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Jon Gray looks good so far in Spring Training

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Rockies news and links for March 7, 2019

Jon Gray off to strong spring start | MLB.com

When it comes to following Spring Training games, it’s more about individual results and position battles than it is the Colorado Rockies’ record or the final score on a given day. So it is that the Rockies lost 6-5 to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, a game which I watched part of, and I still had to look up the final score.

The reason is because I was mostly focused on how Jon Gray looked in his start. And he looked great. Thomas Harding notes in this report from Arizona that Gray caught an issue with cross-firing in his delivery and made the necessary adjustment en route to striking out five batters over four scoreless innings.

The Rockies need to see Gray continue to show the ability to make those adjustments. If he can do so over the course of the season, it lends the rotation some serious upside considering Gray now slots in as the number three starter.

Also Nolan Arenado did this:

Rosenthal: Tense moments, heart-to-hearts and Mr. October — inside Nolan Arenado’s record-setting deal | The Athletic ($)

There is a lot of honesty in this article from the perspectives of Arenado and the Colorado Rockies. For my part, I have thought for a while now that Arenado would eventually sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent rather than take any action before he actually hit the open market. And to be clear, Arenado didn’t sign with the Rockies because that or another scenario would be impossible. He signed because he had to do what was best for him.

That is just one of a number of interesting insights from this Ken Rosenthal piece on how the Rockies and Arenado arrived at the eight-year contract that the third baseman signed last week. But as this details the back and forth and the ins and outs of how Arenado ended up signing the deal, perhaps this is the most important detail: he wanted to stay with the Rockies for the long term.

This article contains plenty of the usual negotiating you might expect from agent and team, but ultimately I came away feeling pretty darn good about Rockies management and Arenado (and even his agent).

Kyle Freeland Has a New Trick Up His Sleeve | FanGraphs

As noted previously at various points on this site and others, Kyle Freeland will need to be one step ahead of his competition to continue his dominance from 2018. The young lefty is open about what he has to do in order to continue his success. For example, he talks to David Laurilia here about how there’s likely “a book” on him in left-on-left match-ups and what he is doing about it.

The takeaway in this case, as is so often the case with Freeland, is that it feels like he has the approach and the mindset to be one step ahead and stick at the top of the rotation. In this case, he talks about how he can approach left-handed hitters and keep them off balance as compared to what he has done previously. Freeland and catcher Chris Iannetta offer interesting insight here on how they approach hitters.

Colorado Rockies tell the best qualities they see in a teammate | Rox Pile

This is a great piece from Kevin Henry, but what is perhaps the most noteworthy is how quickly Charlie Blackmon makes a point of mentioning the great teammate that DJ LeMahieu was in his time with the Rockies.

This is another good reminder to pause and think of what DJ meant to this era for the Rockies and the actual individuals who will now lead the team in the seasons to come. Talent and upside and those words are one thing, but those soft factors that play in the locker room are another. The Rockies have plenty of leadership, it seems, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t losses in that area either.