Back in December during the first month of the lockout, I posted my “free agent Christmas wishlist.” It was a short list of free agents I wanted the Colorado Rockies and general manager Bill Schmidt to target once the lockout ended and baseball activities resumed. Well, the lockout is over and we’re a full week into spring training... so how did I do?
Short answer: not great, but could have been worse! The long answer is that—of the five players I selected—only one of my choices landed. Let’s take a look at which free agents I coveted back in December and where they ended up!
Trevor Story, Shortstop
Let’s tear this band-aid off right away. Trevor Story did not return to the Rockies after hitting free agency, despite the team making a genuine effort to retain his services. The Athletic’s Nick Groke wrote that the Rockies had reached out to Story one last time before pulling the trigger on the Kris Bryant signing. They even offered him more money than his eventual landing spot to no avail. Trevor Story is gone.
It was reported on Sunday that Story had reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox for six years and $140 million. Story has an opt-out after year four, with a seventh year player worth $120 million. Story will be playing second base for the Red Sox while Xander Bogaerts continues to play shortstop. Because Story’s jersey number of 27 is retired with the Red Sox, he will switch to wearing 10.
As a stopgap replacement for Story, the Rockies signed José Iglesias to a one year deal worth $5 million.
Nick Castellanos, Right Field
The Philadelphia Phillies decided defense was for nerds and that they’d simply out-hit all of their opponents. The Phillies took their league worst -54 DRS and added sluggers Kyle Schwarber’s -8 DRS for four years and $70 million, and Nick Castellanos’ -7 DRS for five years and $100 million.
Carlos Rodón, Starting Pitcher
The San Francisco Giants shocked baseball in 2021 by coming out of nowhere to win the NL West atop a powerful offense and a strong pitching rotation. The Giants lost RHP Kevin Gausman to the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency only to replace him with an excellent lefty. Carlos Rodón and the Giants agreed to a two year, $44 million deal that brings his talents to the bay area. Rodón was a first time All-Star, threw a no-hitter, and finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox.
The Rockies also brought in a starting pitcher in former Pittsburgh Pirate Chad Kuhl. Kuhl will compete with Peter Lambert and Ryan Rolison for the rotation spot left empty by the departure of Jon Gray.
Adam Ottavino, Relief Pitcher
In retrospect, it was probably going to be difficult to keep Ottavino away from his native New York. After playing two seasons with his hometown New York Yankees and a season with the playoff Boston Red Sox, Otto has once again returned to the big apple. This time he’s donning the blue and orange of the New York Mets on a one year deal worth $4 million with an additional $1 million in performance incentives.
“It’s where I really want to be,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “I get to sleep in my own bed and see my kids more, and not have to move three times, so that’s the biggest thing. I’m really excited about that and obviously this team.”
The Rockies signed a different reliever on a similar deal by bringing in RHP Alex Colomé to a one year deal worth $4.12 million.
Kris Bryant, Third Base and Outfield
Hey, 1-of-5 ain’t bad! The Rockies had been linked to Bryant since before the lockout, and locked down their new superstar on March 16th with a seven year, $182 million contract that includes a full no-trade clause. The former Chicago Cubs rookie of the year, MVP, and four time All-Star will be the Rockies’ primary left fielder moving forward.
The Rockies bringing in Kris Bryant is a lot of things. It’s an attempt to repair the relationship between the team and the fans. It’s Bill Schmidt trying to build a competitive roster despite executive meddling. It could even be a sign of better things to come if the Rockies can continue to make smart team building moves and genuinely want to be winners.
Whatever way you look at the signing, Bryant has stated that not only does he want to be here, but he wants to win.
“I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve never played on a losing team and I don’t plan on doing that,” Kris Bryant said.— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) March 18, 2022
Most of the big name free agents are off the board, but there are plenty of moves that could be made before the regular season starts on April 8th. The question is: what more will Bill Schmidt do before opening day?
★ ★ ★
Beloved former Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba is one of several Rockies alums that have joined the team at spring training this year down at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. This year he will get a chance to see his son Yorvis Torrealba suit up for the Rockies for Cactus League action.
“I’m really excited to see him in uniform for the Rockies because that’s where I had my best years,” Yorvit told the Denver Post.
★ ★ ★
Roster hopeful Ty Blach started the game for the Rockies, giving up two runs on five hits over his three innings of work. Every pitcher in today’s game save for Jake Bird—who worked a scoreless fifth inning—gave up at least one run. Jordan Sheffield gave up two runs on three hits in the seventh inning and was credited with the loss. The Royals scored eight runs on 13 hits against Rockies pitching.
At the plate the Rockies scored four runs on eight hits. Shortstop prospect Ezequiel Tovar continues to have a strong spring, going 1-for-2 today with an average of .545. Connor Joe, Garrett Hampson, and Alan Trejo also had a good day at the plate. Joe was 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the third to plate the Rockies’ first run. Hampson was 2-for-2, and Trejo was 1-for-2 with a double. Sam Hilliard hit his first home run of the spring with a two run shot in the forth inning.
The Rockies will play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Salt River Field this afternoon, with Antonio Senzatela making his first start of the spring. Righty Tony Gonsolin is slated to start for the Dodgers, with the first pitch coming at 2:10 PM MDT. The game will be broadcast over the Radio on KOA with Jack Corrigan, and video feed will be available via SportsNet LA.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!