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Depth remains a strength of the Rockies

Rockies news and links for January 3, 2019

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BSN Rockies Podcast: The All-Time Lefty Team | BSN Denver
On the latest episode of the BSN Rockies Podcast, Drew Creasman assembles the Rockies’ all-time left-handed lineup, with Todd Helton, Larry Walker and Carlos González unsurprisingly making up the heart of the order. Creasman also discusses what the current iteration of the team might look like in 2019 and how playing time can be distributed around the infield and/or outfield for Ian Desmond, Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia and Garrett Hampson.

Jairo Díaz, Michael Saunders sign minor-league deals with Rockies | The Denver Post ($)
In case you missed it, the Colorado Rockies recently signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. After seeing big league time with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies from 2011-2017, Saunders split 2018 between the Triple-A affiliates for the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox. In 133 total at-bats last season, Saunders slashed a weak .158/.273/.248. Saunders is probably best-known for making the 2016 All-Star Team after a first half in which he batted .298 with 16 home runs. Saunders’ production fell off a cliff in the second half and has not returned since. The Rockies will be hoping for some semblance of bounce-back production, as Patrick Saunders (no relation) of The Denver Post writes.

Jairo Díaz has also re-signed a minor league deal with the Rox but will reportedly not be receiving an MLB Spring Training invite. While Díaz has a career 3.64 ERA in the Majors, he has been derailed by injuries in recent years. In 12 1/3 innings in 2018 (all in the minors), Díaz pitched to a 5.84 ERA, with an alarming nine walks, four wild pitches and one hit batter.

Colorado Rockies Quick Hits: Tulo, Nolan’s contract and Yard Goats | Rox Pile
Kevin Henry of Rox Pile offers a quick recap of information, from Troy Tulowitzki’s deal with the New York Yankees to a new cap for the Hartford Yard Goats.

Denver’s 19 in ‘19: What to look for in the new year | The Athletic ($)
The Athletic previews what’s ahead for all of Denver’s teams, from the Avalanche to the Broncos to the Nuggets to the Rockies. For the Rockies, the focus is on Nolan Arenado’s future, Jon Gray’s inconsistencies, Trevor Story’s elbow, and the breakout campaigns of Kyle Freeland and German Márquez.

Hall of Fame Poll: Todd Helton | Bluebird Banter
Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter is running a poll on Todd Helton’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Vote early, vote often!

Your Favorite Baseball Team Can Afford Any Free Agent It Wants | Deadspin
In an interesting article for Deadspin, David Roth argues that there is no reason for any team not to go out and sign big-name free agents. There are some individual cases where I disagree with this statement, but I believe it largely holds true, including for a team like the Rockies.

Renee Dechert proposed that the Rockies sign AJ Pollock on Tuesday and I argued for the Rockies to sign Bryce Harper yesterday. Rox Pile reported over the weekend that the two-year, $19 million contract that the New York Mets gave Wilson Ramos was probably too costly for the team to be comfortable with. That would surely put Pollock out of the conversation, and it would stand to reason that there hasn’t even been a thought about Harper. But owners have a lot of money. And the Rockies do likely have the money to sign a player like Harper, even if they don’t have a desire to hand it out.

Stats say: These prospects drove the ball best in ‘18 |
While the minor leagues do not offer Statcast data to sift through, we are still able to see the percentages of line drives and fly balls to result in hits. Mike Rosenbaum of shows us the top 10. The batter with the highest percentage from 2018? Colton Welker of the Rockies at 31.2 percent. Just missing the cut from the Top 10 was another Rockies’ prospect in Josh Fuentes.

The Yankees’ signing of Troy Tulowitzki does not come without risk | Pinstripe Alley
While Tulowitzki’s deal with the Yankees is only the league minimum for one season, Jake Devin of Pinstripe Alley warns that such deals are not of the “no-risk” variety. While it would certainly be easy for the Yankees to cut Tulowitzki if he doesn’t perform well, the poor performance would have to be realized first. If Tulowitzki is a shell of his former self, he could net negative contributions to the team for as much as, say, a month of play, which is indeed a risk— and much more of a risk than the financial component.