Earlier within the offseason, it was reported that the Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers was a reputation mentioned in commerce talks with the Marlins centering round Miami’s cadre of controllable beginning pitchers. The curiosity from each events was comprehensible. The Marlins, deep in each beginning pitching prospects and massive league starters, are gentle on place participant depth and in dire want of augmentation to the lineup. The Rockies, conversely, have struggled to develop pitching expertise however have infield depth each when it comes to present massive leaguers and MLB-ready prospects. Pitching is a perennial Achilles heel for the Rockies. A commerce appears wise sufficient on paper.
However, a deal has not come collectively. Rodgers stays in Denver, and the Marlins proceed to debate their stockpile of arms with groups all through the league. Perhaps the 2 events do not see eye-to-eye on Rodgers’ worth. Perhaps they disagree on the worth of Paul Lopez, Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera and Trevor Rogers.
The lack of an settlement between the 2 events doesn’t imply that there isn’t a sense in a commerce of Rodgers. While it is true that the Rockies do not feel any urgency to commerce the previous No. 3 general choose, who has three years of membership management remaining, that want for pitching nonetheless persists. And, no less than on paper, Colorado is positioned to resist the lack of Rodgers.
Beyond the truth that Ryan McMahon can deal with third base or second base, the Rockies have prospects Ezequiel Tovar successfully prepared for a Major League look. Assuming Tovar handles shortstop and McMahon is comfy taking part in both third or second base, the free-agent market provides palatable alternative choices if Rodgers have been to be subtracted from the infield. Brian Anderson and Josh Harrison are simply two free brokers who might assist fill a short-term void whereas the Rockies await the event of prospects like Warming Bernabel and Adael Amadorwho could possibly be MLB-ready by 2024 or 2025.
The easy truth of the matter is that Colorado is not prone to contend in 2023 — not with a deep Padres membership and a perennial (albeit considerably diminished) playoff menace within the Dodgers lurking atop the division. The Giants have not essentially made the kind of waves that’ll make them a division contender, however they’re most likely a greater membership now than on the finish of the 2022 season after signing Mitch Haniger, Michael Comfort, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling and Taylor Rogers (whereas additionally shedding a number of key items — none larger than Carlos Rodon). The D-backs are extra of a protracted shot to contend, however they’ve added some veteran assist and can graduate no fewer than three high-end prospects to the Majors in 2023 (Gabriel Moreno, Corbin Carroll, Brandon Pfaadt).
Bottom line: a contending season for the Rockies is sort of unattainable to think about. Rockies followers and definitely their entrance workplace/possession could disagree, but it surely’s robust to see how the additions of Pierce Johnson and Brent Suterand the re-signing of Jose Urena dramatically alter the fortunes of a staff that completed 68-94 in 2022.
That grim actuality doesn’t suggest the Rockies ought to merely promote Rodgers and others with three or fewer years of membership management for the best supply, however Rodgers particularly is ready the place he might maybe fetch appreciable worth. The free-agent market this winter featured 4 star-caliber shortstops, however one of many three (Xander Bogaerts) went to a membership (the Padres) that did not actually have a clear want for a shortstop. Carlos Correa took a beard, winding highway again to Minneapolis. That signing, plus the Twins’ acquisition of Kyle Farmer, took two viable shortstop choices for events and positioned them on the identical roster. Meanwhile, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson wound up in Philadelphia and Chicago (the north aspect), respectively. That sequence of occasions left a number of golf equipment in want of center infield depth standing empty-handed.
Rodgers, 26, is not Correa, Bogaerts, Turner or Swanson — or no less than he hasn’t been but. He’s a former No. 3 general choose and was as soon as one of many sport’s high 15 general prospects in response to a number of shops, however his efficiency thus far has not fairly justified that hype. Still, he is in his prime and has three years of management, defensive aptitude at each middle-infield positions and a robust batted-ball profile that could possibly be a portent for additional success.
Over the previous two seasons, Rodgers has turned in a mixed .274/.326/.434 batting line with 28 homers, 51 doubles and 6 triples in 996 journeys to the plate. The indisputable fact that he performs his dwelling video games at Coors Field signifies that park- and league-adjusted metrics like wRC+ weight that offensive efficiency at 5 % beneath league common. Rodgers, certainly, has struggled on the highway in his profession, however we have seen loads of examples of Rockies gamers with pronounced home-road splits leaving Denver and discovering success elsewhere. There have been myriad research carried out concerning the method wherein taking part in dwelling video games at altitude can influence efficiency on the highway, however shifting out of an at-altitude dwelling discipline surroundings can counteract a few of these struggles. Matt Holliday, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and others have left the Rockies and gone on to do effectively in different cities.
Beyond a usually stable string of ends in Colorado, Rodgers possesses an intriguing batted-ball profile. Statcast ranks him effectively above common when it comes to hard-hit fee, common exit velocity, anticipated batting common, chase fee and whiff fee. Rodgers does not draw walks in droves, however he additionally has plus bat-to-ball expertise (17.6% strikeout fee), not often chases off the plate and hits the ball fairly laborious (90 mph common exit velocity, 45.9% hard-hit fee). It’s honest to surprise if there’s one other offensive gear to be unlocked.
Defensively, Rodgers grades wherever from above-average to elite. He’s spent the majority of his massive league profession at second base, however that is largely been in deference to Trevor Story. Rodgers posted a mammoth 22 Defensive Runs Saved and eight.0 Ultimate Zone Rating at second base in 2022, and whereas Statcast’s Outs Above Average took a extra measured view, that metric nonetheless rated him as three outs higher than a normal second baseman. In 220 innings at shortstop, he posted respectable marks in DRS (1), UZR (1.7) and OAA (-1).
Whether different golf equipment view Rodgers as a possible shortstop who’s been blocked at his place or because the high-end second base defender he was in 2022, he has clear worth. Rodgers has confirmed able to hitting for a stable common and thus delivering a top quality OBP (even regardless of pedestrian stroll charges). He’s proven some energy, however his exit velocity and hard-hit fee recommend there could possibly be extra within the tank. He agreed to a $2.7MM wage earlier as we speak — partly, a mirrored image of accidents which have slowed his accumulation of counting stats. And, he is controllable by the 2025 season.
All in all, it is a good bundle that different groups absolutely covet. It’s comprehensible that the Rockies can be reluctant to half with Rodgers, notably in the event that they imagine it is attainable he’ll take one other step ahead in 2023. General supervisor Bill Schmidt was the staff’s scouting director when Rodgers was drafted, in spite of everything, so it would be no shock to listen to that Schmidt believed Rodgers hadn’t but reached his peak.
At the identical time, the Rockies are in a troublesome spot with regard to their pitching workers. German Marquez is getting into the ultimate assured season of his contract and simply turned in a career-worst exhibiting in 2022. Kyle Freeland responded to his shocking contract extension with 174 2/3 innings of 4.53 ERA ball. Antonio Senzatela will miss the start of the season following a ligament tear in his knee, and he’d struggled within the wake of his personal extension even previous to that harm. The third, fourth and fifth spots within the Rockies’ rotation are prone to be held down by the aforementioned journeyman Urena, Austin Gomber (5.56 ERA in 124 2/3 innings in 2022) and Ryan Feltner (5.83 ERA in 97 1/3 innings). Pitching reinforcements from the farm don’t look like on the horizon.
That stated, there are nonetheless loads of groups with middle-infield wants and younger pitching to dangle. The Red Sox are one membership that involves thoughts, however every of the White Sox, Angels, Braves and Orioles might use a second baseman and/or shortstop. Most of these golf equipment have fascinating younger pitching to supply in change, whether or not the Rox desire a right away rotation possibility or somebody who might be a part of the workers in 2024, when high prospects like Zac Veen, Drew Romo and the beforehand talked about Tovar have a greater probability at contributing.
Rockies followers and people who’ve adopted the staff lately know that the membership does not precisely have a repute for promoting gamers at peak worth (or promoting in any respect). The Rox famously held onto each Story and Jon Gray quite than cashing them in for prospects of their strolling years. Gray was misplaced for nothing after the staff declined to make a qualifying supply. Colorado declined to commerce both Daniel Bard p CJ Cron when each have been leases at current deadlines, as an alternative opting to increase each gamers. Owner Dick Monfort is fatally optimistic about his membership’s possibilities of profitable, and whereas it is admirable to repeatedly make win-now strikes within the face of long-shot (at greatest) odds within the division, logically there ought to come a degree the place alternate paths are wanted to be thought of.
Based on their historical past, the Rockies most likely aren’t going to be notably amenable to Rodgers provides. Interested groups would want to pay a steep worth to pry him away, and doing so can be a guess on his underlying batted-ball profile, his defensive expertise and his knack for contact to manifest in a brand new degree of efficiency. There’s actually danger, however given the dearth of middle-infield choices in free company and elsewhere on the commerce market, there are few different locations for groups needing center infield assist to look. The Rockies aren’t going to contend in 2023, and three years of Rodgers might deliver them some desperately wanted younger pitching. Someone ought to make them a proposal that even a usually conservative entrance workplace/possession group would have a tough time refusing.