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There can be no argument that LeMahieu, already a great player from his Colorado days, has reached another level on the New York Yankees. He continued to be an outstanding hitter while hitting for a whole lot more power and making himself an MVP candidate. And as a nice little thumb in the eye of the Rockies, he is playing first base in the playoffs.
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Part of LeMahieu’s implied gripe with the Rockies here is that they came at him with “all this launch angle stuff,” year after year. But then the Yankees coaches said to just do his thing and hit the ball up the middle and the other way. Because I guess that’s somehow different from how he approached things on the Rockies?
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I remember the occasional foray into trying to get DJ to pull the ball, and I don’t know what happened behind the scenes as far as DJ being frustrated with coaches. But I hardly think anybody would describe him as anything other than a hitter who goes up the middle and the other way based on his time with the Rockies.
And “all that launch angle stuff” sounds like something lots of teams would present to a hitter, not to mention the fact that the Rockies were probably tired of DJ being a double play machine.
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If there’s something written out there that lays out the case for how the Rockies can spend the little money they will have available to set the team up to compete in 2020, I’d love to read it. Bonus points if this piece only counts on 1-2 dramatic bounce back seasons or players who were below average in 2019 becoming above average in 2020.
Analyses like the one Patrick Saunders offers here are not only more common, but more compelling. Dick Monfort said that the Rockies do not plan to spend much money this offseason. That’s due to an already high payroll, with a lot of it going to some of the worst players on the Rockies’ roster.
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The bullpen stands out here. The Rockies owe Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw a combined $36.5 million in 2020. And while some of the publicly available information about Shaw’s contract structure appears to be wrong, Saunders does indicate 40 or more appearances in 2019 — meaning 110 between 2019 and 2020, as we wrote during the season — would vest his 2021 option. These contracts are not only handcuffing the Rockies’ payroll (according to Monfort), but they’re also immovable. They can cut their losses with any of them to free up roster space, but they’d still be on the hook to pay. And not that it makes a big payroll impact, but the Rockies will still pay Mike Dunn $1 million in 2020.
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Daniel Murphy is the other player Saunders mentions that will be paid a lot in 2020, while also maybe not being the best option at the position. Murphy is owed $8 million next season. He’ll be 35.
Funnily enough, this article doesn’t even mention Ian Desmond, who’s owed $15 million in 2020 and another $8 million (plus a $2 million buyout) in 2021. It’ll be the penultimate season in what is perhaps the worst free agent contract given out in the past five years.
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There’s reason to question whether or not the Rockies could still spend money if they wanted to. (They very likely could.) But they are saying they can’t because of current payroll, which is a result of poor decisions.
So, about that article that lays out how to fix it for 2020...
Fixing the Colorado Rockies: A data driven approach | Purple Row FanPost
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In what is likely the longest and most thorough FanPost in Purple Row’s nearly 15 years of existence, community member amuesing1 takes a blow-by-blow approach about how the Rockies could set themselves up to compete in 2020 without spending too much.
The suggestions they make can be broken down into two buckets: Playing time distribution and repertoire changes. The first bucket involves limiting playing time for Murphy and Desmond in favor of Ryan McMahon and Sam Hilliard. Regarding the second bucket, they suggest teaching Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland the splitter, as well as taking the advice of a recent Purple Row post and telling Jeff Hoffman to start pitching up in the zone.
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The light suggestion for a free agent addition is Yasmani Grandal at catcher. For me, this is a no brainer. It was also a no brainer last offseason. I’d love for the Rockies to sign Grandal and move Tony Wolters into a backup role.
There’s much more, of course. So grab a coffee or a beer or three and dive into this detailed analysis of the Rockies.
Listen, I’m happy for DJ and will take his side over the Colorado front office in almost all cases. But this feels like retrofitting an explanation that doesn’t really make sense, not to mention that it feels like the opposite of the previous articles saying the Rockies don’t present players with enough information.
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It’s also hard to even follow the plot in this article from Lindsey Adler, in which it says that DJ’s “put your head down and work” attitude is a natural fit for the Yankees, only to later say that New York may not be a natural environment for a “soft spoken grinder.”
I’m happy for DJ that he’s doing so well. I accepted long ago that part of his success is better coaching on a better franchise, and that his success in New York is an indictment of a Colorado system that is probably broken. So now I think I’m ready to just cheer for him and quit trying to parse the details of all the ways the Rockies did him wrong, especially if they’re going to stop making sense.
Colorado Rockies exclusive: Garrett Hampson on his month of September, 2020 outlook | Rox Pile
Looking ahead to Colorado’s options at second base, Hampson’s emergence over the last couple months was a big positive. It potentially gives the Rockies a versatile option off the bench, something quite valuable in the National League. It also gives them some depth depending on how things shake out with Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers. Noah Yingling writes about a recent interview with Hampson in which he discusses his strong finish to the season and how he’s embracing a versatile role moving forward.
Baseball slugger Daniel Murphy now Icemen minority partner | Jacksonville.com
Murphy is now a minority owner of the Jacksonville Icemen, an ECHL hockey team near his hometown. So that’s neat. As far as the theme of this Rockpile, he’ll probably (hopefully) never play much second base for the Rockies, and you’ll note in this article that none the career accolades listed at the bottom of the press release happened this year in Colorado.