It was only a month ago fans were wondering if the Colorado Rockies could keep Greg Holland around and now some are dreading the idea that he may exercise his $15 million dollar player option and remain with the club in 2018. It’s been said many times before but relievers are generally fickle. So few innings are thrown that a bad month may make a guy look like a lost cause. Consider recent Rockies examples such as Boone Logan who ended up being very good in the last year of his contract. Jake McGee got roasted by fans in 2016, questioning why General Manager Jeff Bridich traded Corey Dickerson for him and some no-name called German Marquez. Even this year, Mike Dunn looked like a mistake with a poor May and June, but has given up runs in only two of his twenty one appearances in July and August.
So, there’s a decent chance Holland will return to the great closer he has been for the Rockies and he was for the Royals. Some thought it might cost $15 million just to sign him for one year prior to the 2017 season, hence the performance incentives built into his contract. Yet with so many relievers likely to leave the Rockies via free agency after 2017, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he exercised that option and stuck around for another year.
DJ LeMahieu got a message from a friend that flyballs to right field leave the park real easily. He capitalized on that tidbit for the first multi-homer game of his career.
Patrick Saunders from the Denver Post discusses some things that the Rockies can do to try to jumpstart the offense. Trevor Story has had his ups and downs, though I think that if he had put up these numbers last year instead of going on his record-breaking romp, people might have a little more patience with him. Though Story is also contributing a lot with the glove, if there is a sense of accountability, perhaps giving Ian Desmond some part-time duty might be a way to go. Not that Desmond is that much better of a hitter than Story, but hitting a few more groundballs might move some runners over in that happily productive out kinda way.
Saunders also discusses moving Charlie Blackmon out of the leadoff spot for Gerardo Parra. But Parra exemplifies the problem of the Rockies offense. If you have to rely on Parra being a major component of your offense, then your offense just isn’t that good. Saunders laments the lack of production from Carlos Gonzalez which has been a major factor and he still has the potential among him, Desmond, Parra and Tapia to be the best player of the four. The Rockies keep sticking with CarGo hoping that is the case...
Along the lines of Story vs Desmond, it’s nice if Desmond hits a few more groundballs but does it matter if there’s no one in the middle or lower third of the batting order getting on base often? The sneaky part of all of this is the Rockies early season offense was doing ok when Tony Wolters was getting on base so frequently, allowing Blackmon to drive him in. However, that ship has long sailed.
If I was going to play with the lineup, I’d go LeMahieu, Blackmon, Arenado, Parra, Reynolds, Lucroy, Gonzalez, Desmond/Story. I might even have Lucroy bat leadoff and put LeMahieu between Reynolds and Gonzalez to break up the strikeouts a tad... but I also realize that moving around names on paper doesn’t play out in real life as cleanly.
Kevin Henry writes about something that’s kind of gone unnoticed. As bad as the Rockies have been the last month or more, none of the Wild Card contenders have really closed the gap. The Milwaukee Brewers are three and a half games back and the Marlins are four and a half back. A month ago it seemed the St. Louis Cardinals were threatening but now they’re five games back. So over that time period, as hard as it has felt for Rockies fans, in terms of the playoffs the Rockies potential to drop out only changed by a game. Also, a month has ticked off the seasonal clock, allowing less time for the other teams to catch up. Meanwhile, especially in terms of the NL Central, they’ll all be playing each other. The Brewers and Cardinals face each other in two series so one team winning hurts another team’s chances and if both teams break even, that’s more time they’ve lost in their chance to catch up.
Also, Henry notes that the Rockies are in the curious position where they’ll have a starting pitching staff that’s mostly rested and will have additional bench options once rosters expand in September. Their main focus, as it was three months ago, was to make sure they have a better record than the Arizona Diamondbacks so they can get home field advantage. So, while lineup changes and closer roles are fun to debate, the problem may sort itself out in time anyway.