The Rockies proved in 2017 that they were here to win, and we’re all looking forward to a 2018 where they will hopefully do just that. We cycled through several catchers last year: Tom Murphy, Tony Wolters, Dustin Garneau, and Ryan Hanigan. They each had their moments, but they collectively lacked the offensive ability the team would like to see. When Lucroy stepped in, he rallied those hopes, putting up some good numbers, like a .310 batting average. We still don’t know if we’ll see him back in 2018, but we do know that we can find Chris Iannetta behind the plate. Iannetta is a powerful hitter, and he is coming to Coors Field, a park known for being friendly to hitters. Tony Wolters is also expected to play catcher, provided that the Rockies don’t sign a free agent for the position. Wolters struggled toward the second half of last year’s season, but the Rockies are looking to see what he can do in Spring Training. He might do some playing in Triple-A, working to develop his offensive game.
There is some great potential for offensive work at the catcher position. We’ll have to see what the team decides to do, maybe playing around with the catching based on our opponent. However it works out, I hope that we can find some real strength behind the plate.
When Brendan Rodgers came out of high school, he signed with the Rockies for $5.5 million bonus. He’s young, yes, but we have certainly seen some maturity from this young Florida kid. He’s been more than willing to put in the work to help get himself ready to play in the major leagues. And he is vocal about that goal. He wants to do what he can to stay healthy, and he wants to play at Coors Field. Rockies’ coaching staff is encouraged by this go-getter attitude, but they acknowledge that they will be sure to wait until Rodgers is absolutely ready for the major league. He’s had some injuries in the past, and he understands now how crucial it is for him to take good care of himself. Despite his young age, he realizes that he needs to treat his body well in order to achieve his goals. Rodgers has primarily played shortstop, as well as some second base. Given that the Rockies are pretty well set at those positions in 2018, Rodgers expects that if he is called up, he will have to be flexible about where he’s assigned to play. Rodgers is looking like a strong young talent, and we will see if he is able to reach his major-league goals in 2018.
The same questions have haunted the Rockies this offseason: Who will play at first? And who will provide the bat that we need? Thomas Harding speculates how the Rockies will answer these, looking at Mark Reynolds, Carlos Gonzalez, and Todd Frazier as solid potential options. Reynolds started out strong last year, but ended the season a little lackluster. Gonzalez had a rough year all around, delivering in a few key moments, but overall leaving us wanting more. Frazier could give us a huge bat, with his .552 slugging percentage last year. Of course, we could simply look to our current roster to develop into a more formidable offense. Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia, and David Dahl could all see more playing time this year. The Rockies have kept any information pretty quiet, so we’ll have to wait and see what 2018 brings.
According to several reports, Alex Avila has been signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Avila will provide the team with a strong offensive catcher. Some had speculated that the Rockies might have been interested in signing Avila, but ya snooze ya lose.
Kevin Towers, the former general manager of the Diamondbacks and the Padres, has passed away. The 56-year-old was diagnosed with thyroid cancer late in 2016. Prior to finding himself on the operations side of things, Towers pitched in the minors for eight seasons. Towers had a 35-year tenure in professional baseball, building many strong relationships, and the media have shown an outpouring of admiration and respect for Towers. A tragic loss, Towers will be missed.