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Maybe not making a big-splash signing will have a silver and purple lining

Colorado Rockies news and links for Friday, December 9, 2022

Despite the big signings by the Rangers, Yankees, Padres, Mets, Phillies, and others that you may have heard about over the last few weeks, there are big names coming to the Mile High City in 2023.

Aaron Judge.

Shohei Ohtani.

Mike Trout.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Yordan Alvarez.

José Ramírez.

Bo Bichette.

Julio Rodríguez.

They will on be on display at Coors Field throughout the season. It just won’t be on the Rockies; they will be playing against Colorado. Thanks to MLB’s new balanced schedule, every team is going to play every team in both locations. While this is a win for baseball fans across America and Canada, it turns out it might be bad news for Rockies fans hoping the front office will make a big (or medium-sized) free agent signing or trade.

The Rockies finished as the eighth-worst team in MLB, but ninth-best in attendance — behind eight playoff teams. Just imagine the bump in ticket sales the Rockies will get when they host teams like the Yankees, the Blue Jays, and the Angels.

As we reflect on the nothingness of the Rockies at MLB Winter Meetings, it can be hard to imagine how they can choose inaction after losing 94 games in 2022. On the other hand, why would Colorado sign Cody Bellinger or Brandon Nimmo when Judge and Ohtani are coming to town anyway?

Picture being in Ms. Frizzle’s class and jumping into the Magic School Bus for a field trip into the brain of the Rockies front office. Forming a hypothesis of seeing attendance projections over calculating competitive offers for Bellinger, or a starting pitcher, or even just keeping one of their own in Carlos Estévez, isn’t illogical.

With a strong history of doing nothing, it’s no surprise Rockies fans were wise to temper expectations and look to the Rule 5 Draft for the only transactions. With a history of signings like the “Super Bullpen” of Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee, Ian Desmond, and Daniel Murphy just to name a few, is it so bad to have nothing? It could be worse.

Plus, it is worse when you remember that Nolan Arenado will be the second-highest-paid player on the Rockies payroll at $16 million in 2023.

In fact, an uneventful venture at Winter Meetings could be a sign that the Rockies are learning lessons. Maybe they have learned that the damage of a bad long-term deal is worse than no deal at all. Outside of the money and bad performance on the field, it also creates a blockage of future talent. The Rockies have long prioritized aging veterans over prospects, who need at-bats and game experience to have a chance to fulfill their potential.

Right now, the Rockies have a log jam at first and third base. They re-signed C.J. Cron to a two-year deal after the 2021 season, knowing full well that Michael Toglia and Elehuris Montero were coming up the ranks. They inked Ryan McMahon to a six-year, $70 million while he was still under team control and before knowing if he was the third baseman of the future. (Side note, I hope he is, but McMahon hasn’t yet lived up to the contract.) Instead of trading Cron to open a corner infield spot, the Rockies made a trade for another third baseman in Nolan Jones in November. At least the Rockies didn’t sign another first baseman at the Winter Meetings. When looking at that slate, doing nothing could be better than the Rockies doing something.

By backing out of the Nimmo sweepstakes, even before he signed an eight-year, $162 million deal with the Mets, it looks like the Rockies have wised up and aren’t eager to dish out long-term deals. Even though the rumors were swirling about Nimmo and now may start with Bryan Reynolds as center field options, it would be a grave mistake to bring someone who wants multiple years when the Zac Veen dream could begin soon.

Some fans might have been bummed when Bellinger signed with the Cubs, but he hit .210 with 19 homers in 2022. Randal Grichuk hit .259 with 19 homers. Until Bellinger returns to MVP form, I will take Grichuk all day. Plus, he’s half the price and his contract is up after 2023. In this case, inaction is better than action.

The Rockies gave Charlie Blackmon a six-year, $108 million deal when he was 31 years old. That deal looked good in 2018, but not as good going into the final year. Last offseason, the Rockies signed 30-year-old Kris Bryant to a seven-year, $182 million deal. That’s a lot of money. Bryant could still be worth that money, but after playing 42 games for $18 million in 2022, it’s not off to a good start.

Maybe not making a big-splash signing will have a purple and silver lining. Then again, there are 111 days until Opening Day. That’s a lot of time to make some bad decisions. It might be best to keep rolling with nothing.

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Rockies predicted to win NL West in 2023 — according to a virtual marble race on Reddit | Denver Post ($)

At least the Rockies can win the NL West somewhere — even if it is on Reddit in a virtual marble race. As Joe Nguyen writes, Reddit user trollinacage started a simulation on Nov. 12 with all 30 MLB teams. On Wednesday, the Rockies were one of five teams left, but they finished fourth on Thursday with a 98-64 record, earning the third seed in the NL playoffs. Can you imagine that world? As Nguyen points out, the Rockies odds of winning the World Series are +10,000 and they started the offseason at +8,000. They may not be headed in the right direction in reality, but when it comes to virtual marbles, it’s great.

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