We have arrived. By day’s end, we’ll have a box score to look at, something other than Nolan Arenado trade rumors to discuss, and a longing to make it to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick if we aren’t already in Phoenix.
Colorado Rockies action in the Cactus League is finally off and running. Jeff Hoffman will throw the first pitch of the spring around 1:10 p.m. Mountain, and you can listen to it on 850 KOA.
As has become customary since the opening of Salt River Fields in 2011, both the ‘home’ teams will kick off their Spring Training schedule by playing each other. Colorado will be the home team this afternoon. The Rockies claim the first base dugout at Coors Field and the Diamondbacks take third base at Chase Field; they maintain those respective dugouts at their shared spring home.
(Arizona actually opened up against some college teams for a few years, but the first ‘MLB vs. MLB’ game in the spring has usually featured the two since the park opening)
It is common for everyday big leaguers to play less innings in the spring than they do in the regular season, for understandable reasons. Later innings bring opportunity for younger guys with less experience. This can be especially true in early Spring Training. For the prospect-savvy fan, today’s game will likely feature plenty of minor league prospects—maybe even more than a typical Cactus League game.
For the less-than-prospect-savvy, today’s game can act as a great first impression to see lots of guys—maybe even some dudes wearing hockey numbers after the seventh inning or so.
Elsewhere in the NL West, the Giants play host to the Dodgers at Scottsdale Stadium. The Padres and Mariners share the Peoria Sports Complex on the west side of Phoenix, and will face each other today. Both games start around the same time the Rockies and Diamondbacks do.
Daniel Bard and Ubaldo Jimenez are walking examples of perseverance. Jimenez has been out of the league for two years, Bard for seven. Both are vying for continued pitching opportunities. Both will showcase their prowess this spring to continue those chances.
Patrick Saunders does this writeup on the two. While Twitter may be quick to question these player signings by the Rockies, none should dispute the love for the game of a person fighting to keep their dream alive.
There’s been two Winter Olympics since Bard last threw in the bigs. There’s some fight.
Here’s some more details about the right-hander Bard. He’s signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp this spring.
Colorado signed left-hander Zac Rosscup to a minor league deal without a big league camp invite a few weeks ago. We’re left to decide what the deciding factor was in giving Bard the big league invite after a seven-year absence. Rosscup recorded his second-most MLB innings last year.
If Bard can do this again, however, the Rockies might be onto something:
Daniel Bard might attempt a comeback! Dude used to throw 99 mph whiffle balls pic.twitter.com/rRiVKRhZYe— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) February 17, 2020
Our very own Ben Kouchnerkavich points out how Yasiel Puig is set to receive an estimated $8 million on a one-year deal this year, according to MLB Trade Rumors. This would make him the eighth highest Rockie on the payroll.
The Chicago White Sox are reportedly interested as well. They acquired Yasmani Grandal this offseason, suggesting they are in tune with making a push more than they have in recent years. If expensive acquisition serves as any indication, they’re on the ‘progressing’ side of things, rather than the ‘digressing’.
If Colorado is to vie for the ‘progressing’ side, a deal like this would show favorably, like they’re doing something forceful to contend. They are currently working to progress toward a Dick Monfort projection of 94 wins with no guaranteed free-agent spending this winter. Puig would break the spell of the anti-spending offseason, at least for one player.