These are dreamy winter days. A team makes a bunch of signings and trades. The new guys come to town, awkwardly put the new team's jersey atop a shirt and tie and talk about championships that hopefully will come. Besides the Daniel Murphy signing, however, the 2019 Rockies will look
These are dreamy winter days. A team makes a bunch of signings and trades. The new guys come to town, awkwardly put the new team's jersey atop a shirt and tie and talk about championships that hopefully will come. Besides the Daniel Murphy signing, however, the 2019 Rockies will look a lot like the 2018 version, minus some free-agent departures.
In fairness, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said he wanted to improve the offense, but he never actually said he was seeking multiple everyday players -- just run production. But he also said that a key will be players improving on their 2018 numbers.
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Outfielder David Dahl is among the players asked to step up. He has provided run production during two stretches. Last September, he helped propel the Rockies into the postseason with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in September.
Looking at the current projected lineup, improved offense could boil down to a simple question -- will Dahl and Murphy, a three-time All-Star, provide more than second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who signed with the Yankees, and right fielder Carlos González, who is a free agent after an up-and down season? Also, the Rockies will need production from the younger players at second base (more on that later).
Many fans have called for an offensive upgrade at catcher, but the Rockies ultimately decided not to spend the salary (plus a high MLB Draft pick) that the Brewers used for Yasmani Grandal, and Colorado has balked at the trade price for Marlins star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Not only will Arenado make at least $24 million in 2019 in his final season of arbitration, but the Rockies' stated goal has been to sign him to a multi-year contract -- and the Rockies are watching their payroll until they find out what it will take to sign Arenado. Murphy's two-year, $24 million deal is the only signing of more than one year, and Murphy agreeing to defer some of the buyout on his 2021 option helped make that possible.
There appears to be some money available. The club did take a good look at second baseman Brian Dozier, but he accepted a one-year, $9 million offer from the Nationals.
Are the Rockies still "checking in" on Realmuto? Apparently the Dodgers are now offering a prospect not as good as Brendan Rodgers. If the Marlins are willing to take that, would the Rockies offer up Rodgers to outbid them? -- @moni_vette
There is no deal at this point, but MLB.com reported that top Dodgers catching prospect Keibert Ruiz -- the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 39 overall -- has been discussed. The key word in that sentence is "catching."
The reason the Marlins' asking price is so high is the same reason the Rockies have yet to jump at the free-agent catching market: There aren't enough catchers to go around. So, the prospect of replenishing their catching in such a deal might be attractive to the Marlins.
Rodgers, the No. 9 overall prospect and ranked third at shortstop, has a chance at second base -- a position where the Rockies have Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson and Pat Valaika (who is trying to bounce back from 2018 struggles) competing for the job.
Now only that, but Rodgers would give the Rockies something they haven't had since Troy Tulowitzki and Clint Barmes were in the organization at the same time -- shortstop depth. Until Rodgers is ready, however, shortstop Trevor Story is the player the Rockies can least afford to lose for a lengthy period.
If Realmuto isn't dealt before the season, expect the Rockies to see what the Marlins' price will be at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rockies obtained Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers at the 2017 deadline.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.