Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies top prospect, is ready to make a name for himself and let his actions speak louder than words. Thomas Harding provides some insight on Rodgers entering his first Spring Training camp with high expectations surrounding his quick advancement through the Rockies’ system.
Harding also spoke to Bud Black and learned the young shortstop will likely start the year in Double-A again — but he could be only an injury away from a call-up. If Brendan continues to hit the ball well and handle major league competition this spring, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the 25-man roster, one way or another, by August.
Some other interesting news from Harding involves Manny Machado — and no, the Rockies aren’t interested in trading for him (that we know of). He spoke to Nolan Arenado about Machado’s transition to SS this season, and Nolan admitted he thought about doing the same thing after Trevor Story’s injury last May:
“I wanted to play short, but we had Pat Valaika and Pat blew it for me,” he said. “Maybe one day I’ll get into a game at short. I think I can. I’m confident I can.”
That’s #NolanBeingNolan. What do you think, Rockies fans? Would you like to see Arenado try his gold (and platinum) glove at SS?
When it comes to Brendan Rodgers and his inevitable major league call-up, there is one big elephant in the room — what about DJ LeMahieu? From one stand-point, there is no where for Rodgers to play other than off the bench due to DJ’s elite defense at 2B and the $8.5 million contract he signed in January.
That’s all well and good — call me old fashioned, but I highly value the fielding skills he brings to the table, a multiple Gold Glove winner himself — but his career 90 wRC+ leaves a lot to be desired.
I think DJ will hold onto the starting role in 2018, but the Rockies will ultimately decide to cut ties with him after this season when he enters free agency. Rodgers offers too much potential to be a star, he’s no slouch defensively, and if this offseason is any indication, the Rockies will be happy to pay him less money than DJ for much more of an offensive punch. DJ’s time with the Rockies is limited, sure, but I have no doubt he will still play a key role this year to get the Rockies to the Postseason, and I’m excited to watch.
While we are on the topic of “winning now,” Greg Moore at Rox Pile offers a look at how the Rockies can make another Postseason run in 2018 a reality — but there will be consequences. It’s been well-documented, even by our own Jordan Freemyer, that JD Martinez remains unsigned and would make a huge impact in many teams’ lineups. But for the Rockies, it would come at a cost.
What cost exactly, though? Looking past the monetary specifics of the contract (hint: expensive), the true cost of signing JD Martinez is the impending loss of Charlie Blackmon after the upcoming season. Chuck will be entering his first year of free agency after 2018 and ready to demand big bucks — bucks the Rockies will need to invest in Nolan Arenado if they hope to keep him beyond 2019, and they absolutely should.
So if you’re keeping track, that’s DJ and Chuck both gone after the 2018 season if the Rockies decide to ride Brendan Rodgers and spend on Martinez. When you start to break it down, it does make a lot of sense. Rodgers is a star in the making for the Rox, and JD can hold his own to replace the offensive production of Chuck. We have young OF talent waiting in the wings (Dahl, Tapia, Patterson) who could make a difference soon, too. The Rockies could be a force to be reckoned with in 2018 (and beyond), and it’s only nostalgia that makes this potential course-of-action too painful for many fans to imagine.
NL West Hot Stove Action
The Hot Stove is hot again. Late last night (I have a toddler, what can I say...) it was reported that Eric Hosmer has become the new face of the franchise for the Padres:
Sources confirm Eric Hosmer is headed to the San Diego Padres on an eight-year deal. A franchise-altering move for a team with among the deepest pipelines of young talent in MLB. Hosmer is expected to be leader and gets well over $100 million to do so. @sdutKevinAcee had first.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 18, 2018
Eight years! San Diego has committed to pay Hosmer until he is 36 years old. There is a player opt-out after 5 years, but it is unlikely Hosmer would expect to get more money than this in free agency following his age 33 season, especially considering how the market is trending currently (young is cheaper and better).
It’s hard to consider the Padres any kind of relevant NL West contender next year, but they have positioned themselves well for the next few seasons to be competitive again. Unfortunately for the Rockies, their division continues to get tougher, and at the very least, the Padres are better suited to poach wins from their rivals in 2018. Hopefully, that just means the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Giants will lose more games, instead.
In some interesting — and odd — bit of NL West news, the Giants keep getting better while the Dodgers keep missing on arms. Tony Watson, a career 3.60 FIP lefty and LA’s primary left-handed specialist down the stretch last year, signed a 3-year deal with the Giants, helping to solidify their bullpen in a season that has seen them add multiple valuable veterans in an attempt to be relevant again.
So what’s odd about it? Well, it’s confusing. There were early reports of only $7 million guaranteed over the 3-year deal, and for perspective, Watson made $5.6 million in 2017. As it turns out, there are many “escalators” and performance bonuses attached, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, which could increase his earnings to as much as $21 million over the contract’s lifetime, structured to keep the Giants under the luxury tax. It’s a deal that could benefit the Giants while not handcuffing them to any more extravagant contracts — and if it happens to set back the Dodgers, all the better for the Rockies.