There's a stretch during every spring training where for the most part, only bad things can happen. Or to put it another way, teams don't tend to get better between the first week of March and the first week of April, but they can get worse thanks to injuries. And as usual, the injury bug has already made a visit to Rockies camp knocking out Jairo Diaz for the season.
Even with that said however, there are a few less cringe worthy topics worth discussing. So let's discuss them.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story stays consistent on the brink of the big leagues - Bobby DeMuro / Purple Row
One of the most interesting things to watch over the next few weeks will be the April fate of Trevor Story. The 23-year-old middle infielder has the right attitude when it comes to ignoring the things he can't control, but the things he can't control are exactly what make his current position so newsworthy.
With Jose Reyes out of the picture thanks to a looming suspension and then possibly a cut from the organization entirely, there's a real argument to be made that Story is the best shortstop the Rockies have right now. However, the Rockies can gain an additional year of control (through 2022, Story's age 29 season) if they keep him in the minors for the first three weeks of what's likely to be another lost season.
If the club chooses to go this route, they have the players to hold down the shortstop fort for the first few dozen games of the season in Cristhian Adames, Daniel Descalso, and even Rafael Ynoa. These are not players you want as your starting shortstop on opening day if you want to field a competitive team, but that ship seems to have already sailed.
At some point during this season, Trevor Story will become the new everyday shortstop, but that some point shouldn't be early April. If the Rays and Cubs held Evan Longoria and Kris Bryant down to delay their service clocks in seasons they were contending for and making the playoffs, there's no way the Rockies should gamble away control of Trevor Story's age 29 season for a few weeks on this roster.
However, very little the Rockies have done in the last nine months makes sense as it relates to the broader 2016 puzzle, so we'll have to wait and see what they do here.
Offseason in Review: Colorado Rockies - Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors
This article provides a very well balanced look back at the Rockies offseason activity. In his conclusion, Todd also nails the overlying problem with this organization right now:
The overall situation poses a difficult and ongoing balancing act for Bridich, who is trying to build for the future while maintaining some near-term competitiveness with a bottom-third payroll.
Nowhere is this more evident than hanging onto pieces like Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon while moving guys like Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson. It's yet another classic "one foot in" and "one foot out" effort the Rockies' front office has become known for in recent seasons, and it makes this club extremely difficult to get excited about.
At the bottom of this article, there's a poll asking readers to grade the Rockies' offseason. 90 percent of responders gave the Rockies either a "C', a "D" or an "F", with "D" being the most common response. Only one percent of voters gave them an "A" for their recent transactions.
MLB's Biggest Pace Of Play Offenders - Forbes / Maury Brown
The Rockies averaged longer games than any team in baseball last season, and it makes sense. With all the poor pitching, walks, and starters getting knocked out early, Rockies games lacked any sort of rhythm in 2015.
Perhaps the more interesting nugget from this piece was that the Blue Jays were the only team in baseball to average less then three hours per game regardless of the opponent. The big take away here is that it's possible to have a ton of offense and still play a fast game. It also seems to highlight that starting pitchers (and the amount of times you have to call in a different reliever) are the biggest factors when it comes to your team's pace of play (not the hitters).
Rockies Top 20 Prospects for 2016 - John Sickels / Minor League Ball
This list is always worth the wait for prospect hounds, and those familiar with Sickels' grading system are probably not surprised to find that the strength of the Rockies system isn't the amount of "A" grades they have near the top, but instead with the amount of B- or better grades they have all the way down into the mid teens.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this link, however, is that Sickels ranks Dom Nunez as the No. 6 prospect in the organization. As someone who also ranked Nunez above the mean in this winter's PuRPs list, I won't argue with this position. If Nunez's power from the second half of last season proves to be real, he will rocket up every other major prospect board in the country, especially when you consider his age, position, and defense. This is the sleeping giant in the system.
The Rockies carried on Troy Tulowitzki's tradition of hosting pediatric cancer patients even though he was traded - Claire McNear / SB Nation
Good for the Rockies, good for the current players (especially Brandon Barnes and Jason Motte) and good for Tulo for still making this event happen after last summer's trade. I've received emails in the past from family members who were touched by this event, and it really means the world to both the kids and parents who are dealing with things so much more serious than baseball. More of this please!