You can’t blame the Colorado Rockies brass for being a little wishful this holiday season. After all, some of the other teams have already gotten some very nice, expensive new toys, and the Rockies are pretty much left to stare out the window and be grateful for what they have. That’s the reality.
Still, wishing isn’t such a bad thing.
If you’re into guessing what the Rockies organization might be wishing for this year, their list probably looks a lot like this:
Good health. The Rockies are not a deep team in terms of major league ready talent. “Next man up” sounds great and all, but when that next man is closer to being the next boy – perhaps capable down the road but not ready for the bright lights just yet – you’re left to cross your fingers and hope you won’t have to call on him in 2023. As lame as the “if we can just stay health” thing is, it’s actually true – doubly so – when your organizational depth isn’t close to what it needs to be at this point.
And having Kris Bryant available for 120+ games would be nice since they’re paying him $30 mil a year.
Good fortune. They might want to be careful about asking for much more of this, because already this offseason, the Rockies have been pretty lucky. While they missed out of free agents like Cody Bellinger, at least they didn’t lose anyone this time around. The powerful Los Angeles Dodgers lost pitcher Tyler Anderson, star shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Justin Turner (no relation) without landing a big name themselves. Justin Verlander ended up at New York Met and Jacob deGrom landed in Texas of all places.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants lost out on Aaron Judge – who went back to the Yankees – and after seeming to land star shortstop Carlos Correa, they inexplicably failed him on his physical exam and he too, ended up a Met. Two strikes.
Colorado was able to weaken the San Diego bullpen and strengthen their own by signing Pierce Johnson. In short, the National League West didn’t get appreciably better while Colorado added one piece, so there’s that.
They can always wish for more good fortune, but don’t press your luck too much here.
The resurgence of Charlie Blackmon. While the year vet and future Rockies “Wall of Famer” (they HAVE to do something like that at some point) is at the point in his career when he MUST accept a role as the team’s primary Designated Hitter. Not playing the outfield anymore (or at least very seldomly) might allow him to stay stronger and more productive at the plate in what’s likely to be his swan song season. Having vintage Chuck back in the heart of the line-up – perhaps to protect Bryant and get the former MVP better pitches to hit – could be a big boost.
A rebound from Peter Lambert. The Rockies pitching staff is…shallow. There’s Kyle Freeland and German Marquez. Antonio Senzatela at mid-season if everything goes right. But there is very little experience after that. Second year man Ryan Feltner showed glimpses last year. Austin Gomber was good in 2021. After that, what – or who – takes the ball? Maybe…just maybe…the kid who made such a splashy debut in 2019 before a series of injuries makes a comeback? A healthy and productive Peter Lambert would go a long way toward stabilizing the sketchy starting rotation.
Nevertheless, they have to be wishing for the availability of another veteran starting pitcher. Last year Chad Kuhl landed in purple and turned out to be a blessing. He was their best starter for much of the season. Is there another Chad Kuhl out there anywhere? For what it’s worth, Kuhl hasn’t signed with anyone else yet…just saying.
For now, Jose Urena and Brent Sutter will likely get opportunities to be part of the rotation. Colorado could certainly do worse. Both have good track records. But this is Coors Field we’re taking about. You can never have too much pitching.
The emergence of Ryan Rolison isn’t likely to happen in April…but maybe by mid-season? The former first round pick has been plagued by injuries since joining the Rockies organization, but man…a solid lefty starter sure would be nice, right? The Rockies have every finger and toe crossed.
Nolan Jones makes fans forget. ‘Nuff said.
Ryan McMahon thrives now that ‘the shift’ is gone.
Elehuris Montero and Michael Toglia provide badly needed power without a ton of strikeouts.
Randal Grichuk become a standout centerfielder and no one asks about Brandon Nimmo anymore.
Ezequiel Tovar becomes the Rookie of the Year.
Is any of that too much to ask?