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McGregor Square is a great tribute, but the timing isn’t ideal

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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Woody Paige: Colorado Rockies trying to wish themselves into a good 2020 season | Colorado Springs Gazette

“If Bridich was a brain surgeon, Monfort never would want to be his patient.”

Woody Paige doesn’t hold back in this offseason analysis of the Rockies, with all the character of his more colorful appearances on ESPN’s Around The Horn. Paige calls the signings of Davis, Desmond, McGee, Shaw and Murphy as Jeff Bridich’s “free-agent busts” covering five of the eight highest payroll slots on the team. It widely restricts any spending for 2020, other than the already-allotted spending on the new McGregor Square development across 20th Street.

The loss of Keli McGregor in 2010 was devastating. Arguably the darkest days in Rockies history followed: zero playoff appearances for seven consecutive seasons (including 2010), and a near 100-loss season in 2012. It is a tremendous tribute by the Rockies to name McGregor Square after him, but it’s too bad the construction is taking place amidst a period where next to no money can go to free agent spending. Yes, the building is independent of team payroll, but in the spirit of honoring McGregor and the good he brought the Rockies up until his death, it really is unfortunate to see a new development with his name on it getting bashed in the capacity Paige talks about it. The team has shown little money to spend elsewhere.

Poor general manger decisions can easily be dismissed by simply declaring player performance as unpredictable. Wade Davis, for example, was once one of the best relievers in baseball; his pre-Colorado seasons certainly didn't predict his Rockies tenure. If the five aforementioned signings are indeed recognized as busts, it begins to reason unpredictable player forecasting more as a predictable cycle of instability, rather than occasional misfortune of one or two signings that didn’t quite work out. If it weren’t for MLB Wild Card expansion in 2012, the Rockies would be in a 10-year playoff drought—that cycle of instability could top the list of why.

Keli McGregor certainly showed himself as a formidable leader after a 2007 National League pennant and 2009 Wild Card berth. The team was heading in a strong direction in the late 2000’s with reason to believe so; McGregor surely wasn’t the only one to set that direction, but there was a clear shift in direction right around his death that hadn’t righted itself until seven years later.

Paige brings up a great point about a potential Arenado trade: if all the Rockies got for Troy Tulowitzki were a few pitchers and a “washed-up domestic abuser” in Jose Reyes, there undoubtedly is a degree of anxiety involved with the potential return for a different premier player. Bringing in a player with a history of domestic violence broke the Monfort attitude of family-friendly, good-standing characters within the Rockies: Jose Reyes took the place of one of the most notable Rockies ever.

McGregor Square is set to open in 2021. Another offseason will be upon us before it officially opens, so there might actually be some spending before its’ completion.

Luhnow, Hinch suspended for ‘20, then are let go |

This isn’t a Rockies headline, but is far too big of a baseball headline to disregard. A manager and GM are let go in Houston, and with current Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s involvement as Houston’s bench coach in 2017, sources say his punishment is impending. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred put the hammer down in an act to prevent the practice of sign stealing—the 2020 batting statistics may be the indicator on how widespread the practice of sign stealing has actually grown.

We can only hope the Red Sox championship in 2018 wasn’t tainted by sign stealing quite like the 2017 Astros. The impending punishment of Alex Cora might detail that further.

How Veronica Kahnle’s work as mental health counselor helps her husband, Yankee Tommy Kahnle, maintain perspective: ‘I’m just getting an out’ | The Athletic ($)

Former Rockie and current Yankee Tommy Kahnle and his wife Veronica tell a heartwarming story about the behind-the-scenes of a professional baseball journey. Kahnle’s wife works as a mental health counselor, and given the rigors of her profession, is there for her husband at an unbelievably high level. This writeup is an uplifting read that helps put things into perspective for anybody.

These are baseball’s best defensive prospects |

Yonathan Daza gets some love on this list, as 44 career appearances in a big league uniform label him still as a prospect. His 97 at-bats in the big leagues aren’t a particularly large sample size for offensive numbers, but across all professional levels, Daza has shown particularly well with a glove on his hand. He suited up in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, spent the majority of 2019 in Triple-A, and has slashed .206/.257/.237 at the big league level.