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Daniel Murphy is a low-risk option for the Rockies

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Rockies news and links for December 22, 2018

The Rockies Make a Smart, Low-Risk Move by Signing Daniel Murphy | Sports Illustrated
Gabriel Bumgaertner gives the Colorado Rockies rave reviews for their signing of infielder Daniel Murphy to a two-year, $24 million deal. While the deal is more money than had been expected around the industry, it will be a steal if Murphy can return to anything close to his 2016-2017 performance with the Washington Nationals, when he slashed an outstanding .334/.387/.569.

Bumgaertner feels as though Murphy is just the ticket for the Rox to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West title, but that they also shouldn’t stop now. The article recommends that General Manager Jeff Bridich add another “controllable young arm” to the rotation. I would agree that the Rockies shouldn’t stop now but should perhaps continue focusing on the offense rather than the rotation.

Murphy signing has widespread ripples for Rox | Rockies.com
Thomas Harding of MLB.com lists several players who are impacted (or not) by the Rox bringing Murphy aboard. The chances of re-signing Nolan Arenado to a long-term extension will likely not be impacted by Murphy’s contract, while free agent DJ LeMahieu will certainly not be back with the team. Harding writes that Murphy could help to teach Ryan McMahon how to be a better hitter and could also assist Ian Desmond in learning to hit more fly balls. With LeMahieu out of the picture, there will also be one less obstacle to the Major Leagues for infielder and top prospect Brendan Rodgers. With Murphy getting the bulk of the reps at first base, Desmond will move to center field, Charlie Blackmon will move to left field and David Dahl will move to right field. Raimel Tapia will also have the opportunity for more playing time than he received a season ago. Harding also writes that free agent Carlos González seems set to not be a part of the Rockies’ outfield plans this time around, while Murphy’s presence will allow more development time in the minor leagues for prospects Josh Fuentes, Brian Mundell and Tyler Nevin.

Cardinals, Nationals or Rockies: Which team is now most likely to make the 2019 postseason? | Yahoo Sports
Thursday’s move to sign Murphy wasn’t the only major free agent signing around baseball. The Nationals also signed starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez to a two-year, $19 million deal and the St. Louis Cardinals inked reliever Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million contract. Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports ponders which of the three signings puts their team closer to contention. As, unlike the other two, the Rockies are coming off back-to-back postseason appearances, they may be the likeliest of the bunch. Townsend also says Murphy is the surest bet of the three to be both healthy and effective.

Márquez giving back to hometown Venezuela | Rockies.com
Harding also offers this heartwarming story about German Márquez, who is giving back to his community by handing out toys in his native Venezuela. It’s no secret that conditions have been very volatile in Márquez’s home country. “[I]t’s part of my obligation to give back to the community because I have the resources and ability to,” says Márquez. He also says he would like to give out toys to children in the Denver area.

Ranking all 30 of the teams that should sign Bryce Harper | SB Nation MLB
At the SB Nation main site, Grant Brisbee ranks all 30 teams based on the degree to which they should sign Bryce Harper. The Rockies come in at 7th on the list.

What the Colorado Rockies must do to get Larry Walker in the Hall of Fame | BSN Denver
While the campaign to enshrine Larry Walker in the Hall of Fame rages on, Drew Creasman of BSN Denver wonders why the Rockies have yet to retire the number of one of the best players in franchise history.

Colorado Rockies: The Hall of Fame case for Larry Walker | Rox Pile
Noah Yingling of Rox Pile also makes the case for Walker’s inclusion in the Hall.

How Much Will the Pittsburgh Pirates Tinker with Jordan Lyles? | Bucs Dugout
Under the watchful guidance of pitching coach Ray Searage, the Pittsburgh Pirates have turned many a reclamation project into a serviceable Major League pitcher. Such examples have included Francisco Liriano, Edinson Vólquez, J.A. Happ, A.J. Burnett, Iván Nova and Mark Melancon. Could an old friend of the Rockies be next? As Jason Rollison at Bucs Dugout writes, Jordan Lyles (whom the Pirates signed during the Winter Meetings) could be one such project.

From 2014-2017, Lyles was mediocre at best for the Rockies. He remained as such or even worse for the San Diego Padres, before the Milwaukee Brewers claimed him off waivers on August 5, 2018. In his final 16 1/3 innings of the 2018 season, Lyles pitched to a 3.31 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 9 walks. Could this be a start of something good for Lyles or will his 0% home run to fly ball ratio come back to haunt him?