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Three teams have talked with FA DJ LeMahieu— but not the Rockies

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Rockies news and links for Sunday, November 27, 2018

The Hidden Upside of a Normal Free Agent | FanGraphs
Even as far back as last offseason, the tea leaves were indicating that the Colorado Rockies and second baseman DJ LeMahieu were not going to be together come the 2019 season. LeMahieu said himself that he didn’t expect there to be any extension talks. News from Monday revealed three teams that have had “at least preliminary talks” with LeMahieu—the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals and the Minnesota Twins. For wherever LeMahieu winds up, what kind of player will his team be getting?

Rockies fans know well that LeMahieu is notorious for hitting the ball to the opposite field and for providing Gold Glove defense at the keystone. He stands out as one of six players who were at least one standard deviation above normal in both exit velocity and contact in 2018, joining Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Anthony Rendon, Joe Mauer and Nick Markakis. One thing LeMahieu has never been known for, however, is his power. As former Rockies’ hitting coach Blake Doyle said in 2016, “The last thing I want is power from him.”

A change in the narrative opened the 2018 season, as LeMahieu made a conscious effort to improve pulling the ball for power, while also maintaining his opposite-field contact skills. The new plan was working well as the season got underway. Through the end of April, LeMahieu slashed .299/.364/.495, with 4 home runs (half his total from 2017). Unfortunately, LeMahieu was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List with a right hamstring strain on April 30th. After returning from the DL stint, LeMahieu hit only .272/.309/.408 over the remainder of the season, while also adding two more trips to the DL. LeMahieu did finish with a career high 15 home runs, and perhaps a healthy season will be what helps him add to that total again in 2019.

As Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes, LeMahieu could add more power to his game à la Daniel Murphy and become “a Daniel Murphy who plays far better defense.”

Colorado Rockies: Jordan Patterson gets fresh start with New York Mets | Rox Pile
Less than a week after being designated for assignment by the Rockies, Jordan Patterson has been claimed off waivers by the New York Mets, as Kevin Henry of Rox Pile relays. Patterson never got an opportunity to see regular playing time at the Major League level with the Rockies, despite excellent numbers in Triple-A. Patterson, who will turn 27 in February, can easily play both corner outfield spots and first base.

Nothing but well wishes to Patterson, who I’ve personally been a big fan of for quite some time, as have many others in the Purple Row community.

Minnesota Twins claim C.J. Cron off waivers | DRays Bay
One potential offensive upgrade for the Rockies was claimed by another team on Monday. After hitting 30 home runs in 2018, first baseman C.J. Cron was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays a week ago and was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Twins on Monday.

Arbitration Breakdown: Nolan Arenado | MLB Trade Rumors
In his final year of arbitration, Nolan Arenado will set a new record with a projected 2019 salary of $26.1 million. Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors has the full breakdown.