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The homegrown stars ready to lead the Colorado Rockies

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Rockies news and links for February 28, 2019

In next era of Rockies baseball, Nolan Arenado’s buying and Kyle Freeland’s driving | The Gazette

The Colorado Rockies look to have the nucleus for their contender now that Nolan Arenado is signed to a multi-year contract. As Paul Klee points out in this article, Arenado joins Kyle Freeland to form a pair of homegrown star players who are the faces of the franchise.

Klee makes interesting points about how the Rockies have always been known for their loyalty. That was to their detriment in some cases, but now it serves them well as they have developed a deep and talented farm system. In Arenado’s specific case, it positioned them to pony up a mega contract offer when other owners and teams are shying away from such deals.

There are also notes in here about Arenado’s stated desire to spend his career with one franchise. The caveat, of course, will be that team must consistently reach the playoffs. Hopefully the Rockies force Arenado to be a man of his word with strong showings and maybe even a division title in the next three seasons.

Nolan Arenado Would Rather Lead the Rockies Than Test the Market | New York Times

There is the lingering question of the current state of free agency and how that affected Arenado’s decision to sign this contract, but as Tyler Kepner notes in this piece, the Rockies’ superstar insists that didn’t motivate him here.

Arenado insists he “wasn’t afraid of free agency.” With the deal Manny Machado recently signed, that sentiment is more believable. But I still bet he was a little scared of free agency, or at least his representation was. This article also provides another example of how Arenado has us all singing his praise and envisioning the glory days ahead now that we don’t have to worry about him leaving.

One other point: in this article, owner Dick Monfort is quoted as saying, “We can operate on an A.A.V. with anybody.” He’s referring to average annual value. We’ve all been on quite the journey with Monfort, but can we all agree the days of calling him cheap are well behind us?

Know your enemy: Colorado Rockies | Bleed Cubbie Blue

With respect to our colleagues at SB Nation’s Chicago Cubs site, this article is an exercise in how stats can mislead on the state of a team. The thrust of this rundown of the Rockies by Al Yellon is that the Rockies offense is good and back for 2019 and that pitching was a struggle last year. I don’t imagine many readers here would agree with that, even with some raw statistics pointing analysis in that direction. At least it seems like the Rockies front office finally came around to seeing that this wasn’t so.

Yellon does note the young talent the Rockies have on the pitching side, and he points out the history the Rockies and Cubs now share because of that crazy Wild Card game. Here’s hoping there are more fun, meaningful games to come, naturally as the Rockies work their way towards a division title.

Blackmon doubles in 2 in Cactus League debut | MLB.com

Charlie Blackmon wasn’t the only one to have an impact in Wednesday’s Cactus League action against the Los Angeles Angels. Trevor Story launched a two-run home run.

German Márquez made his debut in this game in what might be called a typical first game of Spring Training. On the negative side, a couple pitchers competing for bullpen spots struggled. Jeff Hoffman had an especially ugly showing, allowing four earned runs with a couple walks over two innings. His command was spotty and he left too many pitches up.

Carlos Estévez followed that up with a three-walk showing. There’s a long way to go, but the Rockies will be hoping for more from those two electric arms as they piece together their bullpen. Speaking of electric arms, Scott Oberg pitched in this game and looked great.

Sources: MLB prepared to ditch clock until 2022 | ESPN

The league is dealing with pace of play issues. We all know that. What strikes me about this report from Jeff Passan is the way that the pitch clock is connected to other collective bargaining issues. MLB has reportedly agreed to kick the pitch clock can down the road as part of a proposal to implement a three-hitter minimum for relievers and roster size changes sooner than that. Not only that, but all of those pace of play negotiations are connected to the players’ collective concern about the state of free agency.

Passan details other proposals from the league, but it’s just one more reminder: labor strife is coming.

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Finally, Purple Row’s Eric Garcia McKinley was on SB Nation Radio to talk about, among other things, Arenado’s shiny new contract. You can listen to it right here.