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The Colorado Rockies’ offseason is progressing as it should (even if it’s boring)

Colorado Rockies News and Notes for Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Surely, you have heard all the exciting offseason news coming out of the NL West — it’s been notable.

The Los Angeles Dodgers not only signed Shohei Ohtani, but also traded for Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot!

The San Francisco Giants signed Jung Hoo Lee (who’s going to be very fun to watch)!

The NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks have traded for Eugenio Suárez, signed Eduardo Rodriguez, and brought back Lourdes Gurriel Jr!

On the flip side, the San Diego Padres are in the midst of a fire sale. (So long, Juan Soto and Trent Grisham.)

As for the Colorado Rockies, well, they traded for Cal Quantrill and have made some MiLB signings. So far, though, no free agents for them, a point Jeff Passan brought home yesterday.

Notice the teams at the top of that free-agent spending list: The Dodgers, D-backs, and Giants.

The Rockies, meanwhile, are down there at the bottom with seven other teams that have spent $0.00 on free agents.

And you know what? This is exactly what the Rockies should be doing.

Here’s why.

In 2024, the Rockies need to continue to let the kids play

Despite losing 103 games in 2023, the season ended with the Rockies having a much better sense of the players they have. (Hello, Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle, and Nolan Jones!) That process needs to continue in 2024 as the Rockies prepare for their contention window to potentially open in 2025.

Where do Elehuris Montero, Sean Bouchard, Michael Toglia, Alan Trejo, and Hunter Goodman fit? Hopefully, we’ll find out next season.

What about all those prospects (e.g., Adael Amador, Jordan Beck, Julio Carreras, Benny Montgomery, Sterlin Thompson, and Zac Veen)? Some of them will probably be ready to try The Show after the All-Star Break.

It’s an exciting time, and the Rockies need to give the kids at all levels consistent playing time to show what they can do.

Colorado Rockies v Washington Nationals Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

As it stands, the Rockies are already operating under some constraints when it comes to making opportunities for young players.

During the Winter Meetings, manager Bud Black outlined those he sees as “everyday players”: Elias Díaz, Kris Bryant, Brendan Rodgers, Ryan McMahon, Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones, Brenton Doyle, and Charlie Blackmon.

That does not leave a lot of innings for young players.

Plus, they need to sort out a traffic jam that Skyler Timmins wrote about last week: the Rockies’ “six-man platoon situation.” The Rockies have too many first basemen and too many outfielders and two veterans on sizable contracts. All of this reduces opportunities for younger players.

Adding a veteran free agent is not a good way to address this issue.

Besides, the Rockies plan to sign some free agents

However, as Bill Schmidt and Bud Black made clear at the Winter Meetings, they see adding some veteran bench players as key.

First, they want to sign a backup catcher.

“I don’t think the young kids are ready yet,” Schmidt said. Their hope is to sign backup catcher with better offensive numbers — which makes sense.

In addition to a catcher, the Rockies plan to add two other bench players.

As Black explained:

“So another backup outfielder and another backup infielder are going to have to be on our team. For me, more often than not, that’s a role for a veteran player or guy who’s been around who understands that playing time could be limited because the guys that we have are everyday players, and it’s unfair to put a young guy like Carreras as a backup infielder because we’ve got Rodgers and Tovar.”

The front office’s reasoning here is clear enough, but they will need to sign the right players for this to work.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Think back to last season.

On one hand, signing Mike Moustakas (136 PA; 105 OPS+) turned out to be a good free-agent signing that also brought back some mid-season pitching. On the other, Jurickson Profar (472 PA; 76 OPS+) and Harold Castro (270 PA; 52 OPS+) were less successful. They took playing time from younger players and were not effective on either side of the plate. Moreover, the Rockies were unable to trade them.

The Rockies should not repeat this mistake in 2024. Any signings will need to be carefully considered.

They will also sign some free-agent pitchers

In addition to those position players, expect the Rockies to sign some additional free-agent pitchers they can flip at the trade deadline, like Brad Hand and Pierce Johnson in 2023. Those are forward-looking signings — and if there’s anything we’ve learned, the Rockies can never have enough pitching.

Closing thoughts

Look, let’s be clear: This is not a terribly exciting offseason for Rockies fans — and it was never going to be.

But as Brenton Doyle and Nolan Jones showed last season, letting the kids play can be very, very fun.

Syndication: The Enquirer Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hopefully, we’ll see more of that in 2024.

★★★

Yesterday, the Rockies added some depth.

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