With the disappointment of the 2019 season still lingering on the tongues of Rockies fans like a warm, flat Coors Light, I thought it might be nice to focus on a feel-good story to lead today’s Rockpile. Let’s face it, we are constantly bombarded with the reality of a shaky and incomplete rotation, the expensive bullpen blues, and DJ withdrawals as we propel into a splash-less offseason.
Enter Carlos Gonzalez.
In Patrick Saunders’ responses to questions from Denver Post readers, he discusses a variety of topics from Jeff Bridich’s ability to work with other general managers to get trades done around the league, to a rundown of promising bullpen prospects, to just how hard it was to not only see DJ LeMahieu in Yankee pinstripes, but equally as depressing to do so while he is at first base. The bright spot comes when Saunders agrees with a reader on the fitting nostalgia around Gerardo Parra and CarGo and says he believes that it is “likely” that when Gonzalez is done playing in the MLB, the Rockies could sign him to a one-day contract so that he could retire as the Rockie.
This has to happen.
CarGo, the three-time All-Star and 2010 National League batting champion who recently turned 34, has been on the free agent market since July 3. With his declining production, slashing .210/.282/.276 for the Indians and .175/.306/.300 for the Cubs in 2019, it seems unlikely he can earn a spot on an MLB roster in 2020. If he doesn’t, hopefully the Rockies will do right by the three-time Gold Glover with the golden swing and golden smile. After all, among Colorado all-time leaders, he ranks second in games played (1,247), third in runs scored (769), hits (1,330), and total bases (2,366), and fifth in WAR for position players (23.5).
Let’s stick with the good stuff. While the Rockies may have 99 problems to worry about in 2020 and beyond, losing key players to free agency this offseason isn’t one of them, as Jack Etkin notes. Yonder Alonso and Drew Butera are the only Rockies on the free agency eligible list. It doesn’t seem likely that Colorado will re-sign Alonso and Butera doesn’t fit into the catcher picture on the 40-man roster. Compared to last year, when we rightfully dreaded losing Adam Ottavino and LeMahieu, that doesn’t have to be a source of stress this year—even if Chad Bettis and Tyler Anderson enter the free agent market if they aren’t placed back on the 40-man roster at the deadline (five days after the World Series ends).
Well, all it took was hitting .327/.375/.518 with 26 homers and 33 doubles, scoring 109 runs, knocking in 102 runs, and the nearly-flawless fielding that can come at first or second base, and, oh yeah, that huge clutch homer in the ninth inning of Game 6 vs. the Astros in the ALCS (even though it was it was erased as a game-winner by Jose Altuve), but it turns out that Yankees fans like DJ LeMahieu. They wanted Manny Machado, not some small-market guy who wins batting titles and Gold Gloves. This post shows that they have come around.
As LeMahieu’s talents would have it, he can still hit at lower altitudes. Oh, and did we mention he also can play first base? It’s no big deal. The Rockies have Daniel Murphy. For the same $24 million, 2-year deal.
The big-bearded reliever won’t be back for the Rockies in 2020 as DJ Johnson was released on Wednesday. He posted a 5.04 ERA in 25 innings with 24 strikeouts and 19 walks in 28 games and an 0-2 mark. Even though we have been told there won’t be any big offseason slashes, this seems like an unexpected first drop in the small moves that come with every winter.
The Tourists will remain in the stadium through 2021 and the Asheville City Council is still negotiating a deal for improvements at McCormick Field, which was built in 1924. This would be great news for the Rockies single-A squad, who are playing in an aging venue named after the city’s bacteriologist known for spreading awareness of the benefits of swatting houseflies in 1905, when there was a serious fly problem. The history of the stadium is worth a read.