It's been a rough year for nostalgic Rockie fans, and yesterday we got hit with another sad reminder of just how far that magical 2007 team is cemented in the past. In many ways, Francis' career reflects the Rockies of that era; a stellar 2007 season that he never could quite duplicate.
Our Canadian lefty was only 27-years-old when he showed up to spring training in 2008, but a shoulder injury would ensure that he'd never post an ERA under 4.82 again. Still, through smarts, toughness, and hard work, a diminished Francis found a way to survive at the major league level for another eight years, which is no small task.
I'll always cherish what he gave this franchise in 2007, ponder how his career might have unfolded differently if the shoulder injury didn't get him in 2008, and be thankful he came back for a second stint with the club in 2012 and 2013. Francis will always be a celebrated Rockie.
This link is mostly behind a paywall, but the important note for Colorado is that five teams have checked in with the Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez including Kansas City, Washington, and St. Louis. It may take a while before this unfolds however, because the next outfield domino to fall after Jason Hayward hasn't gone as quickly as anticipated.
There's plenty of teams looking for outfield help (Cardinals, Nationals, Giants, Royals, Orioles, and Angels just to name a few), but there's also plenty of high quality outfielders (Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez) available. So while teams consider these holes important, there's no sense of urgency to make a move because everybody -- both free agents and GM's -- has a fallback option.
In other words, we've hit a snag. However, whenever this logjam breaks, I expect things to get very, very wild for 48 or 72 hours. Maybe not necessarily kicking off with the next signing, but at some point once when teams realize their options are getting thin.
The question now is which club/free agent blinking in a negotiation will send all the other moves in motion. It's hard to predict as it could happen anywhere. The situation is oddly stagnant and chaotic all at the same time.
This is one of the rarest birds on the internet: A national article about the Rockies that puts Coors into proper perspective. Most of the information shouldn't be new to Rockie fans, but it's nice to see Petriello explain it to a national audience. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this piece is he how illustrates the dramatic increase in road OPS for guys like Matt Holliday, Chris Iannetta, and Dexter Fowler after leaving the Rockies and no longer having to deal with the 'Coors [Hangover] Effect'.
All offseason, I've been fascinated by the potential for the Rockies to package Carlos Gonzalez with anther valuable piece to land a major, major haul. So news confirming that the Nats have checked in with the Reds about Brandon Phillips makes me wonder about what the Rockies might be able to get if they packaged Carlos Gonzalez with DJ LeMahieu here, especially since LeMahieu is the more valuable piece when you consider contract and age.
Washington is now thin up middle and would probably like to play Danny Espinosa in a utility role instead of the starting role he'd have at second base if the season began now. Add in the idea that idea that Jorge De La Rosa could always help their pitching depth by moving Tanner Roark to the bullpen (the Nats have also checked in on free agent pitcher Mike Leake), and Washington represents a very creative trade option.
The white whale here is Lucas Giolito, but it's unclear just how ridiculous the package needs to be to grab that arm. Still, a system with Gray, Hoffman and Giolito is something to dream about, even if highly unlikely.
Yesterday, Bobby looked at Grammarly's study of pro sports teams and noted the unfortunate results for Colorado fans. However, I have a major problem with this study. If you read the fine print, it says that the study used comments from NFL.com, MLB team websites, and SB Nation's NBA team blogs.
In other words, this study didn't really get an accurate measuring stick for each team's fan base because it used different sources for different sports. The grammar scores here don't necessarily tells us that NBA fans have a better command of the English language than MLB or NFL fans, but instead probably tell us that the SB Nation comment sections are a better place for intelligent discourse.
What the study should have done is just use the SB Nation comment sections across all sports to eliminate this extraneous variable. Instead, they measured something they probably didn't intend to measure.
Just a few final notes I wanted to make following this signing on Monday:
1) This could impact the Rockies and their trade market for Gonzalez. With the Giants opening their wallet for both Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, they probably don't have enough cash to land one of the major free agent outfielders. They're still probably going to sign someone who can help them here, but now it's much more likely to be from the bargain bin aisle.
2) This just gives the Rockies one more reason to sell for 2016. The aggression from Arizona and San Francisco makes what should have been a "no brainier" decision even more obvious.
3) Although unlikely, this signing makes the following stretch of opposing pitchers possible for a nine game stretch beginning May 7th.
- Madison Bumgarner
- Johnny Cueto
- Zack Greinke
- Patrick Corbin
- Shelby Miller
- Matt Harvey
- Jacob deGrom
- Noah Syndergaard
- Adam Wainwright
That would almost be unfair.