Chad Bettis has given the Rockies one heck of a good story. The righty pitcher was diagnosed with testicular cancer on his first wedding anniversary. He underwent surgery, believing himself to be rid of the cancer, only to find out that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. Nine days before the birth of his daughter, he began chemotherapy. And on August 14, 2017, he made a triumphant return to the Rockies, pitching for seven scoreless innings.
Now, Bettis has finished up his chemo treatments and expects to be able to declare that he is cancer-free after his scan coming up in May. He’s now trying to get back to normal. After more or less missing a year, he is trying to find his way back, finding his place in the super bullpen. Now he’s working on getting his fastball up to speed. He played pretty well in 2017, but hit a bit of a rough patch in September. Bettis recognizes this growth opportunity, and he’s ready to work to get to where he needs to be. I know I’m rooting for him, and am excited to see what he can bring to the plate this year.
We’ve still got a little bit of offseason left in which to solve our first-base question. Ian Desmond didn’t work out quite according to plan last year. We got pretty lucky with Mark Reynolds, at least in the first half of the season. There is a good amount of potential in Ryan McMahon, but he is still relatively untested and a bit of a risk at first in 2018. Mark Reynolds is still a free agent and has been vocal about his interest in returning to Denver. Todd Frazier would be an interesting move, if this is the direction the Rockies decide to go. Time is winding down, slowly but surely, and the Rockies will need to make a move to figure out their infield.
The Larry Walker Hall of Fame debate goes on, and Craig Edwards argues in his favor. Like many, Edwards claims that Walker wasn’t just good because of Coors Field. When we look at his statistics (crazy amounts of hits and home runs, stolen bases, MVP win, Gold Gloves, All-Star appearances, Silver Sluggers), we can see, even if we take away some of the glory because of the fact that he played for Denver, that this is a guy who deserves some serious recognition.
There are some who are willing to completely dismiss this due to the thin mountain air. However, WAR already factors in the Coors Field effect, so Walker is in effect being doubly penalized. Edwards paints a picture with several other statistics that indicate what a strong player Walker was. And I agree: Walker deserved way more that the 34% vote that he got this year.
The new Rockies’ scoreboard will likely be one of a number of highlights in 2018. The display is entirely unique, not the traditional rectangle, but instead the shape of the Rocky Mountains. This is a huge upgrade, and I’m sure we can look forward to some awesome effects on the new scoreboard, which is 2.5 times bigger than the old one. Yet another reason why I cannot wait for Opening Day.
The pitch-clock rumor has been one of many floating around this offseason, but it still seems as if no decision has been made. Initially, it sounded like things were pretty much determined, all worked out early. The pitch clock seemed like it was going to happen, but then it was rejected by the players association. However, the commissioner was able to simply put the new policy in place. It looked like there was a plan ready to go, with some pace of play adjustments that we would all just have to get used to. All this seems irrelevant now, as there have been reports that there will not be a pitch clock. The league still hopes to cut the time of games down, but it seems like an almost impossible goal without some kind of restrictions. As with much of the uncertainty of this offseason, we’ll have to wait and see.