The obvious reactions that follow a headline that mentions the “hot seat” bring you right to general manager Jeff Bridich, especially after he pretty much said, “hey, don’t look at me, they’re the ones who need to play better,” when trying to pin down what went wrong this past season. Despite those feelings, we know the Rockies are not going to dismiss their GM.
With Bridich not going anywhere, and with other targets of frustration like Ian Desmond and Wade Davis fairly entrenched, we’re left to look at less prominent but nevertheless significant players who might be on their way out as the Rockies try to fix their roster this offseason.
Nick Groke takes a look at players who could be on the hot seat, with Jeff Hoffman perhaps the player listed with the highest upside. The range of possible outcomes with him includes scenarios where he has a real impact on the Rockies by figuring things out in the starting rotation. Of course, as Groke notes, he might also find himself off the team if he continues to struggle with his command and consistency.
Chad Bettis is also mentioned as a popular player who may no longer be a fit, and I’m afraid that will probably be true. Then again, the Rockies have had a tendency to be loyal in the past, whether it’s earned or not. That’s true despite the fact they unceremoniously let Chris Iannetta go, as noted in this piece. Bettis has absolutely earned that loyalty, but if he does stick around here’s hoping he can find results on the field to match his importance off the field and in the clubhouse.
One final note: Pat Valaika is another player who might be on his way out as the Rockies try to improve the fringes of their roster. A Triple-A All-Star this past season, Valaika would probably catch on somewhere, and Groke reminds us that Mike Tauchman was also a fringy minor league All-Star in Colorado before turning into a stud on the Yankees.
It’s a fair point, but it feels like we’ve seen a lot more of Valaika struggling in the big leagues than we ever did with Tauchman. I’m comfortable with the Rockies moving on from Valaika and whatever risk would come that he catches fire with another organization.
Another way we might see Rockies players on the move would be via offseason trade. And that might be a good thing, because Bridich’s track record with trades is far more positive. That brings us to this piece from Warne in which he throws out a potential trade that would send Jon Gray to the Twins for Eddie Rosario and a couple minor leaguers.
It’s interesting to see an outside perspective on what someone like Gray would get the Rockies in a trade. And I think it’s probably wise to err on the conservative side of things when thinking about a potential return, tempting though it is to say that the Rockies would want a lot more than that in a deal.
It is all but a lock that Gray isn’t going anywhere, but a trade involving him or another young player would represent a way for the front office to shake things up.
Speaking of Rockies who aren’t going anywhere.
Kevin Henry makes the case for optimism if the Rockies end up with a roster that largely looks the same. He points to a number of players already on the team who could continue to improve on the job.
An awful lot of those players would need to break out at the same time for such a plan to work, however. And saying the Rockies need to stay healthy is all fine and good, but it’s worth pointing out once again that they weren’t really bit by the injury bug until well after they were at the bottom of the NL West standings.