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Las Vegas – It can be a tough balance for any professional sports team between having faith in the guys already on your roster versus pursuing every possible addition or change that can make you better.
The Colorado Rockies organization find themselves at a fork in the road in this regard.
They simply will not be the same team in 2018 that they were in 2019.
Key pieces in Adam Ottavino and DJ LeMahieu are almost certainly going to be seen in new dreds next year and valuable veterans Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra are similarly likely to find a new place to dwell.
On the plus side for Colorado, they have plenty of in-house options to address each of those individual concerns, meaning they don’t need to target anything specific.
Ottavino’s production would be the hardest to replace if we are simply projecting forward based on the 2018 season. He was by far the Rockies best reliever in a bullpen that underwhelmed for most of the campaign.
It is reasonable to expect that veterans like Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn, and Chris Rusin won’t have the kind of disatrous years that they did in ’18 and the mid-season addition of Seungwhan Oh and late emergence from Scott Oberg have the club feeling like they can absorb the loss of Ottavino.
Though, when I asked GM Jeff Bridich about continuing to tool around with a bullpen – an area I noted he had already spent a great deal of time on – he responded by noting that “time” was an interesting choice of words (implying perhaps that money and energy might have been a bit more accurate) but would not rule out making further additions.
One thing that has been absolutely clear since the opening moments of the Winter Meetings, however, is that Bridich will be most aggressive in going after offensive help.
The questions remains, though, about whether or not any potential moves will be simply to replace what the Rockies are losing, or attempts to alter the identity of the team in some way.
When asked how comfortable he would be starting out the 2019 season with the roster he has at this moment, manager Bud Black responded, “I think very comfortable. We have a lot of guys back from a team that we feel is very competitive.” Then he added, without prompting, ” But I do think that we will — I do think that will not be the case.”
Black appears to be of the belief that Colorado will make a move significant enough that the club cannot be accused of standing pat.
Rumors began swirling right after this conversation that the Rockies have interest in a number of first baseman including Wil Myers, Carlos Santana, Jose Abreu, and Edwin Encarnacion, though sources tell BSN Denver that there is nothing to the Myers talk. But those kinds of names are intriguing and show that the Rockies are willing to be flexible with their lineups and platoons if they need to be.
Bridich later commented that progress has been made, though he declined to go into specifics, on both the free agent and trade markets and that he is feeling good about how things are progressing so far this offseason, even if the fans wish they were progressing a bit quicker.
While simultaneously giving a vote of confidence to the young players Black has already begun to see shine, it is clear that Colorado is ready to take a big step forward, continuing their ascent from afterthought to perennial contenders for the postseason.
Now, they look for the player, or players, who can get them to the World Series. Watch this space.