When it comes to Rockies fans knowing if Nolan is worth his $260 million, 8-year contract, it’s a no-brainer. The rest of the league is catching on, as the stats will show that they should, but Arenado wasn’t the biggest splash in the post-2018 season free-agent, big-bucks spending spree. Since the teams who acquired or locked down the powerful foursome of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Mike Trout, and Arenado have all missed the playoffs, it’s a great time to look at how those mega-contracts played out in year one when it comes to stats. You know, since the winning was missing.
Arenado slashed .315/.379.583 with 41 homers, 118 RBI, and 31 doubles. The .315 mark is a career best, and he shed 29 strikeouts from 2018. He’s got a WAR of 5.7, according to Baseball Reference, which is tied for 23rd best in the majors. In my Colorado-centric belief, the Rockies had the most disappointing season, and the biggest dropoff from 2018 to 2019 in going from a 91-win team to a 71-win team. The perennial Gold Glover also is the only one of the Fab Four with an opt-out clause in his contract.
Like there was any doubt, but Rockies nation can find comfort in the fact that we don’t have Machado, who after signing for $300 million for 12 years, had his worst season ever with 128 strikeouts and a .256 batting average. He also only drove in 85 runs with a 3.1 WAR. Let’s not forget that the Padres actually finished in last place behind the Rockies just to search for any small victories we can.
Trout and his record contract of $430 million for 12 years posted the third-best WAR is baseball at 8.3, while slashing .291/.438/.645 with a career high of 45 homers in the year of the long ball. He’s still Mike Trout and there’s no way the Angles have regrets, even though they’re swing golf clubs instead of bats this October. The Phillies had the best season of the four squads with a .500 mark, but Harper, who signed for $330 million over 13 years, slashed .260/.372/.501 with a WAR of 4.2 and career highs in RBI (111) and strikeouts (178).
Needless to say, one year is a small sample size, but it will be interesting to keep comparing these four players down the road.
There was plenty of analysis and commentary on Tuesday’s Bridich-Monfort-Black presser, but the no-big-change and all-in-on-hope vibe is still leaving a bad taste in many mouths. One nugget that sticks out of Nick Groke’s depressing diagnosis is Monfort’s comparison to the Dodgers.
“The Dodgers didn’t really change a lot. Did they have any big signings? Pollock was the only one and he was hurt half the year. And yet, they won, what, 14-15 more games than they did a year ago. Part of the deal is, you have to be patient.”
To paraphrase (add sarcastic tone here): The Dodgers didn’t make a big change, so we don’t need to either. They won 92 games in 2018. We won 91. We just missed taking the NL West Division by one game. So, it’s the same and we’re good. You just wait.
Really? The Dodgers just have 11 NL West crowns, including seven in a row, in the Rockies 26 years of existence, compared to … um … zero for the Rockies. But let’s narrow it down a little more to pitching. In 2018, the Dodgers pitchers posted a team ERA of 3.38, which was tops in the National League. In 2019, that number barely budged to 3.37, still an NL best. In 2018, when the Rockies had a really good pitching year and we all almost lost our collective minds over Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, the Rockies team ERA was 4.33, 12th best in NL (which can also be said as fourth worst). In 2019, in a monumental collapse of the starting rotation and implosion of the expensive bullpen that gives out runs like candy on Halloween, the Rockies team ERA was 5.57, worst in NL.
Maybe we’re not quite ready for L.A. Dodgers comparisons.
Since there’s no Rocktober this year, it’s helpful to think back on the good times. This is a fun looking lineup featuring the best Rockies player at each position from 2010-2019 based on their best years.
Catcher: Wilin Rosario (2013)
First base: Justin Morneau (2014)
Second base: DJ LeMahieu (2016)
Shortstop : Trevor Story (2018)
Third base : Nolan Arenado (2019)
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez (2010), Charlie Blackmon (2017), and Michael Cuddyer (2013)
Pitching Rotation: Ubaldo Jimenez (2010), Kyle Freeland (2018), German Marquez (2018), Jorge De La Rosa (2013), Jhoulys Chacin (2013).
Closer: Greg Holland (2017).
Definitely worth a read. Anyone want to post alternate decade-best lineups? Who would be on your 10-year squad?
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I am so excited to be joining the Purple Row team as a Rockpile contributor. I have a journalism degree from Colorado State and worked for newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and Lodi, Calif., before switching careers to teaching English in community colleges and now working at the Denver Public Library. I am a huge Rockies fan and can’t wait to engage more with the Purple Row community.