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Worst-case scenarios for the Rockies in 2018

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Rockies news and links for February 22, 2018

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Colorado Rockies: Examining the worst-case injury scenarios | Rox Pile
In 2017, the following 19 players spent time on the Disabled List for the Colorado Rockies: Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, David Dahl, Jairo Diaz, Ian Desmond, Mike Dunn, Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Hanigan, Jake McGee, Tom Murphy, Adam Ottavino, Gerardo Parra, Chad Qualls, Chris Rusin, Trevor Story, and Tony Wolters. None of these injuries proved to be insurmountable, as the team was still able to earn a postseason berth as the second National League Wild Card team. You will notice, however, that some of 2017’s biggest offensive performers, Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, and Mark Reynolds, remained healthy (or at least healthy enough to avoid a DL stint) over the course of the season. So, what sort of injury would represent a worst-case scenario for the Rockies?

There was a scary moment at Marlins Park on August 13, 2017, when Arenado was hit in the hand by a pitch from Vance Worley. Arenado had to exit the game, and there were thoughts of disaster. I remember the “I’m not panicking, you’re panicking, it’s okay because Ryan McMahon can play third” tweets like it was yesterday. Luckily, we never had to face such a decision as Arenado (god-like being that he is) returned the very next night(!) to pinch-hit and looked no worse for wear for the remainder of the season. Imagine if that had been a season-ending injury though. At Rox Pile, Kevin Henry explores what the Rockies’ 2018 lineup might look like if Arenado were to be kept out of it for an extended period. The same exercise is done for Blackmon.

There are some names that were on the DL for the Rockies in 2017 that were not insignificant to lose contributions from. Gray is generally patented with the description of the team’s ace, and he missed over two months of the season. Fortunately, the Rockies had enough depth to sustain success while Gray recovered from a nagging stress fracture in his left foot. Anderson was out for around three months with left knee inflammation, and upon his September return, showed just how much his talent was missed. Other key contributors such as Freeland, McGee, Rusin, and Story only missed about a week’s time. For players such as Dahl, Desmond, and Gonzalez, there were questions surrounding whether injuries prevented them from having more productive years, or a major-league year at all in Dahl’s case. These injuries could have resulted in the Rockies performing worse than they otherwise would have in 2017, but they still weren’t unmanageable in the path to the postseason.

A worst-case scenario where Arenado and/or Blackmon miss 2-3+ months, though? Talented as the players mentioned in the previous paragraph may be, these two are the upper-echelon guys. I’m not confident in an exact number of games that would be lost without Nolan and Chuck, but this team would look a lot less threatening without them.

All kidding aside, Rockies’ first base situation is a serious matter | Mile High Sports
The uncertainty surrounding who will play first base for the Rockies can be looked at as an area of concern. Present indications are that youngster Ryan McMahon has the inside track to earning full-time duties at the position. But there are questions surrounding McMahon’s ability to have success at the MLB level right now. It’s no fault of his own—it’s just slightly disconcerting to edge an inexperienced player into such an important role no matter how high his ceiling may be. If McMahon doesn’t pan out right away, Desmond is a possibility, but counting on a rebound from him offensively and defensively is not the safest choice.

Arenado not distracted by extension whispers | Rockies.com
Another bad case scenario would be the Rockies losing Blackmon and LeMahieu, followed by Arenado after 2019, to free agency. General Manager Jeff Bridich noted that he will remain tight-lipped on impending negotiations with all three players. For his part, Arenado says extension talks for himself have not yet begun, but that he too wouldn’t discuss them if they were occurring.

On the Rockies

Familiar faces could help shore up Rockies outfield and lineup | Mile High Sports
The good news is that the Rockies have a glut of talent throughout the organization, and there will be tough decisions to make for the Opening Day roster because several players will likely wind up deserving of spots. There also remain options in free agency to help bolster the offense. Two familiar faces in Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson should be pursued, opines Mile High Sports’ Aniello Piro.

Short prep time has Rox hitters swinging early | Rockies.com
With the earlier start to the season, there’s less time between the first full squad workouts and the start of actual Spring Training games. With that, the Rockies have come to camp swinging. While in a typical live BP situation, players might elect to take pitches, players are swinging more often this year to get prepared for games.

Cuevas has PR on mind as he vies for OD roster | Rockies.com
Outfielder Noel Cuevas has not been oft-mentioned as a possibility to crack the Opening Day roster, but Manager Bud Black “makes it a point to mention his name among the candidates,” writes MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Cuevas, a native of Puerto Rico, is managing his time by focusing on impressing in camp as well as thinking about his family back home.

Colorado Rockies: Antonio Senzatela as a starter or bullpen pitcher? | Rox Pile
While Antonio Senzatela is not projected to make the 25-man roster out of camp, he will be one of the most difficult choices to send to Triple-A Albuquerque rather than make the trip north. Rox Pile’s Brady Vernon writes about how Senzatela thrived in 2017 after being shifted to the bullpen.

Around Baseball

Baseball’s Economics Aren’t As Skewed As They Seem | The Ringer
Around a month ago, big-name free agents were still unsigned and the game of baseball was seemingly falling into chaos over rumors of collusion. Now, with Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, and JD Martinez agreeing to healthy contracts, and MLB taking a softer approach to pace-of-play implementation, it doesn’t seem like a work stoppage by 2021 is all that likely anymore. In a very intriguing piece, Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer shows that the player’s shares of revenues are not (and have not) been as disparate as one might think.

T-shirts

Our friends at BreakingT have a new run of Nolan Arenado’s blood celebration shirt—this one in black. You can find it here.