With the 2022 World Series beginning on Friday, it’s time to look at what the Rockies must do to legitimize their dreams of participating in such an exciting time.
We will delve deeper as the offseason continues, but let’s lay out some questions:
1. What are the holes?
The Rockies need a bona fide everyday center fielder, a leadoff hitter and a left-handed hitter -- all the better if it’s the same guy. They could use a quality starter alongside Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez, each of whom vow to produce more consistently in 2023. And the bullpen, which wasn’t deep enough when healthy, has holes because of injuries and potential free agency.
2. Will the Rockies depart from the norm and trade aggressively?
Mid-career pitchers at high value simply don’t come to Colorado, which dictates a deal is the best way to fill the rotation hole. Can that deal, or possibly multiple deals, also fill one or both of the other holes (lineup and bullpen)?
This is a roster with a $182 million player in Kris Bryant, who will be coming off a season mostly lost to injury. Having invested in Bryant and several homegrown core players, it makes little sense for the Rockies to simply spend 2023 waiting for prospects -- even if they are coming from a farm system that’s gaining respect around the sport.
3. How much more shakeup is coming?
The pivot to young players in the final two months of 2023 was necessary, but it left core players frustrated and hoping for change quickly. Looking to improve a languishing offense, the Rockies parted ways with hitting coach Dave Magadan. In a move that surprised many, they also separated from third-base coach Stu Cole, whose work with infielders was well-respected. (Cole turned down reassignment to a Minor League position.)
But what happens with the roster? Do the Rockies deal first baseman C.J. Cron (due a club-friendly $7.25 million in ’23 to finish his contract)? Which players who have received consistent playing time in recent years will be removed to allow a clearer path for the prospects?
4. How about that bullpen?
Many believed the Rockies should have dealt closer Daniel Bard at the Trade Deadline; instead, they extended his contract for two years at $19 million. But it makes little sense to hang onto a contender-quality closer without building the setup crew. It’s logical to re-sign free agent Carlos Estévez (if he doesn’t find a closing opportunity elsewhere), but the team could use at least two accomplished high-leverage relievers, one righty and one lefty.
5. Whom do they trust?
This is somewhat contradictory since many of the previous questions point toward a need for a shakeup. Still, the Rockies thought the 2022 team would hit more home runs and pitch better. Which players will they move away from, and which do they trust to rebound?