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Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd endorses Todd Helton for Hall of Fame

Rockies news and links for January 27, 2018

Todd Helton definitely belongs in Hall of Fame, says former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd | The Denver Post
Todd Helton will make an appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2019. Considering the treatment given to Larry Walker, Helton also figures to face adversity in his first go-around. Playing his entire career in a Rockies uniform, Helton was a .316/.414/.539 hitter, with 369 home runs, a .405 wOBA, and 61.2 rWAR/57.4 bWARP/54.8 fWAR. Altogether, we have a Hall of Famer in my estimation. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask former Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd.

Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post compiles several quotes from O’Dowd’s lauding of Helton on MLB Network. O’Dowd goes into detail to analyze and dispel the “Coors Field Myth.” He notes that players must adjust when playing their home games one mile above sea level, to then have success in road ballparks. O’Dowd also expresses the sentimental value of Helton playing for one team for his entire career, and being the greatest player in Rockies history.

Don’t Completely Forget About Carlos Gonzalez | FanGraphs
Despite the Milwaukee Brewers attempting to ignite the hot stove on Thursday evening, it remains a historically sluggish offseason. While Carlos Gonzalez certainly is not alone among unsigned free agents, Travis Sawchik opines that one shouldn’t forget the ability that Gonzalez possesses to provide a team with surplus value. CarGo’s 2017 season was not pretty- or at least his numbers through August 6 were not pretty. Through August 6, Gonzalez hit only 31.8% of batted balls for a 95 mph or greater exit velocity, and had a .283 xwOBA. These numbers were considerably worse than his results from 2015 (when Statcast first began providing this information) and 2016. However, from August 7 through the end of the 2017 campaign, Gonzalez hit a whopping 50% of batted balls for a 95 mph or greater exit velocity, and had a resultant xwOBA of .346 (topping his overall numbers from 2015 and 2016). The CarGo of 2010 will not be returning, but there are reasons to believe he could provide value to a team on a one or two-year contract.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Colorado dodges a bullet by sticking to the plan | BSN Rockies
In the latest BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman posits that the Rockies did well to avoid the Lorenzo Cain signing and the trade for Christian Yelich, both feats pulled off by the Brewers this week. Creasman mentions the possibility of potential Rockies trade chips outperforming Yelich over the course of their careers, and the chance that signing Cain could prevent the Rox from re-signing Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and/or DJ LeMahieu. Creasman also takes a closer look at Ian Desmond’s 2017 season and why there may be reasons to be optimistic about 2018.

Colorado Rockies: It just got harder to contend in the NL West | Rox Pile
With the additions of Cain and Yelich, the Brew Crew is undoubtedly a superior team to its iteration from one year ago. The National League Wild Card race is now going to be more difficult for the Rockies as they look to make the postseason for a consecutive season. Rox Pile’s Olivia Greene takes a step back and focuses on how the National League West division is also likely to be more difficult for the Rockies than it was in an already demanding 2017 season. The San Francisco Giants take center stage in the article. The Giants were already going to be better than the 64-98 team of a year ago, but the additions of veterans Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen, and Austin Jackson improve some obvious voids on the roster.

What the Brewers recent transactions mean for the Colorado Rockies | Rox Pile
Not only will the Brewers additions make the Wild Card race more competitive, it also eliminates trade and free agent options for a Rockies team that could use some injection into its offense. Cain’s five year, $80 million deal was a year more than predicted by MLB Trade Rumors prior to the offseason’s genesis, and thus JD Martinez (projected at 6 years, $150 million) could also be looking for increased length in his contract. We’ve seen no indications that the Rockies have been in on Martinez at all this offseason, but the more additional length and money become realities for a potential Martinez contract, the less likely the Rox will have any sort of interest.

When it comes to trades, the options here are now shrinking as well. JT Realmuto remains the next likeliest player to be freed from the Fish, but the Washington Nationals are said to be most heavily involved in this pursuit. Josh Harrison’s name has floated around in trade rumors this offseason, but ownership for the Pittsburgh Pirates seems inclined to keep Harrison in the fold. The Brewers now have a surplus of outfielders, but Keon Broxton and Ryan Braun would seem the most likely to be mentioned in trade talks, both of which don’t seem to be great fits for the current Rockies roster.

Rolling the dice on Ryan McMahon is a worthwhile gamble for the Rockies | Mile High Sports
Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports thinks the Rockies are doing the right thing by giving Ryan McMahon the keys to the first base job in 2018. Piro talks about the importance of inexpensiveness that comes with McMahon, something that could prove necessary with big names potentially exiting the team over the next few seasons.

Around Baseball

Report: Remaining free agents considering starting free agent spring training camp | NBC Sports
Player names are not mentioned, but one report suggests that a group of still unsigned free agents are considering starting a spring training camp to benefit those still without a team. This comes as the Major League Baseball Players Association has raised concerns over the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates participating in Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing process, despite seemingly gutting their team’s chances at contention for 2018. Theories abound as to why so many free agents remain unsigned, whether it be collusion, coincidence, concerns about the CBA—and those are just the possibilities that start with the letter “c.” You could still build a solid team around remaining free agents Gonzalez, Martinez, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Logan Morrison, Todd Frazier, and Jonathan Lucroy, among others, but we will have to see how long the “Who blinks first?” game plays out.

Padres Social Media Accounts Hacked | Gaslamp Ball
If you looked at the San Diego Padres social media accounts on Thursday morning, you would have thought they were about to sign Hosmer. It turns out, though, that the accounts were hacked. It appears that a Padres employee posted a photo on their personal account with a Post-it note in the background that included the password to Padres accounts: “Padres16!” That was evidently just the information someone needed to access the Padres Instagram account and post a picture of Hosmer.

Announcing finalists for 2018 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards | SABR
Want to read even more links? Over a dozen stories have made the shortlist for SABR’s Analytics Conference Research Awards! Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, the Hardball Times, SB Nation, and many more have articles featured.