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Have the Rockies answered all of their offseason questions?

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Rockies news and links for January 9, 2018

BSN Rockies Podcast: Projecting the Opening Day roster | BSN Rockies
Drew Creasman reveals his predictions for the Rockies’ Opening Day 25-man roster in the latest BSN Rockies podcast. On the position player side, apart from the less obvious choices, Creasman has David Dahl as the starting right fielder, Ian Desmond as the starting left fielder, and Ryan McMahon as the starting first baseman. Tom Murphy is selected as Chris Iannetta’s backup catcher, with a signing from outside of the organization representing a bench bat. The final two sports in Creasman’s bullpen are occupied by Carlos Estevez and Scott Oberg, while Jeff Hoffman and Antonio Senzatela will be starting 2018 in Triple-A Albuquerque. Aside from backup catcher, the predictions mirror Purple Row’s Ryan Schoppe, who thinks Tony Wolters will take the job over Murphy.

The primary question mark surrounding the Rockies entering the offseason was likely the bullpen, a belief that General Manager Jeff Bridich appeared to agree with based on the moves he has made this offseason. The addition of Wade Davis as closer, and Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw as setup options, solves the primary questions regarding relief help. One could argue that starting pitching was also an area to solve given the departure of Tyler Chatwood, but full seasons of Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, Tyler Anderson, and German Marquez will go a long way towards making up for the lost innings. As for the offense, with the loss of Jonathan Lucroy, an established catcher was a necessary addition, which Iannetta has provided. There remains the question of the bench bat that Creasman mentions. To me, this role seems to inevitably end up being filled by Mark Reynolds, though Creasman also mentions Danny Valencia as a speculative fit.

For what it’s worth, this is my Opening Day 25-man prediction:

Starting Pitchers (5) – Jon Gray, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Freeland, Chad Bettis

Relief Pitchers (8) – Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, Chris Rusin, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, Carlos Estevez, Antonio Senzatela

Catchers (3) – Chris Iannetta, Tom Murphy, Tony Wolters

Infielders (5) – Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, Ryan McMahon, Trevor Story, Mark Reynolds

Outfielders (4) – Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, Raimel Tapia

Predicting the Opening Day roster is not an easy task for this team, and I know I include some assuredly hot takes in here. This is all absolutely my own speculation, but I find it difficult to imagine Senzatela not cracking the roster, especially after the solid numbers he put up as a reliever in 2017. As for the three catchers, part of this is Wolters’ ability to play the middle infield, and part of this is that I believe the organization is very high on both Wolters and Murphy. The inclusion of Reynolds may be more accurately referred to as “a Reynolds-type,” but I expect we will see him or someone of his caliber on the 25-man roster. Once again, this is all purely my own speculation. Ryan Schoppe provides a detailed Opening Day roster projection here.

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast as Creasman elaborates on his Opening Day roster decisions, as well as his thoughts on where Carlos Gonzales will end up.

Powerful returning lineup projected for Rox | Rockies.com
Sticking with the topic of projections, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding takes a gander at what the Opening Day lineup might look like for the Rockies. Some of Harding’s highlights include Parra starting over Dahl in right field, as well as Desmond batting third and playing left field. Much has been made about Blackmon and LeMahieu swapping spots in the order, but they remain 1st and 2nd, respectively. As someone who is into lineup optimization by The Book, I quite like Desmond in the third spot and Arenado batting cleanup.

After the below average season that the Rockies’ offense produced in 2017, the “powerful returning lineup” which Harding refers to may seem like a misnomer. I don’t take quite as hard of a stance against the Rox offense as others have, as I believe severe underperformances played a large role in 2017’s struggles, but there is certainly room in this potential lineup to inject a more intimidating figure.

David Dahl May Not Be the Rockies’ Answer | FanGraphs
In an analysis that casts some doubt on the upcoming season, Stephen Loftus of FanGraphs has some reservations about the Rockies expecting much from Dahl in 2018. The piece considers the ramifications of Dahl’s injury-plagued 2017 on his future performance, as well as reasons for skepticism about his solid 2016 numbers. There are some real concerns here and the entire article is well worth a full read. As for me, all I think of when I imagine Dahl playing a major-league game is the home run he hit off Kenley Jansen, and I think I’ll continue my blind optimism until Dahl’s performance gives me a reason not to.

Are the Colorado Rockies better than the Arizona Diamondbacks now? | Rox Pile
At 93-69, the Arizona Diamondbacks were better than the 87-75 Colorado Rockies in 2017. While my feeling was that the Rockies had the more talented roster, the D-Backs played better and the results were what they were. Going into 2018, the Rockies have made a slew of additions. The D-Backs have added a handful of their own players, but high-profile moves like the Davis, Shaw, and McGee deals, they were not. With all the free agents left on the market, I still think it’s too early to assess what the 2018 standings will look like, but I would once again say that the Rockies’ roster is going to wind up being more talented than that of the Diamondbacks.

Over at Rox Pile, Noah Yingling provides an in-depth analysis of what the Rox and Snakes have added and subtracted over the course of the offseason as the Rockies look to make up ground on the six games they trailed the D-Backs by in 2017.