The Colorado Rockies' Eddie Butler vows he'll bounce back, catching prospect Dom Nunez is really rising in the minds of those around baseball, Jason Motte will help the bullpen, LaTroy Hawkins discusses his career in Colorado and everywhere else, and a bunch more news (and maybe even some Yovani Gallardo stuff) in today's Rockpile.
Happy Friday! We've got a lot of good stuff coming your way later this morning, including Cameron Goeldner publishing a very solid interview piece in the next hour. I'm very proud of him, and really of our whole staff—they've been kickin' butt lately. We're ready for spring training. (You'll have to check back in here to see who Cam interviewed!) Anyways, a few links to get your day going...
Look at Thomas Harding with the phenomenal piece on Eddie Butler! Some good, insightful quotes from Butler and his high school coach here, and it's obviously very optimistic. A lot of folks are low on Butler, and for good reason, but if he does figure things out, he certainly has the stuff, strength, and minor league history that would lend you to remain optimistic about his coming season. We'll see...
Harding is all over the place today! The Rockies hopefully got a solid, consistent contributor in relief pitcher Jason Motte, whom they signed to a two-year deal last month during baseball's Winter Meetings. As with Butler, we'll see...
Dom Nunez turns it in at #7 on that list, after playing out the last season with the Low-A Asheville Tourists. Good for him. Also, Tom Murphy—who was number 10 on the top catchers list last season—has dropped off the list completely, which is interesting considering his solid debut with the Rockies in September.
Old friend LaTroy Hawkins gives a great interview, doesn't he? Some fun stuff happening there, too: old teammates, minor league memories, even a little Rockies talk. Love you, LaTroy - have a grand ol' time in retirement.
Matthew Schoettler over at Mile High Maniac ponders whether Jon Gray could win ROTY in 2016. If he did, that'd be awesome. The odds are stacked against him, I'd imagine, because of the obvious: bad team, Coors Field, smaller market, less fanfare, blah blah blah. But if he pitches well, none of that will matter. And goodness knows he's going to get the opportunities.
The word now is that Commissioner Rob Manfred hopes (hopes!) to have these cases done before the season begins. Of course, we've previously reported that punishment would be coming down on Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes within the next few weeks before camp opens, and that Reyes might well miss Opening Day to go to court. Now, we'll see if this process will push well into the season.
Hey, we know those guys. Obviously, that post is specifically focused on the implications in the AL East, but some of the guys on that list may or may not be fits for the Rockies in some way this summer. We'll know all of this very soon with free agency rapidly coming together. Soon, like, perhaps even later today.
The Isotopes are doing the right thing here, extending nets to the end of the dugouts and generally being smart about fan safety. I know, this affects fan experience in some ways, but it's a very minor change to that relative to the safety aspects of people in very close-in seats not gettin' destroyed by foul balls. But maybe that's just me.
Now, go vote in this poll (below) and tell me: Butler or somebody else, who is your bounce back candidate in 2016? Which Rockie do you think will most surprise baseball fans at Coors Field this summer?