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Jeff Bridich has a plan to repair his relationship with Nolan Arenado

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Rockies news and links for Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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Rockies GM Jeff Bridich “working to right the ship” regarding Nolan Arenado rift | Denver Post ($)

Jeff Bridich finally had to answer some questions on Tuesday, and he didn’t go with “No comment. Next question,” for all of his responses! Here’s what we learned:

Has he taken time to sit down and talk with Nolan Arenado about the whole situation?

No. They’ve seen each other. They just haven’t talked.

How will he repair his relationship with Nolan Arenado?

Through communication.

Yes, this is going well so far.

Four quotes from the Colorado Rockies first full-team workout | Rox Pile

Nolan thinks it’s surprising that everyone is talking about him because Nolan clearly doesn’t pay much attention to sports media, nor does he read this blog. Also, he believes in his teammates.

Charlie Blackmon thinks the Rockies aren’t a fun team. Dude, I get it. I’m not fun either.

Bud Black thinks this team is different from last year’s team, even though they’re the same as last year’s team.

I think that’s only three quotes, so I guess maybe they were counting Nolan twice.

Rockies spring training guide: 5 key issues Colorado faces in 2020, starting with the Nolan Arenado fallout | The Athletic ($)

Nick Groke of The Athletic suggests the Rockies must answer these questions in 2020:

How would they replace Nolan Arenado?

If Nolan were traded, who would play third? Options include Colton Welker (a 22-year-old prospect who’s been taking reps at third), Josh Fuentes (who thinks he’s better than Nolan, and also did you know he’s Nolan’s cousin?) and Ryan McMahon (current second baseman).

Will Jeff Bridich survive?

Yes.

But will he still be the Rockies’ GM?

Also yes.

Will Monfort take control?

It kind of seems like he’s in control right now.

Who will pitch for this team?

Jon Gray, Germán Márquez, Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman and Chi Chi González (one as a long reliever). Tim Melville has a broken rib, and Peter Lambert has options. At least to begin the season, this one isn’t really a question.

How will they juice the offense?

Planning a lineup is kind of fun. The top four seem obvious, though the order could change:

Charlie Blackmon

Trevor Story

David Dahl

Nolan Arenado

And then what happens? A logical conclusion is that the bottom of the order will include some lefties. I’m guessing it will go something like this:

Daniel Murphy

Ryan McMahon

Raimel Tapia

Tony Wolters

A pitcher

Notes: Wolters fine-tuning; Vilade learns outfield | MLB.com

Let me tell you a little story about Spring Training 2019.

I was watching some of the Rockies pitchers practice before a Spring Training game while the non-starters hit on the opposite field. I wasn’t really paying attention to the guys who were hitting, but a couple of times I heard some solid hits and looked over. The guy seemed locked in — line drives every time, generally hard-hit balls. After the second or third time thinking, “Wow, that guy is hitting really well. Wonder who that is,” I decided that there was actually an easy way to answer this question, and I walked the 10 feet to the other field to see who was hitting.

It was Tony Wolters.

I’m not kidding. I walked away thinking, “If Tony Wolters hits the ball that well during the regular season, the Rockies are going to be in really good shape this year.”

So at least I had it half right.

Anyway, Tony Wolters is a very good defensive catcher who works well with his pitchers. While it would be great if he could put up very good offensive numbers in addition to his very good defensive abilities, let’s be real: Catcher is one of those positions where you often get one or the other. With Wolters, it’s defense, but honestly, I think he’s better than the offensive numbers he put up last year.

I know a lot of you want more offense and power out of your catcher, and I get that. But personally, I will always be partial to good defensive catchers.

Sam Hilliard’s power has Rockies excited about his potential | Denver Post ($)

Sam Hilliard was a bright spot at the end of last season. Unfortunately, he’s also a left-handed outfielder on a team that already has four everyday outfielders (plus one Garrett Hampson), three of whom hit lefty. As much as we’d all like to see Hilliard on the Opening Day roster, he has a real uphill battle this spring.

Rockies Kyle Freeland Looking For Bounce Back Season In 2020 | CBS4

Yeesh, did you remember that Kyle Freeland only had 3 wins in 2019? I had somehow erased that from my memory.

Anyway, Kyle Freeland is looking to rebound after a 3-win season in 2019. He’s revamped his motion, which is interesting since I remember him saying that before the 2019 season as well. We’ll hope for a bounce-back revamp.

Freeland’s revamp largely focuses on his leg pause, which he says he couldn’t replicate reliably. Now without the pause, he says his delivery and his arm slot are more consistent, which should theoretically make him more difficult to hit.

OK. But Marcus Stroman, though ...

No choice but to hope for “super bullpen” bounce back | Rox Pile

Hey, it turns out the entire bullpen is also looking to bounce back after a poor 2019. I’m willing to bet Antonio Senzatela is also looking to bounce back, and Jon Gray and Germán Márquez are probably looking to bounce back from injuries as well. Peter Lambert is probably also hoping to bounce back to his form in those couple of starts against Chicago.

Side note: Is the opposite of a bounce-back season a bounce-forward season?

Let’s all hope the entire Rockies pitching staff does a lot of bouncing this season, ideally in a back (and not forward?) sort of way.

Breakout candidates for every club in 2020 | MLB.com

This article includes thoughtful picks such as Joey Gallo and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Rockies’ breakout candidate?

David Dahl. All-Star David Dahl.

I’m going to politely suggest that perhaps this article was not very well researched. Or edited.

Is Baseball Facing Identity Crisis With Star Players? | Pressbox

Let’s take a George Washington moment.

Feel free to skip ahead if you don’t feel like being real a second.

Look, MLB has been pretty clear about its identity. It’s fought to be exempt from minimum wage laws for minor leaguers. It’s been involved with human trafficking. It’s negotiated questionable deals with teenagers in the Caribbean and Latin America. It’s kept deserving players in the minors longer just to ensure teams have financial control over them for an extra year. It’s allowed closed-door deals to approve new fields as part of billion-dollar complexes that divide fans based on race and class. It’s allowed trades to put domestic abusers on World Series teams and sheltered players accused of domestic violence and coaches accused of covering it up.

Baseball doesn’t have an identity crisis. It’s always been about the money. But as fans, we love the game, and we love the players, so it’s hard to accept the identity of the broader establishment.

★ ★ ★

Let’s end on a fun note. Join me in choosing your realignment alignment, won’t you?

Poll

Which MLB expansion/realignment scenario are you?

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  • 22%
    Lawful Good
    (40 votes)
  • 7%
    Lawful Neutral
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    Lawful Evil
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  • 14%
    Neutral Good
    (25 votes)
  • 14%
    True Neutral
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    Neutral Evil
    (3 votes)
  • 7%
    Chaotic Good
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    Chaotic Neutral
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  • 9%
    All of the above
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177 votes total Vote Now