There are many major league baseball teams who could benefit from the acquisition of a first baseman this offseason, but while demand may be high, supply is certainly low. Kenny Kelly with Beyond the Box Score takes a closer look at the thin 1B market—in both free agency and possible trades—and suggests why it might be difficult for six particular teams who need a 1B the most to find what they’re looking for.
The Rockies are listed first under “Teams that could use a First Baseman and can think about contending,” but are faced with an all too familiar road block—Ian Desmond. It’s not impossible to overcome, but Kenny acknowledges that Desmond will have to move to the outfield for the Rockies to sign a new 1B, which just means they’ll have an equally bad black hole hitting in the outfield. Regardless, it wouldn’t hurt to find some more offense.
MLB Trade Rumors is in the middle of publishing Offseason Outlooks for each MLB ball club, and Jeff Todd has the Rockies covered. Luckily, he gets right past the typical “need to get a pitcher” Coors-speak—pointing out the Rockies have a formidable rotation the way it stands—and dives into how this team could improve by adding a bat at several different positions.
The discussion of payroll and, of course, Ian Desmond’s contract are a major talking point here, and Jeff notes, “Last year, the Rockies opened with a club-record Opening Day payroll of about $137M. They’re already close to having that amount committed to the 2019 roster.” As such, the Rockies best chance to sign an impact bat would require the payroll to increase again next year, and would signify a willingness of the organization to do what it takes to win now in the club’s championship window.
And like Beyond the Box Score above, Jeff believes Ian needs to “stuff his first baseman’s mitt into the back of his locker” and the Rockies should take advantage of that highly coveted “versatility” by moving him to the OF. If that were the case, he suggests Bridich & Co. take a look at free agents C.J. Cron and Justin Bour, to name a couple options, or trade candidates such as Justin Smoak or Carlos Santana (among many more listed).
Nolan Arenado and the Rockies are approaching a critical crossroads. At stake is nothing less than the direction of the franchise, hundreds of millions of dollars and the future of a once-in-a-generation third baseman.
Well, okay then. In this wonderful piece, Patrick Saunders writes about the upcoming contract discussions between superstar Nolan Arenado and the Rockies, and highlights it through the lens of Matt Holliday—whose career followed an eerily similar path with the club back in 2007. Matt offers his first-hand account of the experience and talks about the advice he’d give to Nolan as free-agency looms.
Holliday says deciding between the team you’ve played for your whole career—who drafted and developed you—or seeking top dollar in free-agency is a decision that is “the hardest you’ll ever have to make.” One thing is for sure: if Nolan doesn’t get an exceptional offer from the Rockies that reflects his generational talent, they will have to, as Saunders describes, “deal with the fallout from their fans,” and it could only resemble Chernobyl, as far as I’m concerned.
In an interesting article from Rox Pile, Noah Yingling examines the possibility of a Jon Gray trade involving the Milwaukee Brewers. Noah reminds us the supremely talented Gray Wolf has received trade interest in the past, and following yet another disappointing season with the Rockies, could be a prime “change-of-scenery” target.
In this scenario, the primary return for Gray would be right-handed outfielder Domingo Santana. He flashed intriguing talent back in 2017 when he bopped 30 home runs, 85 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and a 126 OPS+. He regressed this year, however (albeit in significantly less opportunities due to the acquisitions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich), and posted a 97 OPS+ with only five HR’s and one stolen base. If Santana could return to form and resemble something along the lines of his 2017 campaign, he could be a great bounce-back candidate for the Rockies.
The most interesting part of this trade scenario to me, though, is the prospect who would come to the Rockies with Santana—Joe Gray. Yes, that would be Jon Gray for Joe Gray. But, since it’s all speculation, there’s no black and white here, only... well, you know.
Lastly, MLB.com out together a list of every team’s longest recorded home run since StatCast began collecting data in 2015. There are a lot of amazing moonshots, dingers, round trippers, and big flys to take in here—so dig in—but I had to spotlight the Rockies’ entry one more time because, well, it was a monster and holds the record for all of baseball. Here it is again, courtesy of my MVP, Trevor Story. Enjoy!