On the last day of the Colorado Rockies Caravan at Coors Field on Saturday, Nolan Arenado opened up to local media about his mental state and emotions following the Rockies’ elimination from the 2017 Postseason. I was particularly surprised to learn that Nolan didn’t even fly back to Colorado on the team plane. Rather, he stayed in Arizona for several “depressive days” with his parents and spent his down-time recharging with golf, concerts, and other diversions.
Also of note, and unsurprisingly, Nolan is spending no time worrying about how he was recently rated among the “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now” by MLB Network, and is instead focused on how to repeat a Postseason birth for the Rockies and get better as a player in 2018 — in particular, by getting more sleep this year. I don’t know about you, but I might have to take a page out of his book on that one, too.
Nolan also mentions how the crushing defeat at the hands of the Diamondbacks to end their season last year still comes up in conversation with his teammates. It sounds like the Rockies will be carrying quite the chip on their shoulders in 2018 and looking to make a statement to the rest of the NL West. Nolan will be one of the biggest leaders for this ball club, on and off the field, so does it make anyone else question why he didn’t fly home with the team after their Wild Card loss?
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post highlights some more interesting points from the Rockies Caravan “Hot Stove” Q&A appearances, and most notable in his article is more evidence of Nolan Arenado continuing to develop as the captain of the ship that is the Colorado Rockies.
Like I mentioned above, the Rockies will carry high expectations into the 2018 season, and a lot of that success will be dependent on a still very young starting rotation. In this piece, Nolan makes it clear the pitching staff cannot become complicit with the emergence of the Rockies’ “Super Bullpen,” and even with so much talent and reliable arms to enter a game in relief, the starters should be hungry to go deep into games.
Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Chris Rusin, Mike Dunn, and the rest of the bullpen can only be so good if they’re not over-used and allowed to rest and remain healthy. A key to this equation is the Rockies having an offense that can produce enough runs to keep them out of constant high leverage situations, so hopefully Nolan (and Jeff Bridich) realize they still have work to do to help the pitching staff, too.
It’s becoming more and more evident that additional pace-of-play rule changes are going to become reality in 2018 and beyond. There has been a slow introduction of pace clocks, delay penalties, and mound visit restrictions in the minor leagues and MLB so far (nothing too game-changing), but the grand-daddy of them all will soon be implemented by commissioner Rob Manfred — the dreaded pitch clock.
Nolan, Bud Black, and Charlie Blackmon all make it clear they’re not too happy with the new proposed rules, and Charlie goes as far as saying it will limit Nolan’s ability to be true leader of the team during games. What do you think? Is the pitch clock and mound visit restrictions good or bad for the game of baseball?
Similarly, Rox Pile takes a closer look at the new pace-of-play rule propositions and how it might affect the Colorado Rockies specifically and Major League Baseball generally. The focus here is more about how the rules attempt to limit the length of baseball games (at an all-time high average of 3 hours and 8 minutes in 2017), but the question remains: do we really need to? In this post, Kevin Henry makes several wonderful arguments that, no, we should not be concerned with shaving a mere 10 minutes off games and risk tainting our national pastime — and I agree.
Thomas Harding of MLB.com highlights Charlie Blackmon’s remarks regarding his recent arbitration deal (one-year, $14 million) and the possibility of a long-term extension with the Rockies. And like music to Rockies fans’ ears, he is not only open to an extension, but hopeful it happens. He loves Colorado, playing for the Rockies, and we love him, so it’s sweet to hear Chuck not focused on big money, but instead on playing winning baseball at Coors Field for years to come.
Chris Rusin sat down with Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro of Mile High Sports to talk about the recent free-agent signings that spurred the creation of the “Super Bullpen” designation for the Rockies’ relief pitchers, the role he’ll play, and how excited he is to be part of such a talented group.
It’s worth noting, as Eric and Les do, that there is so much more to this bullpen than just those three big signings. Chris is certainly flying under the radar — at least nationally, with so much attention being paid to the Rockies’ bullpen now — as a key figure in the success of this team in 2018, and he was arguably the most valuable relief pitcher for the Rockies last year. If Chris continues to pitch at the level he did in 2017, and make incredibly tough outs like Justin Turner look almost easy, baseball analysts and fans of the game better start paying attention.