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Rockies news and links for February 16, 2019

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A Comeback With The Rockies Would Be “Almost Storybook” For Michael Saunders | Forbes
After signing a minor-league deal with the Rockies, outfielder Michael Saunders’ path to the big leagues is anything but guaranteed. But the fact that he’s here is important. After failing to crack the Mendoza line in two separate stints in Triple-A in 2018, Saunders considered retiring from the game. Thanks in part to a pep talk from former Rockies’ second baseman Jason Bates, Saunders decided to continue his career. And he has worked extensively this offseason to show he still has the skills to play. Jack Etkin of Forbes share his story.

MLB Network lists Nolan Arenado as the third-best player in baseball | Mile High Sports
MLB Network finished its rankings of the Top 100 Right Now on Thursday evening, with Nolan Arenado coming in at No. 3, behind only Mookie Betts and reigning champion Mike Trout. Arenado was certainly not the only Rockie to make the list, as Trevor Story came in at No. 30, Charlie Blackmon at No. 38 and Kyle Freeland at No. 64. Brandon Ewing of Mile High Sports has more on the numbers that make Arenado worthy of being the third-best player in baseball.

3 reasons why the 2019 Colorado Rockies will make the postseason | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry recently looked at reasons that the Rockies won’t make the postseason in 2019. Now, he looks at the other side of the coin with a more optimistic outlook for why the Rox will make the postseason in 2019. If Daniel Murphy can bring improvements on offense to the table, if Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson can rebound and if the team can find adequate replacements for DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino, things will be looking just fine for the Rockies this season.

Time is ripe for Rockies to make some franchise defining decisions | BSN Denver ($)
Recent days have brought recent extensions for young players around the league. The Philadelphia Phillies locked up ace Aaron Nola, the New York Yankees locked up talented starting pitcher Luis Severino and the Minnesota Twins locked up a pair of position players, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. While Arenado is the obvious name in extension conversations circling the Rockies, Drew Creasman of BSN Denver suggests that the Rockies could and should use these deals as a blueprint for extending German Márquez, Freeland and Story.

Daniel Murphy’s arrival already put the Rockies lineup in focus. His influence is still pending. | The Athletic ($)
Murphy and the Rockies had a strong mutual interest in joining one another this offseason, as Nick Groke of The Athletic writes. Murphy will be tasked with replacing (and hopefully exceeding) the production of LeMahieu in 2019, even if it is at a different position.

Here’s Story on Rockies’ 2B candidates | Rockies.com
The role of second baseman appears to rest on the shoulders of Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers and Pat Valaika in 2019. Talking with MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, Story offers his thoughts on the defensive abilities of all four— and it’s high praise all around.

The Bryce, Manny stalemate and the latest on MLB free agency | ESPN
Jeff Passan of ESPN looks at the free agent market still full of Major-League caliber players, while also focusing on players that have signed extensions to forgo free agent years. Passan reports that Rockies’ co-owner Dick Monfort’s comments about being “to the finals” with Arenado were overstated, as the team is hesitant of giving their star third baseman an eighth year in a contract extension. Meanwhile, Passan also writes that the Rockies have “discussed potential long-term deals with a number of their young starters.”

Arizona/Colorado Off-Season Specials! w/ Charlie Gebow & Ben Kouchnerkavich + Sam Levitt | Painting Corners Podcast
I was recently a guest on the Painting Corners Podcast talking Rockies’ baseball and breaking down the team position-by-position for 2019. My part runs from about 28:30-49:45, though you should definitely give the entire episode a listen, especially if you want to gain insight into the Arizona Diamondbacks and their plans for 2019. We recorded this before A.J. Pollock had signed, so you’ll hear me speaking of him as a potential offensive upgrade. Mark Reynolds also hadn’t signed at this point, so there’s no mention of him. And Arenado hadn’t agreed to his arbitration deal yet. But still, there’s a lot of relevant information here!