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Rockies signed much more than a baseball player in Ian Desmond

Rockies news and links for April 5, 2018

Faith and Flexibility: A bumpy 2017 won’t keep Ian Desmond from doing it all | Mile High Sports
You will recall that during the 2016-2017 offseason, the Colorado Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a five year, $70 million contract. Less than 20 plate appearances into the 2018 campaign campaign, we are seeing better results than we did from Desmond in 2017. Some regression is inevitable—Desmond isn’t going to come close to the all-time single-season home run record that he is on pace for, but he is at least elevating the ball at a more promising level than he did in his inaugural Rockies campaign.

Regardless of how the statistics have panned out or will pan out, the Rockies certainly got themselves one heck of a person in Desmond. In an article that originally appeared in Mile High Magazine, Vanessa Hughes details the man behind the bat and glove.

“He wants to make a difference in people’s lives,” says General Manager Jeff Bridich. “I don’t think we fully understood that as an organization until we lived with him for a year.”

Desmond’s career accolades speak for themselves—a two-time All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner. But beyond those accomplishments, there’s also the Desmond who is devoted to raising funds to find a cure for neurofibromatosis, the Desmond who is organizing an equipment drive to help the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, the Desmond (who is a Christian) reaching out to the Denver Islamic Society to let them know that they have a friend in him, and simply the Desmond that will sign a bat for a young child who calls his name when he sees him in the cage during batting practice.

Stat lines aside, the Rockies have themselves a class act in Desmond, and his presence seems to be a very good thing for the Denver community.

Colorado Rockies: How long is the leash for Carlos Gonzalez? | Rox Pile
Unlike Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez is not off to a blistering start to the season. Just as it would be unfair to expect Desmond to play like an MVP for the remainder of the season, it would also be unfair to let six games tell the whole story for CarGo. However, there is the matter of the numbers produced by Gonzalez over the 2017 season. While CarGo rebounded to hit well in the season’s final month, his overall 84 wRC+ left much to be desired.

This has caused Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt to ask the question, “How long is the leash” for CarGo? It seems logical that the leash will be shorter than it was in 2017. For one, Gonzalez is only on a 1 year, $8 million deal, as opposed to making $20 million in the final year of a seven-year contract. It would be much easier from a financial standpoint to be content with putting a player on the bench when they’re making far less than $20 million. The Rockies’ depth has been oft-discussed, and David Dahl and Raimel Tapia are waiting in the wings at Triple-A Albuquerque. Both are at least 99% Major League ready, and hopefully are in the plans to be utilized should any of the outfielders be producing subpar performances after another 50 at-bats or so.

Rox excited for ‘quiet room’ in new clubhouse |
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, but sometimes you want to go where you can’t hear anyone say your name. As part of significant renovations to Coors Field (you may have heard about the massive new scoreboard), the Rockies have added a “quiet room” to the clubhouse where players can meditate or simply catch a nap. Desmond made meditation a big part of his game during Spring Training, and CarGo’s sleep problems from 2017 are well-documented as a part of his struggles. Third baseman Nolan Arenado has also stated a desire to get more sleep as a goal heading into the new season as well. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu wasn’t quite as excited- he doesn’t think you need a quiet room if you don’t stay up all night playing video games, but DJ did acknowledge the difficulties that may exist to find time to relax for his teammates who have children.

In addition to this story,’s Thomas Harding says Rockies Manager Bud Black would like to see CarGo take over third place on the all-time Rockies hits list, a position currently held by Dante Bichette. “One of the farthest home runs I ever gave up was to Bitchette,” Black recalls.

Let It Eat: The April 2018 Panic Index | Baseball Prospectus
Oh god. The Rockies have played six games and have yet to end a single day of the regular season with a record above .500. Is it time to tank and go for the number one overall pick in the draft?

The Rockies currently rank at Panic Level 1, which is a relatively good place to be on Ben Carsley’s rankings at Baseball Prospectus. Around the division, the Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting pretty at Level 0, the Arizona Diamondbacks accompany the Rox in Level 1, San Diego Padres fans are “already dead inside” at Level 2, and the San Francisco Giants are pretending things are fine in Panic Level 4.

Marco Gonzales’ season debut for Mariners suggests he’s ready to become a bona fide major league starter | The Denver Post ($)
Fort Collins, Colorado native Marco Gonzales has had his share of arm troubles in his career- shoulder inflammation in 2015 and he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016. Still only 26 years old, Gonzales says he is finally feeling peace of mind with regards to his arm as he enters a season fully healthy with the Seattle Mariners.

Contract extension could make Charlie Blackmon a Rockies lifer | Purple Row
You may have heard the big news from Wednesday- the Rockies signed all-star center fielder Charlie Blackmon to a six year, $108 million contract. Purple Row’s own Adam Peterson provides the immediate reactions to the deal. Clearly, the Rockies are in win-now mode, and believe that Blackmon will keep them in that position for the foreseeable future.

This could also bode well for keeping Arenado, who is a free agent after the 2019 season, with the club for an extended period. Arenado seems to be hell-bent on winning a World Series, and the Blackmon deal should be a sign to Arenado that Bridich and the Monforts are committed to putting a winning club on the field. As a result, we could see an extension for Arenado coming in the next year as well. Be sure to check out the rest of Adam’s notes, which include Blackmon’s motivation to make a deal, why this looks like a good deal for both sides, and the commitment from the Rockies to keep a clubhouse leader and fan favorite in Colorado.

Charlie Blackmon Decides Not to Deal With Doubt | FanGraphs
Jeff Sullivan breaks down Blackmon’s contract at FanGraphs. Sullivan uses Dexter Fowler as a notable example of a Rockies player who had noticeable road/home splits (as Blackmon does), but who clearly turned out not to be a Coors Field creation. Ultimately, Sullivan believes that the Blackmon contract works out for both team and player.