Category Archives: Colorado Rockies

Rangers trade Lucroy to the Rockies

The Texas Rangers decided to trade away catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later.

 

Texas Rangers analysis/grade:

This is a really bad trade for the Rangers as they are giving up an all-star caliber catcher basically for nothing. Lucroy wasn’t having a very good year for the Rangers, but he is surely worth more than a low-level prospect. He is set to be a free agent after the season, but the Rangers could have gotten at least something decent in return for Lucroy. This is a trade that just isn’t worth it for Texas since they are acquiring pretty much nothing for a player that has a proven track record of being a very good catcher. Lucroy would have been more valuable just to remain with the team for the rest of the season rather than only getting a low-level minor league player presumably. We’ll see later on which prospect the Rangers receive from the Rockies for this trade, but this is still a major fail for the Rangers since they basically are getting rid of a valuable catcher for nothing.

Grade: F

 

Colorado Rockies analysis/grade:

This is a terrific low-risk trade for the Rockies as they are acquiring 2-time all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy in exchange for basically nothing. Lucroy is having a down season in 2017 as he is only hitting .242 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI’s. However, Lucroy was an all-star just one season ago when he hit 24 home runs so he still has the potential to be a big impact player for the Rockies. The catcher position has been a major weakness for Colorado as both Tony Wolters and Ryan Hanigan have struggled to produce offensively. Even if Jonathan Lucroy plays like he did for the Rangers this season he still is a big upgrade at the position for the Rockies and he is still a dangerous hitter in the 8th spot of the Rockies lineup. Lucroy is likely only a rental player as he is a free agent after the season, but if he can just be half the player that he used to be then he will still make a major impact for the Rockies. The Rockies are giving barely anything up in exchange for Lucroy, so this trade has absolutely no risk and at the same time it could produce a huge return. Colorado is already a playoff-caliber team, yet this trade just makes the Rockies even more dangerous offensively especially if Lucroy can play like he did just a year ago.

Grade: A+

jonathan lucroy

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Phillies trade Neshek to the Rockies

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild as they sent all-star relief pitcher Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league prospects Alejandro Requena, J.D. Hammer, and Jose Gomez.

 

Phillies analysis/grade:

Pat Neshek was pretty much the only bright spot for the Phillies this season as he was the team’s only all-star since he had a 1.12 ERA before being traded. However, Neshek is about to turn 37 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season which made it an easy decision for the Phillies to trade him. The Phillies also received 3 good prospects from the Rockies in exchange for Neshek. Jose Gomez is the top prospect that the Phillies received in this trade as he could be a good starting middle infielder one day. Gomez has been outstanding in the minor leagues as he has a career .316 batting average and he is once again impressing this season as he has a .324 average with 33 RBI’s. He doesn’t provide much power as he only has 9 career home runs, but his offensive ability is still impressive. Gomez also has 73 career stolen bases, so he clearly has above average speed. Gomez is a shortstop right now, but he will probably move to 2nd base at some point because he doesn’t have great arm strength. Gomez is still a long way from being major league ready, but he projects well as a good starting infielder in the MLB. The Phillies also received 23-year old right-handed pitching prospect J.D. Hammer in this trade. Hammer was a 24th round pick by the Rockies last season and he has been good so far in his minor league career and he has a 2.25 ERA so far this season. He projects well as a middle relief pitcher as he has the ability to strike out batters effectively. Hammer is in High-A right now, so it is possible that he could make it to the majors in a few years. The final prospect that the Phillies acquired in this deal is 20-year old starting pitcher Alejandro Requena who is having a good year in Low-A with an 8-3 record and a 2.85 ERA. Requena struggled during his first 3 minor league seasons, but his impressive 2017 season shows that he does have some potential. Requena doesn’t throw very hard, but if he can continue to control his pitches well then he has a chance to make it to the MLB at some point. This is a very good return for the Phillies to receive for an aging relief pitcher that they weren’t going to re-sign anyway. The Phillies now have another 3 good prospects to work with as they continue their rebuild.

Grade: A

 

Rockies analysis/grade:

The Rockies desperately needed some more consistency from their bullpen since the only reliable relief pitcher that they have is closer Greg Holland. The addition of Pat Neshek should not only help to secure Colorado’s playoff spot, but it should help them to possibly go deeper in the playoffs this year. Neshek has a 1.12 ERA this season and his side-armed pitching style still should work well despite pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Neshek gives the Rockies a terrific 8th inning option to try and setup closer Greg Holland in the 9th inning. Neshek is probably just a rental player for Colorado since he is about to be 37 years old and he is set to be a free agent after this season. The Rockies did give up some good prospects with potential, yet they didn’t give any top prospects in this deal so it won’t affect the Rockies minor league system much. We’ll see if Neshek can continue to pitch well in the worst stadium for pitchers, but at least he gives the Rockies with a much better 8th inning option. The Rockies did give up some talented young prospects, but they didn’t give up too much in return for Neshek and this is a move that should help to solidify a playoff spot this season.

Grade: B

pat neshek

Season Outlook: Colorado Rockies

2017 Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Charlie Blackmon – Center Fielder
  2. DJ LeMahieu – 2nd baseman
  3. Nolan Arenado – 3rd baseman
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – Right Fielder
  5. Ian Desmond – 1st baseman
  6. David Dahl – Left Fielder
  7. Trevor Story – Shortstop
  8. Tony Wolters – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Jon Gray
  2. Chad Bettis
  3. Tyler Anderson
  4. Tyler Chatwood
  5. Jeff Hoffman

Season Outlook:

We all know how dangerous the Rockies lineup will be in 2017, but the issue for the Rockies will be if their pitching staff can be at least decent. Nolan Arenado is a legitimate MVP candidate that provides sensational defense as well. Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, David Dahl, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon are all really good hitters. The only weakness in Colorado’s lineup is with catcher Tony Wolters who struggled offensively last season. Everyone besides Wolters are major threats in the Rockies lineup to do some serious damage against opposing pitching. Meanwhile, the Rockies pitching staff made some improvements last season led by young ace Jon Gray. Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, and Chad Bettis also improved in 2016. Jeff Hoffman is a highly regarded pitching prospect and it will be interesting to see how he does in his first MLB action in 2017. All of the Rockies starting pitchers are inexperienced, but they all have tremendous potential to improve even more for the Rockies next season. The major issue for Colorado last season was their bullpen which had a MLB worst 5.13 ERA. It seemed that they couldn’t close out games even if they had a big lead. However, the additions of Greg Holland and Mike Dunn this offseason should provide some more stability in the late innings. Also, closer Adam Ottavino was injured last season and he was a really good relief pitcher for the Rockies prior to his injury. If the pitching for the Rockies can improve especially with the bullpen then this is a very dangerous playoff contender. However, as good as the offense will obviously be, I’m not sure that the pitching will improve much considering that they play at the extremely hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Prediction: 3rd place in the NL West

nolan-arenado

Biggest need remaining for every NL West Team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest need: Bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a decent bullpen until they let go of quality relief pitchers like Brad Ziegler, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Hudson. However, they haven’t done much to replace those guys this offseason. Arizona signed 39-year old Fernando Rodney to be their new closer, but who knows how much production that he has left. Rodney has been inconsistent in recent years and he was awful with a 5.89 ERA with the Marlins last season. Even if he does turn out to be good for Arizona, they still have nobody else besides him in the bullpen. Arizona has a big need for 7th and 8th inning help and time is running out for them to find somebody to fill those roles.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest need: Catcher

Colorado has a really dangerous lineup, but if there is one weakness in their lineup then it is definitely at the catcher position. As of right now, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy would be the options at catcher for the Rockies. However, neither of those guys have proven that they can be everyday catchers. Wolters is a former infielder and he only hit .259 with 3 home runs in 2016 for Colorado in 71 games played. Those aren’t good offensive stats especially for a guy that plays most of his games at Coors Field. Both Wolters and Murphy are nothing more than backups, but one of them will have to play a lot in 2017 unless the team can find a starting catcher. The Rockies are reportedly interested in Matt Wieters as their new starting catcher which isn’t a bad idea since he provides some more offensive ability than Wolters and Murphy. Either way, the Rockies can’t rely upon Wolters to be their everyday catcher next season and they need a lot of help at the position.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest need: 2nd baseman

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have many needs, but they do have a glaring weakness at the 2nd base position with Enrique Hernandez as their projected starter for the 2017 season. That is not good news considering that Hernandez only hit .190 with 7 home runs in 109 games for the Dodgers last season. There aren’t many options available at 2nd base for the Dodgers in free agency, but they should at least add some more depth to the position in order to compete with Hernandez. Los Angeles could always trade for Brian Dozier and fix the problem at 2nd base. However, the Dodgers just need to do something to improve the production out of the 2nd base position.

San Diego Padres – Biggest need: Starting Pitching

San Diego has perhaps the worst starting rotation in all of the MLB heading into next season as their number 1 starter appears to be Christian Friedrich who had a 4.80 ERA in 2016. The Padres have plenty of depth with their starting pitching, but they just don’t have even one starting pitcher that would be a number 3 starter on another team. The free agent starting pitcher market was extremely weak this offseason, yet the Padres should have signed at least one quality starting pitcher. San Diego did sign Jhoulys Chacin, but he won’t do much to make their rotation any better. Overall, the Padres starting rotation is looking terrible for next season unless they make a big move late this offseason which is highly unlikely.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The San Francisco Giants were in the market for a big time outfielder this offseason. However, they haven’t made any big moves yet and they still are left with a big need for a starting left fielder. Right now Mac Williamson would be the starting left fielder for the Giants and he hasn’t proven much as he is a career .222 hitter with 6 home runs in limited playing time. There are still quality left fielders like Michael Saunders that remain unsigned in free agency, but the Giants just need to do something to find a decent starting left fielder for next season.

Rockies sign Dunn to a 3-year deal

The one major weakness that the Colorado Rockies had last season was certainly their bullpen as they couldn’t close out games even when they had a big lead. Colorado is trying to fix that issue as they signed left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn to a 3-year/$19 million deal. Dunn has been a productive relief pitcher throughout his career and he had a solid 3.40 ERA with the Marlins last season. The Rockies aren’t really even sure who their closer will be next season, although the likely candidate for that role is Adam Ottavino. I don’t see Mike Dunn being the closer for Colorado, but he could be a good fill-in if needed. Dunn will likely be the much needed 8th inning setup man that the Rockies bullpen desperately needed. Dunn isn’t a great pitcher, but this signing is a success considering how difficult that it has been for the Rockies to find quality pitchers in free agency. Not many good pitchers want to sign with Colorado and risk the possibility of ruining their careers. Dunn gives the Rockies a proven relief pitcher and we’ll see if he can succeed while pitching at Coors Field.

Grade: A

mike-dunn

Rockies sign Ian Desmond to a 5-year deal

The Colorado Rockies made an unexpected move at the Winter Meetings by signing Ian Desmond to a 5-year/$70 million contract. Colorado already had an outstanding lineup with players like Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon. Ian Desmond just adds another threat to the Rockies lineup, although it’s kind of unclear as to how well he will fit in defensively. The Rockies view Desmond as the starting 1st baseman in 2017 and that is what makes this move so shocking. Desmond has never even played a game at 1st base in his career, so it will be interesting to see how well he can adjust to the position. Desmond has never been a good defensive player as he has been a shortstop for most of his career. However, Desmond became the starting centerfielder for the Rangers last season which showed he has the ability to play a different position. Desmond is clearly being brought in for his outstanding offensive skills. Desmond has hit 19 or more home runs in each of the past 5 seasons, so he could probably hit 30 home runs considering that he is playing most of his games at altitude at Coors Field. This is certainly a good move for the Rockies to make their lineup even more dangerous, but this signing also comes with risks. The main reason it is such a risky move is because the Rangers extended a qualifying offer to Desmond this offseason which means the Rockies will lose their 1st round pick in 2017. Colorado could have used that draft pick to improve their pitching especially since it was the 11th overall pick which is the highest selection that a team can give up for qualifying offer compensation. Also, this move could significantly hurt the Rockies defense since the 1st base position isĀ one of the most important positions. Desmond doesn’t have any experience at 1st base and he is known as a below average defender already. Desmond hit .285 with 22 home runs last season with Texas, so I can’t wait to see the type of offensive numbers that he’ll put up with the Rockies for the next few years. This move makes the Rockies a better team offensively, but the risks that come along with this signing is too much to give this a great grade.

Grade: B-

ian-desmond

Qualls signs with the Rockies

On the same day that the Rockies signed Jason Motte to improve their bullpen, they also made another move by signing relief pitcher Chad Qualls to a 2-year/$6 million contract. Qualls is 37 years old and he certainly isn’t the same type of player that he was earlier in his career. However, he has a proven track record as he has a 3.80 ERA and 74 saves in his MLB career. The Rockies needed any bullpen help that they could get this offseason and while Qualls isn’t a very good reliever anymore he still is an upgrade over what Colorado had a year ago. Qualls will likely be the 7th inning guy for the Rockies, but don’t expect him to improve his stats from last year with Houston in which he had a 4.38 ERA. At least Colorado is trying to improve their bullpen in any way they can, but this signing doesn’t fix their problems at all.

Grade: C- – Qualls has had a pretty good MLB career, but he is 37 years old now and he certainly isn’t a great option for any bullpen. Maybe this signing improves the Rockies bullpen in 2016, but in all likelihood it might not improve it all.

chad qualls