Days after the 2018 Hall of Fame class was announced and we learned his name appeared on only 34.1 percent of ballots, Larry Walker spoke with a local Montreal radio station about his difficulty in garnering support — and had some strong words to share with his host. It was a stark contrast to his normally casual response to the lack of votes he has received, such as this light-hearted tweet:
I think I got 75% of the vote from people replying to this tweeted question! Put me in!! thanks for those who believe I have a chance. Those who don’t?.. no prob! You’re entitled to it. ...I think Rolen deserves better...and prob a few others. Cheers— Larry Walker (@Cdnmooselips33) January 24, 2018
When speaking with Mitch Melnick of Montreal 690 on Thursday, Larry had this to say:
I played for a major-league team that happened to be in Denver. If that’s a problem, and there’s going to be an issue, then get rid of the team and move it elsewhere if it’s going to be that big of an issue. No needles went in my ass, I played the game clean, but I played in a ballpark. And it’s almost like Coors Field is my PED.
Wow. It appears the Hall of Fame voting has frustrated Larry and he’s finally letting it be known. That’s all well and good — he should be upset since he deserves the honor — but to say Colorado shouldn’t have a baseball team for it? Clearly, he’s more turned off by the whole process than we could have imagined. It’s the kind of statement that you can feel the sarcasm seeping out of. At the same time, it makes you wonder how truly jaded Larry is now. The COORS jokes don’t seem quite so funny in this shadow.
Later in the interview, you can actually hear the disappointment and exhaustion in his voice as he remarks on players like Bonds and Clemens inching closer to the 75% threshold to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame: “They cheated and they’re getting twice as many votes as I am.” Walker is no Bonds, of course, and there are ample statistical reasons Bonds should get more votes than him, but I believe his point is still valid. He is being significantly punished as a legendary ballplayer who played the game the right way in what will shamefully go down in history, it seems, as the wrong place.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” — Robert Frost
Let’s admit it, there’s still a big elephant in the room. As fans, we’re well aware of the excellent window of contention the Rockies find themselves in currently — but there’s a catch. Three key pieces of this championship-caliber team will be free agents in the next 1 - 2 years and we’ve only heard whispers of contract extensions. As Patrick Saunders points out in this article, how Jeff Bridich and the Rockies’ front office decide to “pony up” for these three All-Stars will shape the franchise for years to come.
Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMahieu are all expected to earn good money in their upcoming contracts. It is likely that all three will be too expensive to keep around together, plus Charlie and DJ have homegrown talent in the Rockies’ system breathing down their necks (e.g. Brendan Rodgers, Raimel Tapia, David Dahl). I find it hard to believe the Rockies would not extend Nolan, so that leaves Charlie and DJ battling for extensions. Will the Rockies keep both? One of them? Neither of them?
If I were a betting man, I’d expect to see Nolan and Chuck with the Rockies long-term (four or more years). DJ is likely on the outside looking in, especially considering how Brendan Rodgers looks like he’ll break into the big-leagues by the end of the year. He’s likely a generational talent that cannot be ignored, and with Trevor Story seemingly locked in as the starting SS for years to come, DJ may very well be pushed to the side.
Lastly, Saunders’ article is full of compelling quotes from Nolan Arenado following a phone interview they recently had. What stood out the most was Nolan’s up-front stance on not wanting to have a career like Todd Helton — that is, with one single team and a possible Hall of Fame career, but only making the playoffs once or twice. It is very clear that Nolan’s biggest priority is winning, so I hope Bridich does the right thing and goes all-in on a win-now mentality with the Rockies to keep Nolan happy.
In this installment of our PuRPs list, Jeff Aberle takes an in-depth look at last year’s top draft pick for the Rockies — Ryan Vilade. I won’t spend too much time on this, as Jeff does such a fine job in his post, but I look forward to seeing how Vilade’s career plays out with the Rockies. Playing in Grand Junction and facing competition nearly three years older than him last year, Ryan slashed .308/.438/.496 in 146 PA’s with almost as many walks (27) as strikeouts (31). That kind of discipline and hitting talent (MLB.com Prospect Watch grades him at 55 and 50 for power and hitting) from an 18 year old has me excited, and I hope to see him climb the PuRPs list in the coming years.
Spring Training is right around the corner, so Olivia Greene at Rox Pile decided it was a good time to discuss six difficult teams the Rockies should be wary of in 2018. Honestly, there’s nothing too surprising here. There are a couple of division rivals who top the list, but I would go as far as saying that one NL West team was left off and will probably be more troublesome than we might all expect (*cough* it’s the Giants *cough*). What do you all think? Are there any other similar under-the-radar teams not on this list who the Rockies may need to be careful not to underestimate in 2018?