All Novembers are marked by a wait-and-see feel when it comes to baseball. This November feels a little more ominous — a lockout looming, uncertainty with a new Rockies front office, and the Jon Gray deal enigma.
As we all start to settle into the final 20 days before the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire, I thought it would be good to take a look at the schedule to know what’s coming.
Free agent day on Nov. 7 officially put Trevor Story and Jon Gray on the market. After Ryan McMahon lost out to Nolan Arenado for the third base Gold Glove and Max Fried edged out Germán Márquez for the pitching Silver Slugger, the last one to ever be awarded if the universal DH becomes a reality, the Rockies are done in awards season.
Nov. 15: The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot will be released, igniting another “Elect Todd” campaign, which could go better now that Larry Walker has broken the Coors Field barrier to entry.
Nov. 17: The qualifying offer deadline. Free agents must accept or decline. In other words, in five days, the Rockies will know if they have Story for one more year on an $18.4 million deal or if they will be getting a compensation draft pick for their loss. Then the search for the next shortstop begins in earnest.
Nov. 19: In order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, eligible minor leaguers need to be placed on the 40-man roster of their respective teams. The Rockies currently have six players in the organization’s top-30 prospects who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, beginning with Colorado’s only top-100 eligible prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, LHP Ryan Rolison (No. 2 PuRP). The remaining five consist of exciting possible shortstop of the future Ezequiel Tovar (No. 12 PuRP), promising catcher and current Arizona Fall League River Rafter Willie MacIver (No. 22 PuRP), outfielder who made a slash in Spring Training and came to the Rockies in the Jeff Hoffman trade Jameson Hannah (No. 23 PuRP), infielder Eddy Diaz (No. 27 PuRP), a speedster who started the season in High-A Spokane, but struggled and went down to Low-A Fresno, and RHP Noah Davis (No. 28 PuRP), who the Rockies got when they traded Mychal Givens to the Reds at the trade deadline. The Rockies currently have 35 players on the 40-man roster, but that could change before Nov. 19.
Dec. 1: Non-tender deadline. The Rockies will need to offer contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players. If contracts are not offered, then those players become free agents. The Rockies have 11 pre-arb players: Austin Gomber, Sam Hilliard, Peter Lambert, Brendan Rodgers, Yonathan Daza, Dom Nuñez, Lucas Gilbreath, Connor Joe, Jordan Sheffield, Alan Trejo, and Ben Bowden. Eight more players are arbitration-eligible: Kyle Freeland, Daniel Bard, Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia, Carlos Estévez, Robert Stephenson, Garrett Hampson, and Tyler Kinley. For more details on the arbitration process, read this article by Purple Row’s Kenneth Weber.
Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m.: The current CBA will expire. While MLB and MLBPA are currently negotiating and GMs report that they are treating this offseason like business as usual, there is wide speculation that the first lockout since 1994-95 is coming. If a new deal is made, then the offseason will proceed as usual with the Winter Meetings set for Dec. 6-9. This will be Bill Schmidt’s first Winter Meetings as the Rockies GM and he’ll want to make a good impression. If a new deal is not made, the baseball world will freeze and we’ll be hoping for a resolution that doesn’t postpone Spring Training or the Rockies season opener at Dodger Stadium on March 31. For more details on the negotiations, check out another article by Kenneth Weber.
Do you think the MLB and the players come to a new deal before 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1 to avoid a lockout?
This poll is closed
No. We are headed for a lockdown.
Yes. Neither side can afford a work stoppage.
Maybe, but there is reason to be optimistic with this much time left.
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The Rockies made two appearances on this list. Let’s focus on the good one first. Justin Lawrence was a Yo-Yo in 2021, getting called up to the Rockies five times. The 26-year-old righty is one of 15 pitchers to make the cut on the list of nastiest pitches in 2021, according to Statcast. Lawrence’s pitch from April 29 against Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar puts him in good company with the likes of Jacob deGrom, Shohei Ohtani, Gerrit Cole, Dustin May, Zack Greinke, Corbin Burnes, and Clayton Kershaw to name a few. With Escobar down 0-2 and runners on the corners, Lawrence unleashed a 101.2-mph sinker that Escobar couldn’t have reached with Go-Go Gadget arms or caught up with a time machine. The pitch was impossible to hit and lay off of, breaking 19.2 inches.
Justin Lawrence strikes out Eduardo Escobar— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) April 30, 2021
First Major League strikeout
101 MPH pic.twitter.com/0SYd5LPpuI
That pitch was not only Lawrence’s first MLB strikeout, but also the only strikeout pitch that was triple digits and broke this much in all of baseball in the 2021 season.
On the downside, former Rockie Matt Adams was on the receiving end of a slider that broke two feet from Pittsburgh’s Kyle Crick. It broke from right to left and ended up hitting Adams in the leg, despite a partial swing that struck him out first.
As Rockies GM, Bill Schmidt has to mend the team from within — then he can find a shortstop | The Athletic ($)
Bill Schmidt is taking part in his first GM meetings and Nick Groke is in Carlsbad, Calif. to cover it. If you are still feeling iffy about Schmidt and frustrated the Rockies didn’t have a real GM search this offseason, this might make you feel a little better. Groke covers how many people in the baseball world, specifically at these meetings and in front offices around the league, know Schmidt. He’s been a scout for a long time dating back to his days in Cleveland. Groke’s quotes from Schmidt reveal that he’s been more focused on staffing the front office before going after free agents, saying, “First and foremost, we needed the process of getting our staff in place. And then see what happens.” This article also fairly acknowledges the challenging shoes that Schmidt has been forced into in his first year at the helm.
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On the Farm: Arizona Fall League Edition
Michael Toglia (No. 4 PuRP) went 2-for-6 with one run scored and Ryan Vilade (No. 10 PuRP) added one single and one RBI to lead the Rockies contingency in a shootout where the Rafters came up a little short. Ezequiel Tovar (No. 12 PuRP) went hitless in five at-bats. RHP Jake Bird gave up two runs, giving up four hits with one walk and two strikeouts in two innings (third and fourth innings). LHP Reagan Todd entered in the fifth inning, giving up one run on one hit with two walks, but he did manage to strike out the side.
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