. And their minor league counterparts are even worse off." The current CBA favors ownership and veterans, and it's not likely that the scale will be tipped in the other direction after the next agreement is reached.
If you're looking for an entertaining way to pass the offseason, one way to do iso is to head over to Lookout Landing, where Matthias Ellis will hold a weekly forum about a selection from baseball's rich film history. He writes: "My goal hopefully is to open up a little bit about the films themselves as well as try to connect these pieces of the game to the very same debates and narratives which occupy our current sports headlines to this very day."