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Rockies look to Ryan McMahon in 2018

Rockies news and links for December 23, 2017

McMahon gives Rox intriguing first-base option |
With Carlos Santana and Yonder Alonso no longer free agents, the market for first basemen continues to grow thinner. Luckily, the Rockies have an in-house talent that has a very high ceiling in Ryan McMahon. We didn’t really get to see what McMahon was capable of at the MLB level when he was used sparingly by manager Bud Black in 2017, but we do know that his performance in the minors was excellent.

McMahon sure sounds like he has a vote of confidence from general manager Jeff Bridich: "Does he have the tools and the talent to be thought of as our starting first baseman? I think so.” The Rockies do, of course, still have Ian Desmond, who came into 2017 at the starting first baseman, and the team has also considered bringing back Mark Reynolds. However, Desmond’s injury-plagued 2017 left much to be desired and there’s no telling how much longer Reynolds will be able to produce as he ages, so McMahon is an intriguing option with high potential.

Personally, what I would like to see the Rockies do at first base is re-sign Reynolds and use him in a strict platoon with McMahon. McMahon gets most of the at bats this way and we get to see what he is truly capable of. Reynolds is sure to be one of the cheaper options on the market, and if he’s able to produce around a 100 wRC+ as he did in 2016 and 2017 with the Rox, he would, in my estimation, be a relative steal to a player like Eric Hosmer or, to a lesser financial extent, Logan Morrison.

Colorado Rockies: The case for signing free agent J.D. Martinez | Rox Pile
Of course, the offense could be sparked by other means than improvement at the first base position. J.D Martinez remains a free agent and we haven’t heard much about his market in recent weeks. At last check, agent Scott Boras was still holding out hope for a $200M+ contract for Martinez. I am a big Martinez fan and think his power will outweigh any defensive troubles he may have, but that kind of money is a bit of a deterrent no matter who you are talking about. Over at Rox Pile, the case for signing Martinez was explored in more detail.

Let’s Watch Arizona’s Newest Reliever Strike Out Nolan Arenado | FanGraphs
The Arizona Diamondbacks officially signed right-handed reliever Yoshihisa Hirano on Friday. The Japanese hurler is guaranteed $6 million, with a possible $2 million in incentives. One member of the Rockies—Nolan Arenado—was lucky enough to get an early look at the offerings of Hirano during the World Baseball Classic in 2017 when Team USA took on Team Japan. Arenado struggled during the entire WBC and one at-bat certainly isn’t a predictor of future events, but the at-bat against Hirano did not go well for Nolan—a three-pitch strikeout was the result. Over at FanGraphs, you can see GIFs of the AB, as well as more information about Hirano, who Rockies fans may be seeing a lot of in 2018.