A player from the Rockies received treatment from the New York Times, and all it took for it to happen was a Chicago Cubs angle. No matter: Tyler Kepner offers a great look back at LeMahieu as “the one that got away” from Theo Epstein. From the perspective of the Rockies’ fan, the trade to get LeMahieu looks like one of the very best Dan O’Dowd ever executed. We don’t often think about it from the Cubs’ perspective though. There’s legitimate regret there. Epstein told Kepner:
We felt like there were good bat-to-ball skills there, and sound defense. From the reports, we weren’t sold on his bat speed, didn’t think there’d be a lot of power. But he’s certainly proving us wrong. The bat-to-ball is really elite, and he’s made himself into one of the better defensive second basemen in the league.
Kepner dives into LeMahieu’s contact-oriented approach and his uncanny ability to hit the ball the other way. Even if it required a Chicago boost, it’s nice to see LeMahieu get such a thorough and complimentary profile that will reach a large audience.
In split squad play yesterday, the Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 6-1, and they lost to the White Sox 7-3. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon hit home runs in the Diamondbacks game. Also in that game, Yency Almonte pitched a couple of scoreless innings. It sounded like he was sharp. Brendan Rodgers made an appearance in the White Sox game. He doubled and scored a run.
In Patrick Saunders’s weekly Sunday column, he opines that players should join commissioner Rob Manfred in an effort to speed up baseball games. He mentions the automatic intentional walk and the renewed effort to prevent batters from piddling around in between pitches are good starts. Saunders also floats the proposals to limit mound visits and instill a 20 second pitch clock, but he doesn’t explicitly endorse either.
The best part are these quotes from Jonathan Lucroy: “The game has been played like this way for 150 years, and now we’re going to change it?” If Lucroy wants the game to be like it was in the nineteenth century, he’s going to have to give up his catcher’s mitt.
The Rockies were 12-20 in one-run games last season. A team’s record in one-run games are less of a predictor of overall talent, however, than it is of a stretch of good or bad luck. As Saunders notes, the Cubs were 22-23 in one-run games. That’s about where most teams can expect to land. While it might not be something a baseball team wants to hear, the 12-20 record in one-run games in 2016 is a good sign for 2017. Those games are coin flips, and they’ll probably improve as a matter of course.
Carlos González tells Thomas Harding that he’s not only looking forward to representing Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic, but that he believes it will better prepare him for the regular season.
An article from Fan Rag Sports the other day led to some debate about who will be the team’s closer when the season opens. Greg Holland and the Rockies, however, really seem to be focused on his final rehabilitation from a 2015 Tommy John surgery.
Thomas Harding states that Holland threw 20 pitches in a simulated outing yesterday and will do so again on Tuesday. There’s no timetable for him to return to game-action, and when Harding asked when he thinks that might be, Holland responded: “I don't know, and I really don't care.” Regaining strength and becoming comfortable with his mechanics have to come first.