This piece from Nick Groke about Kyle Freeland provides an interesting look at how the Rockies lefty is working his way back during his stint in Triple-A. It also provides some clarity about those ugly box scores: Freeland was pitching in certain games with specific directions to not throw his slider and ignore the results.
We didn’t know that, of course, so it was hard not to be concerned as he got shelled by minor league hitters. Another issue Freeland is working on is commanding his stuff to both sides of the plate. Besides the fact he was throwing a lot of fat pitches, Groke notes that hitters were able to cheat because Freeland “lost the touch to his arm side.”
There’s more in this great piece about how Freeland is trying to recapture the flexibility and adaptability that made him great just one season ago. Can he pull that off in time to help for another playoff run? That might be a tall order, and whether he can or not might steer the Rockies in one direction or another when it comes to the other moves they might make.
Speaking of which, Thomas Harding takes a look here at the potential trades the Rockies might try to make. It’s not really in this franchise’s DNA to make splashy trades, especially not mid-season. And it seems reasonable to think they shouldn’t this season since they are way out of the division race and in quite the cluster for a wild card spot.
Harding looks at Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman as potential targets. He also takes a reasonable look at the potential cost for those names, a list that includes top prospects all the way up to the very top with Brendan Rodgers. I would bet that the Rockies err on the side of standing pat, but I would also hope they give their front office a reason to be aggressive with a hot start to the second half.
There is trouble on the horizon when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires in 2021. We probably could have guessed that anyway, but the issues were really magnified in the recent issues in free agency.
Stephanie Apstein highlights a problem that is interesting and also potentially grim: the players don’t always know the issues at hand, and they can’t always agree on what they need. They only know that they need a better deal; they just don’t necessarily know what that looks like.
That lack of a unified front, whatever the reasons, is what makes it easier for the owners to strong-arm them. And unless the players can somehow mitigate those challenges, we might be headed for a big problem in a couple years.
It can be easy to lose perspective with prospects because we are always looking for upside. For example, Jeffrey Paternostro notes here that Double-A closer Ben Bowden is fine and will be in the middle of a big league bullpen someday. That hardly seems glowing, until you think of it this way: imagine what the current Rockies would give for a couple reliable arms in the middle of the bullpen. So yea, keep up the good work, Ben!
On the farm
Yonathan Daza earned himself a nice highlight in the Triple-A All-Star game on Wednesday with an RBI triple.
4 cross the plate for the PCL in the 2nd, highlighted by Yonathan Daza's RBI triple!— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 11, 2019
Check out the Triple-A All-Star Game right now on MLB Network. pic.twitter.com/UjMdHzrNYh