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A Rockies Thanksgiving after a rocky year

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, November 23, 2023

Pass the cranberry sauce, we’re having mashed potatoes. Oh, the turkey looks great... even if the 2023 Colorado Rockies season did not. The Rockies lost a franchise high 103 games and are heading into a winter full of unknowns when it comes to what’s next for the beleaguered team. After acquiring Cal Quantrill from the Cleveland Guardians and picking up Jalen Beeks on waivers the stove has gone cold while you spent the morning and afternoon in the kitchen. While we wait for the next big deadlines of the offseason—such as the rapidly approaching Winter Meetings—we can sit with our loved ones, pass around the gravied yams and stuffinged hams, and know that there are indeed things to be thankful for in regards to our Rockies.

An exciting new generation of talent

One of the major bright spots in a painful 2023 campaign was the emergence of the rookie trio Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones, and Brenton Doyle.

Jones was acquired during the offseason via a trade with Cleveland and separated himself from the pack with one of the best rookie seasons in Rockies history. Finishing fourth in National League Rookie of the Year Voting—though he should have been a finalist—Jones was the team leader in wins above replacement as he battled his way to the first 20/20 season in franchise history. Combined with his strong defense despite being new to playing the outfield, and Rockies fans have a lot to be excited about.

Brenton Doyle and Ezequiel Tovar—both home-grown products—stood out with strong seasons of their own. Tovar earned the starting shortstop job out of spring training and never looked back. He posted the best defensive season by a rookie shortstop in league history (formerly owned by Troy Tulowitzki) and showed incredible maturity despite being just 21 years old. He was nominated for a Gold Glove and was worth 2.5 WAR and tied the rookie record for doubles while hitting 15 home runs and stealing 11 bases.

The speedy Brenton Doyle may have needed to make plenty of swing adjustments on the fly, but still ended up hitting ten home runs and stealing 22 bases. However, where he really shined was with the glove. Doyle took a cavernous Coors Field center field and truly made it his. He had not only the single best defensive season in center field in Rockies history, but was one of the single best outfielders in the league this season. He ran away with the Gold Glove Award and it frankly wasn’t particularly close.

Meanwhile, the next generation of Rockies will have continued reinforcements in the future. The Rockies have an underrated farm system and top prospects like Adael Amador, Yanquiel Fernandez, and Drew Romo have their MLB debuts on the horizon.

One more year of Chuck Nazty

Honestly it wouldn’t have felt right for one of the most prolific players in franchise history to call it a career after 2023. Charlie Blackmon spent a large chunk of the season on the injured list after taking a pitch to the hand as the Rockies nosedived towards their worst season in franchise history.

Despite that, the 37-year-old bearded wonder had himself a pretty good year. Hitting .279/.363/.440 with 24 doubles, the elder statesman of the team showed he had some gas left in the tank. Blackmon stole four bases and further padded his lead as the franchise triples leader with another five this season, showing impressive wheels for someone on the verge of retirement.

At the end of the season it was announced that 2023 was not farewell for the franchise icon. Charlie Blackmon signed a one year, $13 million extension in late September. Regardless of how you feel about the size of the contract, Rockies fans can at least celebrate getting a true last ride for one of the best to ever wear purple pinstripes.

The Rockies are here to stay

Although this may seem like a low bar to clear, some fans aren’t so lucky. John Fisher is taking the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas after a unanimous owner’s vote approved the relocation.

Fisher saw a long season of chants to sell the team, a reverse boycott, and overall backlash from baseball fans as a whole. Oakland fans are losing their team with the added insult of the A’s being the worst team in 2023 with a 50-112 record. On his way out the door, Fisher had the nerve to tell fans “this hurts me more than it does you.”

The Rockies are a lot of things, but likely to relocate is not one of them. The team signed a new 50-year lease for Coors Field back in 2017 and Dick Monfort is clearly investing in LoDo by building up the McGregor Square area. While the A’s will play one final lame-duck season at the Coliseum, Rockies fans won’t have to deal with the dread of their team being ripped away from them.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Purple Row! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Tell us what you are thankful for in the comments.

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Here is why each fanbase should be thankful | MLB.com

Will Leitch at MLB.com outlines why each of the 30 MLB fanbases should be thankful for this year. For our Rockies he states that despite the rebuild, Coors Field remains one of the best places on Earth to watch a baseball game.

This Rox pitcher helps kids play ball | MLB.com

An excerpt from his newsletter, Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding explores the efforts of Colorado native and Rockies reliever Lucas Gilbreath to bring baseball to the kids in his home state. Shocked by the financial commitment it takes to get into baseball, Gilbreath is working to “attack socioeconomic inequalities” and keep the young players in Colorado from being priced out of the sport he loves.

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