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Rockies have options and depth entering Spring Training

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Rockies news and links for Sunday, February 11, 2018

Rockies roster provides much room for speculation | MLB.com

Thomas Harding of MLB.com takes a stab at everyone’s favorite offseason game: predicting the Opening Day roster. In this first of several installments to look forward to before March 29th, when the regular season begins in Arizona, one thing is very clear — the Rockies have depth and versatility at many positions and options to explore in Spring Training. These predictions will fluctuate based on performances in the Cactus League, if certain players are healthy (who?), and if the stove gets hot or not for the Rockies.

Harding’s prediction for the starting rotation and bullpen are exactly what I would expect. The Rockies have a strong right-hand left-hand balance with Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland in the mix, and I honestly think if any of the five projected starters don’t last in the rotation this season, it is likely Bettis who will be the odd man out. If that’s the case, we have two strong RHP options in Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman who can easily slide into his spot, and the other would also make a strong long-relief option if Bud Black decides to go with a 9-man bullpen.

It has been chronicled and debated all winter, but it’s the Rockies’ position players that are more up in the air. Third base, second base, shortstop, and centerfield are a sure thing, but after that, playing time gets cloudy. As far as who makes the 25-man roster, there will be a battle between Wolters and Murphy for who backs up Chris Iannetta, and between Dahl, Tapia, and Tauchmann for a final OF and bench spot. Valaika’s job is safe in my mind — his combination of power, versatility, and pinch hitting prowess are unique to this roster. Of course, this could all change if the Rockies add one more impact bat like Logan Morrison, Mark Reynolds, or CarGo.

Looking at you, Jeff.

Rockies spring training preview: Young starting rotation looking to build on success | Denver Post

In the first of another series of articles, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post begins his Spring Training previews with a closer look at the potential starting rotation for the Rockies. Saunders doesn’t make any bold predictions as to who will be the five starters come Opening Day, but plays some interesting word-association with Tyler Anderson and profiles the seven rotation options the Rockies are looking at entering the season — Gray, Anderson, Bettis, Marquez, Freeland, Senzatela, and Hoffman.

Bud Black also discusses the need for many of the key pitching contributors to avoid a sophomore slump in 2018. Marquez, Freeland, Senzatela, and Hoffman all had success as rookies, but they will also be less of an unknown against foes who now have a book on each of them — especially in the division where they were seen the most. Bud is very straightforward when he says, “they have to get better. It comes down to consistency.” He’s right, and it’s just a matter of time before we know if they’re up to the task.

Things to do if the players boycott Spring Training | Purple Row

Baseball is almost back, and what better sign than a hard-hitting Football Fri— oh, excuse me, I mean Labor Unrestball Friday. I’ve got goosebumps already. Connor has done it again and has the Pulitzer folks whispering behind closed doors. In his latest post, you’ll find seven great options for what to do with yourself if the players decide to boycott Spring Training as a result of all the, you know, collusion. One thing is for sure, I’ll finally get around to finishing my exposé on cats — unless baseball happens... which I’d prefer.

Purple Dino Podcast Episode 123: Frozen free agency and Larry Walker | Purple Row

The Purple Dinosaur Podcast crew is back at it for episode 123. In their latest Rockies rantings and ravings, Anthony and Tyler discuss the free agent market that has stalled this offseason and the implications it has on the MLBPA and labor peace moving forward. They also banter about Larry Walker and his campaign to get into the Hall of Fame (spoiler: they think he should), and, of course, some thoughts on the Notorious B.I.G. It’s well worth an hour of your time, especially considering how cold the “stove” has been this winter.

Around baseball:

Yu Darvish inks deal with Chicago Cubs | FanRag Sports

Okay, I take back what I said about the cold stove. One of the major free-agent dominoes finally fell, and guess what — it’s Yu. In this quick piece from Heyman, the deal between Darvish and the Cubs is broken down, first reported by Ken Rosenthal:

The $150M was later clarified to be closer to $126M with incentives that could bring the entirety of the contract closer to $150M. MLB Trade Rumors projected Darvish to receive something in the range of $160M earlier this winter, so it may be a little bit on the light side, but not significantly.

As far as the Rockies are concerned, the good news is Darvish will be leaving the NL West and not help the Dodgers in their quest for another division title. The less our hitters have to face him on our journey to the postseason the better. The bad news? The Cubs are likely a Wild Card competitor next season, so Yu will still have the chance to cause us pain. Considering how the Brewers have improved by adding Yelich and Cain, I think the NL Central will come down to those two teams, and the Rockies may very well have to battle Yu and the Cubs in order to make the postseason.