The Cleveland Indians were looking for another outfielder to add to their roster, and on Saturday evening they found their man. Well, our man, I should say... Mandy Bell of MLB.com writes that the Indians have reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with none other than former all-time Rockies great, Carlos González. Yes, CarGo’s tenure with Colorado has officially come to an end.
Sources close to the Indians say CarGo’s deal is worth $2M if he makes the big league club with $1M in incentives. For that price tag, it almost makes em wish the Rockies brought Carlos back, but that would of course mean Raimel Tapia’s time with the club would surely be over. González’s contract with Cleveland is probably best for everyone involved, but it is still difficult to stomach not seeing CarGo finish his career in purple pinstripes.
What is your favorite memory of Carlos González? There are endless highlights to choose from—diving catches, monstrous home runs, and lots of smiles in the dugout and clubhouse. My favorite is a classic, and I’ll just leave it here for everyone to appreciate. Holy cow, what a beautiful swing. I mean it’s a work of art:
Also on Saturday, the Rockies made six more cuts to their Spring Training roster, and Thomas Harding has the details on the biggest name included—Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers is the Rockies no. 1 prospect, and no. 10 overall in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, and had the opportunity to compete for the second base job entering camp.
Rodgers has made strides since this time last year, particularly with his plate discipline. In 49 spring ABs last season, he struck out 13 times. This year, in 36 ABs, he has struck out only three times. However, Rodgers is only slashing .222/.275/.250, and with Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and even Pat Valaika swinging smoking hat bats, Brendan rightfully finds himself as the odd man out. That’s probably the best outcome, as Rodgers can spend time in Triple-A working on his swing while Bud Black rides the hot bats.
Kyle Newman of the Post has his latest Opening Day roster projection in the wake of more Spring Training roster cuts. Not a lot has changed, honestly. The biggest spot up for grabs is likely between veteran Mark Reynolds and off-again-on-again slugger Pat Valaika for a bench role, but with some injuries to the bullpen—specifically Chris Rusin and Antonio Senzatela—Kyle is projecting that Harrison Musgrave and DJ Johnson will make the club.
Like Matt Kelley of MLB.com points out, Spring Training stats “should never be taken seriously.” That being said, Ryan McMahon is having a seriously awesome spring, and that is why he finds himself on Matt’s list of breakout performances that shouldn’t be ignored.
Entering Saturday’s action, Ryan was slashing an eye-popping .462/.511/.821 in 39 at-bats. His league-leading 1.332 OPS isn’t sustainable over the course of a season, of course, but it just goes to show the kind of potential Ryan has and the incredible impact he can make with his bat. He has serious power, as half of his 18 total hits have gone for extra bases. Ryan has also walked four times to only five strikeouts, and is showing all of the best attributes of the most talented hitters. The starting second base job should be his for the taking.
On the other side of the coin, there have been some Spring Training performances that have been, let’s say, less than stellar. Aaron Hurt of Rox Pile writes about the Rockies who have been struggling this spring and what it might mean for the upcoming season—if it really means anything, of course. It’s a fair question, though, as the Rockies are coming off one of their worst statistical offensive seasons and find themselves in the bottom third of baseball in most major offensive categories so far.
I think, more than anything, it’s a concern rooted in the cultural consciousness of the Rockies community. We have shared trauma from last season, and we are unfairly looking for reasons to be worried. Yes, the fact that our catchers haven’t changed, that Ian Desmond is still in the core of this lineup, and Daniel Murphy was the only worthwhile addition this offseason are all viable concerns... but I’d stop short at caring about poor Spring Training performances.
Peter Lambert is 21 years old. He is pitching for a major league baseball team in Spring Training (very successfully, I might add), is their top pitching prospect, can barely buy a beer, and is coming off a season where he pitched against opponents in Triple-A that were on average almost six years older than him. He looks like a teenager, but he’s capable of embarrassing major league hitters, nonetheless.
As Nick Groke reports in this in-depth piece, Lambert will pitch five innings against Kansas City this Friday before being sent back down to start the year in Albuquerque again, but it shouldn’t be for long. Peter is ready to breakthrough, and is the next in a recent line of home grown pitching talent for the Rockies looking to squelch the Coors Field narrative.
In fact, he is on the bubble as far as pitchers who could be called up to make an impact this year. If the injury bug were to strike, Lambert would find himself in the same tier as Jeff Hoffman and Antonio Senzatela as possible call-ups, according to Groke. The Rockies have one of the best, young pitching cores in all of baseball, and if Peter joins them, that won’t be changing anytime soon.
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P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Hope you all love awkwardly green uniforms as much as I do!