Sometimes it’s easy to forget this sport of baseball we love so dearly is just grown men who are lucky enough to be playing a game meant for children. With today being Christmas Eve, I thought it would be a great time to share this story, written by Thomas Harding of MLB.com, about Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes who spends his off-season delivering food to needy families—and how appearances can sometimes be deceiving.
It’s an inspiring quick read, and makes me proud of the work the Rockies organization is doing to help better the lives of those less fortunate, offering a helping hand to community members, and using their platform to look past the game of baseball and see an opportunity to better relationships and bring joy to those who need it most. Now I’ve just about used up my sappy holiday remarks, so Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it from us at Purple Row!
Our friends at Rox Pile started playing one of my favorite games—let’s build a lineup! There are still plenty of decisions to be made when it comes to next year’s offense and batting order, but we can begin to see how it will shake out in different scenarios given the personnel currently on the roster. Should Charlie bat leadoff? Who will hit clean-up? Depending on whether or not the Rockies add a free-agent or stick with their young guns, like Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia, there are plenty of possibilities. What do you think?
In other offseason news, the Rockies signed Dante Bichette—wait for it... Jr., son of Rockies great and former Blake Street Bomber Dante Bichette, to a minor league contract. The signing is mostly noteworthy because of Dante Jr.’s lineage and less because he would be making any type of impact on the field for the Rockies. Dante Jr.’s status as a prospect never took shape after being picked by the Yankees 51st overall in the 2011 draft, and his career has stalled to the point of peaking in Double-A. If there was ever any chance of him making a name for himself, though, what better place than the club that his dad became a star and hometown favorite?
Hayden Kane discusses the Rockies’ crowded depth chart behind the plate, and how the recent signing of veteran catcher Chris Iannetta might shake up the club’s previous ideas of how the role would be filled in this window of contention. Long believed to be our next great catcher and offensive weapon, Tom Murphy has struggled at the big league level, and Tony Wolters, following a surprising 2016 campaign, regressed considerably in 2017.
The veteran presence of Jonathan Lucroy helped the Rockies secure a playoff spot last year, and it wouldn’t be crazy to try and reproduce that kind of success again in 2018 with Iannetta behind the plate. But is it too soon to stop believing in Murphy and Wolters? Will there be more of a time-share than expected after spending money to bring in Iannetta? As Hayden points out—we can only speculate!
Following one of the greatest years in Rockies bullpen history, it’s important to consider what made it so successful—and not who. In this fascinating Purple Row piece, the argument is made that the team needs to replace the contributions that were made last season, and not the players themselves. With the signings of Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee, the Rockies may have already solidified the high-leverage roles of their staff. As such, it could now be a waste of resources to spend money on another reliever who would eat low-leverage innings, or push one of our valuable bullpen assets, like Chris Rusin, into the kind of role Jordan Lyles filled.
If our pen is already built to succeed like it did in 2017, it may be time for Jeff Bridich to give up on the idea of a “super bullpen” and lock down an impact corner-outfield or 1B bat to improve the offense going forward.