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In search of bullpen help, if only the Rockies had... Jake McGee?

Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

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How did the Dodgers raise the ceiling with Jake McGee when the Rockies couldn’t? | The Athletic ($)
It was a volatile four-year Rockies’ career for reliever Jake McGee. He had one very good year, two very poor years and one year in which he was decent by virtue of outperforming his peripherals. Ultimately, before the 2020 season got underway, the Rockies elected to part ways with McGee and their other high-paid reliever, Bryan Shaw.

Shaw spent some time on the Seattle Mariners’ roster, but he pitched so poorly that the 11-19 squad outrighted him to their alternate site. Meanwhile, McGee caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers and there has been no reason to demote him.

As of Tuesday, McGee had an 0.90 ERA, with 15 strikeouts and no home runs allowed in 10 innings. In contrast, McGee allowed 34 home runs in 195 2/3 innings of his Rockies’ career (1.6 per nine innings). xFIP, which normalizes a pitcher’s home run rate, would suggest an ERA more like 3.01 for McGee, but either way, this has been quite a comeback for McGee early on in 2020.

The Dodgers have had the Rockies’ number as of late and turning a former Rockie into a dominant reliever is one to check off on the Bingo card to help them achieve even more success. LA has won 24 of its last 30 against the Rockies overall and 16 of the last 17 in Los Angeles.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called upon McGee after hearing the Rockies released him. Friedman oversaw McGee’s best years as a member (occasionally as a closer) of the Tampa Bay Rays. Friedman told McGee the club had “a few ideas to raise his ceiling,” according to Nick Groke and Pedro Moura of The Athletic. Those ideas led to McGee raising his average fastball velocity by 2.5 mph. It seems like getting back to the fastball has been a key for him. When he was having success in Tampa, he was throwing the fastball over 95% of the time. He got away from it in Colorado but now is again throwing the fastball over 95% of the time and the success has returned. Improved fastball location and horizontal/vertical movement have also been key to why he feels comfortable throwing it more once again.

Rockies To Sign Zac Rosscup | MLB Trade Rumors
Maybe the Rockies will have success with a former Dodgers reliever! The Rox have re-signed Zac Rosscup, who has been a journeyman over the last few years, to say the least.

The Rockies first acquired Rosscup from the Chicago Cubs in a trade for reliever Matt Carasiti in the summer of 2017. In summer 2018, the Dodgers claimed him off waivers from the Rox, then released him after the season was over. Rosscup signed on with the Mariners during the 2018-19 offseason, was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays in May 2019, was granted free agency and then signed with the Dodgers again in June 2019, was claimed by the St Louis Cardinals in July 2019 and THEN signed a minor league deal with the Rockies in February of this year. Rosscup was released by the Rockies prior to the start of the regular season but now he’s back!

In his career, Rosscup has an ERA of 5.16, with over 12 strikeouts per nine innings (that’s good!) and close to six walks per nine innings (that’s bad!). The Rockies need bullpen help and earlier this week, I suggested they go after Scott Barlow of the Kansas City Royals. Maybe Rosscup will be just what they need though!

Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors has more.

In an Expanded Postseason, Rockies Set Sights on October | Sports Illustrated
It’s been a bit of an unusual season in a bit of an unusual year. There are no crowds in Major League Baseball, meaning players can hear quite a bit from their teammates and the opposing dugout. Charlie Blackmon likes being in the outfield and how Nolan Arenado can hear him yell words of encouragement about a great play. Arenado doesn’t like hearing the other dugout chirping.

Another oddity this year—Arenado is struggling to live up to his offensive potential early in the year. This exchange from Blackmon and Arenado from a few years back, as Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated writes, gives us a good look at the yin/yang relationship of the two which could be key to getting Arenado to stay grounded.

“I know what’s wrong with your swing,” he said.

“What?” Arenado asked hungrily.

Blackmon paused. “You know what? You can’t even handle it right now, because of where you’re at emotionally, so I’m not even going to tell you. You figure it out yourself.”

Blackmon laughs when he recounts the story. There was nothing wrong with Arenado. “I just realized I’d rather him be mad at me than think about baseball all the time,” he says.