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How to address the Germán Márquez situation this off-season (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, September 4, 2023

The 2023 campaign seems to be dragging on and on for the Colorado Rockies. They dropped nine-of-ten games heading into a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend where they fell twice at home. The club is now 36 games-below .500 with a 50-86 record and holds a whopping negative-202 run differential so far.

All hope and optimism is long, long gone. So it has been time to take inventory and prepare for the future. There has been some progress made in that department with the front office shipping out numerous veterans in favor of their younger players, giving an extended look to who may be contributors in the future.

That sentiment has largely applied to the position player crop, however, with the pitching staff — specifically the rotation — in flux. Who will come from the lower ranks remains to be seen, but stalwarts Austin Gomber and Kyle Freeland should be counted upon again while other contributors like Noah Davis, Ryan Feltner, and Peter Lambert and Connor Seabold will presumably be in the fold.

But the nucleus of the rotation is still missing, and will be for some time. Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela both underwent Tommy John surgery this season and will miss most – if not all – of the 2024 season while recovering. Senzatela recently inked a 5-year, $50MM extension and has two more guaranteed seasons after 2024 plus a club-option for 2027, so there is reason to be patient in his case.

Márquez, however, is a whole different scenario.

Senzatela’s current deal is very similar to that signed by Márquez and the Rockies back in April 2019. It also included a club-option for the final season – a $16MM price-tag for 2024. Over the course of the deal, it seemed like this would be a slam-dunk decision for the front office. However, since he will be on the mend for most of that year, it seems a little more creativity will be required.

Simply exercising the option would be bad business for Colorado, investing $16MM – nearly 10% of an expected payroll ~$170MM in 2024 – for one year of a pitcher that will likely only pitch a month or two of games (at best) makes no sense. But declining the option outright and losing the tenured righty to another club in free agency would also be even more damaging. There is a compromise for both sides in a bridge extension, though. Fortunately, this is an idea with some precedence.

Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays is the most recent and obvious comparison. On the eve of his final arbitration-eligible season, the tall Tampa righty went under the knife for T.J. in August of 2021. The player and team were able to find a way to make it work, though, agreeing to a two-year $30.35MM extension. He has earned $5.35MM in 2023 while spending the bulk of the year recovering from his surgery, and will be on the books for $25MM in 2024 before hitting the open market.

James Paxton was rebounding from two lost years due to injury, including a Tommy John surgery early in the 2021 season. But he still latched on with the Boston Red Sox the following off-season on a two-year pact with a guaranteed $10MM, spread-out between $6MM in 2022 and a $4M club-option in 2023 plus a mutual $13MM option for 2024 if all went well.

While the success has varied greatly between these two deals, they still provide a framework for the scenario Colorado is in with their ace. It’s likely not feasible to just spread out the $16MM Márquez was likely to earn over two seasons, however a round-numbered $20MM deal with $4MM in his recovery year of 2024 and the $16MM prorated into 2025 could certainly make a lot of sense for both sides.

Ultimately, the negotiations between the front office and Márquez will determine the final numbers. But there should be plenty of motivation for the pitching-starved Rockies to bring Márquez back for one more full run with what should be a more competitive roster in 2025. As for Márquez, hitting the market in a healthier state will be more advantageous in securing a lucrative deal when he does hit the open market.

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105.7! Doyle’s throw fastest in Statcast era |

In Colorado’s 8-7 victory against Toronto on Saturday, Brenton Doyle made history with his throw from center field, keeping Davis Schneider anchored at third base in what normally would have been a sacrifice fly. Schneider appeared to make the right decision in the moment, as Doyle cranked a throw that was registered at 105.7 MPH, the fastest throw in the StatCast era — breaking Aaron Hicks’ 105.5 missile from left field in 2016.

Blue Jays’ All-Star Kevin Gausman returns home to face the beast of Coors Field | The Denver Post

Patrick Saunders chats with Blue Jays’ RHP Kevin Gausman, a native of Centennial, CO. Gausman and Rockies’ LHP Ty Blach share found memories of growing up in the state and competing against each other as amateurs. Saunders also highlights Gausman’s strong numbers in Coors Field in five career starts.

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Pebble Report: August 28 - September 3, 2023

The injury bug has bitten the Colorado Rockies system hard in 2023. Much has been depleted on the pitching front, but some prominent position players have been lost along the way as well. It appeared we were out of the woods with one of those prominent players when Adael Amador (No. 3 PuRP) returned to action with a well-deserved promotion to the Double-A rank with the Hartford Yard Goats.

After trouncing the Northwest League for a .302/.391/.514 line and 143 wRC+ in 54 games, Amador looked the part in his first taste of Double-A with a 112 wRC+ in 18 plate appearances and his first home run at the level this week. Unfortunately, he landed back on the IL. With just two weeks left in the season, a return may out of the cards for him this season, but overall it has been a fantastic season for the young infielder who rose to the top of our mid-season prospect rankings.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (3-3, 58-74 overall)

RHP Noah Davis (No. 29 PuRP) returned to the mound for the Isotopes, delivering five shutout innings on the road against Sacramento (OAK), allowing just two hits. Tanner Gordon also threw well against the River Cats, permitting just one run over 5 13 IP while striking-out eight. At the plate, Wynton Bernard led Albuquerque with nine hits in the series while Coco Montes posted a strong .892 OPS with half of his six hits going for extra-bases.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (2-4, 53-70 overall)

The Yard Goats struggled on the mound at home against Richmond (SF), but Joe Rock (No. 11 PuRP) was not part of that problem as he delivered seven innings in his start, striking-out seven to just three hits and one walk. Jordan Beck (No. 9 PuRP) collected a healthy .333/.391/.524 slash-line and led the team with seven hits. But the best offensive performance came from Grant Lavigne (No. 20 PuRP) who went for extra-bases in four of his six hits — two clearing the wall — and finished the week eight batted-in and a 1.089 OPS.

High-A: Spokane Indians (2-4, 60-63 overall)

The adjustment to High-A has been steep for Ryan Ritter (HM PuRP), but that wasn’t the case in his most recent series at home against Everett (SEA) as he posted a .389/.542/.444 slash-line. He finished one hit shy of Robby Martin Jr. who tallied eight knocks — including two doubles — and a team-high seven RBI. Mason Albright twirled the start of the week for the Indians, holding the Aqua Sox to two runs — one unearned — on six hits over six innings with four strikeouts.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (4-2, 76-50 overall)

Recently drafted Cole Carrigg has hit the ground running since joining the Grizzlies. That trend continued on the road against Visalia (AZ) as he slugged two home runs and went for extra-bases in four of his five hits overall, finishing the week with a .609 SLG% and .966 OPS. Kody Huff also had a terrific series at the pate, knocking seven hits and seven batted-in and finishing with a robust slash of .438/.438/.750. On the hill, Michael Prosecky, Connor Staine and Cody Franzen each went six innings in their starts. Franzen went scoreless in his outing while Prosecky was touched for one run and Staine two. Both Prosecky and Staine punched-out seven.

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Week of 9/11-9/17 (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Adael Amador 3 Double-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 3/10 0 1 1 1
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 2/15 0 0 5 0
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 6/18 1 2 4 1
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 1/19 1 2 6 0
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sterlin Thompson 14 Double-A 3/18 1 1 5 0
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hunter Goodman 19 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 3/13 1 2 4 1
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ryan Ritter HM Double-A 3/16 0 3 8 2
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 6/20 0 4 8 2

Week of 9/11-9/17 (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 1/1 5.0 0/0 1 10
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Case Williams 26 Double-A 1/1 2.2 7/6 3 3
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 1/1 6.0 1/1 2 5
Noah Davis 29 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 1/1 5 3/3 3 6
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 2/0 3 0/0 3 5

Season to Date (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) 36/172 2 23 43 22
Adael Amador 3 Double-A (IL) 78/255 12 37 32 14
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 83/327 13 29 67 6
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 110/438 10 52 135 18
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 68/302 6 15 68 2
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 132/487 25 73 142 20
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 127/479 25 32 132 1
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A 79/308 16 53 82 3
Sterlin Thompson 14 Double-A 104/355 14 38 74 17
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A 56/198 0 13 35 10
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB 15/49 5 8 19 1
Hunter Goodman 19 MLB 83/348 25 41 98 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 101/445 17 77 142 4
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 73/311 5 33 81 13
Ryan Ritter HM Double-A 124/441 24 62 152 20
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 126/439 14 42 116 12

Season to Date (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) 16/16 43.2 47/46 25 57
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) 14/14 66.2 51/46 26 83
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) 13/13 64.0 35/30 24 69
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 19/19 90.0 53/45 32 108
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) 15/15 67.0 48/44 25 66
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) 4/4 11.0 11/11 6 9
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A 20/20 91.2 66/65 35 94
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A 18/18 86.1 70/65 38 60
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) 10/9 31.0 27/25 20 32
Case Williams 26 Double-A 23/23 101.2 87/80 51 79
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 19/19 92.1 44/40 37 134
Noah Davis 29 MLB 14/14 56.0 33/29 33 48
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB 19/0 23.1 9/9 10 27
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 28/25 116 103/100 69 130
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 45/0 55.2 42/38 54 81

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Upcoming Schedule

Triple-A Albuquerque: 7/5 - 7/10 vs Reno (AZ)

Double-A Hartford: 7/5 - 7/10 vs Binghamton (NYM)

High-A Spokane: 7/5 - 7/10 @ Hillsboro (AZ)

Low-A Fresno: 7/5 - 7/10 vs Modesto (SEA)

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