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PECOTA projects the Rockies to finish just two games behind the Royals

The Rockies' PECOTA projection sounds about right, but there's some curious results here.

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 PECOTA projections are out, and they have the Rockies posting a 74-88 record while once again finishing last in the NL West. That's not all that surprising, but what is a head scratcher is their last place projection of the Royals. While their rotation is weak for a team coming off back to back trips to the World Series, their depth, defense and bullpen all seem strong enough to at least keep them over .500. If PECOTA is onto something though and Kansas City falls far enough to miss the playoffs, they will become the fourth consecutive World Series winner to not even make the post season the following year, and if they fall below .500, it will be the third time a defending World Series team has done that in the last four years.

MLB win totals: How we see the 2016 season unfolding - Gabe Lacques / USA TODAY

Meanwhile, USA Today is extremely pessimistic about the 2016 Rockies. They predict 100 losses, which would be the worst mark in franchise history. This is probably too extreme however as the Rockies didn't sell off major league assets this winter and should see some natural in house improvement from their rotation thanks to a combination of young arms and guys returning from injury. The 2016 season won't be pretty, but it won't be this much of a train wreck either.

Waiting on Reyes suspension shouldn't stop Rockies from pursuing Desmond - Ken Rosenthal / Fox Sports

When Rosenthal says that the Rockies have been in contact with Desmond's agent, hopefully he means this in the way that all teams are in contact with pretty much all agents. Desmond certainly won't make this club a winner in 2016, and he'll also cost the Rockies the 38th pick in June's draft if signed. Not only that, but if he keeps declining, he'd be hard to trade come July if you were thinking of the Rockies going that route. This is a guy who's seen his batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS and wRC+ all drop for three consecutive years while his strike out rate has increased for three consecutive years with it soaring to 29.2 percent in 2015.

Desmond still makes the most sense for the White Sox who  have already rolled the dice on 2016 acquiring Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Might as well fill out the infield with Desmond since shortstop prospect Tim Anderson still needs most or all of 2016 to finish his minor league development.

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says Colorado added "impactful arms" in relief - Patrick Saunders / Denver Post

The bullpen did get better this winter, but these additions are unlikely to make the Colorado pen one of the better ones in the league. Remember, we're just two years removed from a 2014 bullpen that was historically bad (12th worst by WPA in all of baseball since 2000 [out of 450 teams]). Instead, we're looking at a pen that's gone from stunningly putrid to middle of the pack, and since these "impactful arms" (Jake McGee, Chad Qualls and Jason Motte) are extremely unlikely to be making an impact on the club after 2017, their effect on the long term direction of this team is going to be anything but impactful (unless McGee signs a discounted extension).

Rockies Mailbag: Rebuilding seems to be a dirty word at 20th and Blake - Patrick Saunders / Denver Post

Our own Eric Garcia McKinley gets a shout out here in a mailbag session that has topics ranging from why the Rockies didn't trade for a starter to who will be in the Rockies booth with Drew Goodman this year following George Frazier's retirement. Spoiler Alert: Not enough Ryan Spilborghs games.

Tulowitzki Is the Top Fantasy Shortstop Again in 2016 - Paul Shapiro

Do you still like taking Tulo in your fantasy league even though he's not a Rockie anymore? In this piece, Shapiro explains why that's still a good idea. He also touches on how he saw the Rockies fan base react to losing Tulo when he visited the city late last season for a game:

"It was amazing to see the impact a player like Tulo had on the Denver community, as well as how the locals were affected by the trade of their franchise player. Everywhere we went people were still talking about him, how great he was, the one World Series appearance he led the team to, and what the team was like without him."

Rockies outfield may look drastically different in 2017 - Nick Stephens / Knuckleball

Like many Rockie fans, Nick is already looking at next year's club before this year even starts. The point here is an important one however as both David Dahl and Raimel Tapia should be knocking on the major league door by the end of this season. The question now becomes how do the Rockies handle this transition and what happens to the likes of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and the newly signed Gerardo Parra.