Are the Rox serious about re-signing Corey Dickerson?
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Could the Rockies make a move for Trevor Bauer? The Dodgers don’t seem to want him, and he may be radioactive. That could be enough to entice an elite starting pitcher to sign with the Rockies.
— Brian, Highlands Ranch
I believe the Rockies will not sign Bauer or attempt to trade for him.
Here’s some context for those who are unfamiliar. When an arbitrator reduced Bauer’s suspension from 324 to 194 games three days before Christmas, it opened a 14-day window for the Dodgers to decide whether to reinstate or release him. The Dodgers have until Friday to make a decision.
Bauer is set to earn $22.5 million in 2023, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
“In considering their options, the Dodgers also could be quietly evaluating whether any other team might be willing to trade for Bauer,” Shaikin wrote. “The other teams could wait to see whether the Dodgers release him, in which case they could sign Bauer for the league minimum of $720,000, with the Dodgers responsible for the remainder of his salary.”
I can’t imagine owner Dick Monfort letting Bauer play for his team. When veteran shortstop Jose Reyes returned from injury in June 2016, the Rockies immediately designated him for assignment. On Oct. 31, 2015, Reyes was arrested for domestic assault at a luxury hotel in Hawaii, and MLB suspended him for 51 games.
How do you see the outfield playing time shaking out with the current roster?
— Tyler, Denver
Tyler, when the Rockies report to spring training in mid-February, that will be a key question. The club appears unlikely to sign the left-handed-hitting center fielder who topped its offseason wish list.
If things stay the same, here’s how I see this season playing out:
Kris Bryant will get the majority of the playing time in left field if he stays healthy, with Sean Bouchard serving as the primary backup. Randal Grichuk and Yonathan Daza will primarily share the center. Grichuk, Charlie Blackmon, newcomer Nolan Jones, and Michael Toglia will all play right field. Toglia will also play first base. In the final year of his contract, Blackmon will be Colorado’s primary designated hitter.
Are the Rox serious about re-signing Corey Dickerson? Is he really worth it?
— Dorothy Star, Frisco
Dorothy, that possibility was mentioned in a recent column by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. “Colorado has interest in a lefty-hitting OF and may consider bringing back Dickerson, who began his career with the Rockies,” Heyman wrote.
I haven’t heard anything about Colorado wanting to bring back Dickerson, who has previously played for the Rockies, Rays, Pirates, Marlins, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Cardinals.
Dickerson is not the answer to the Rockies’ long-term offensive problems, and I don’t think he’s any better than Randal Grichuk.
Do you believe (general manager) Bill Schmidt’s bamboo theory that there is a lot of growth going on that we can’t see, or do you think he’s making stuff up?
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— Josh, Aurora
Josh, Schmidt isn’t blowing smoke, in my opinion, because he truly believes that. But I understand fans’ skepticism because it’s one thing to talk about talent in the minors and quite another to see players blossom in the big leagues.
Schmidt stated the following during an interview with the MLB Network during the winter meetings: “We’re not where we need to be. But I use the bamboo theory. There’s a lot of stuff growing underneath that people don’t see, and it’s gonna pop here. When it does, we’re going to be good.”
There is no doubt that Colorado’s farm system has greatly improved in recent years. In fact, MLB Pipeline ranked the Rockies’ system as 24th prior to the start of the 2022 season, but it is now ranked ninth. Baseball America and other minor-league observers see potential in the Rockies’ system as well.
However, as I’ve previously stated, even if young position players break out in the coming seasons, the Rockies lack the quality pitching depth to pair with their young players in the field.
Patrick, the early results of the Hall of Fame voting appear to be favorable to Todd Helton. Do you think he’ll be able to make it this year?
— Ryan, Fort Collins
Ryan, Helton is rapidly ascending the charts. That’s encouraging, but I doubt he’ll make it until 2024 or 25. Helton received 76.4% of the vote after 110 ballots were made public, according to Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Tracker. He needs 75% to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’s on the verge, but his numbers are starting to dwindle.
According to history, many of the ballots that are not made public come from very strict voters who limit their votes to four or five players. That will almost certainly hurt Helton. I expect him to get around 65% this year, up from 52% last year. I’d love to be surprised when the class of 2023 is announced on January 24.
What will Michael Toglia’s role on the team be next year? He’s the future first baseman, but C.J. Cron is already there and our biggest bat. Is Toglia going to play both outfield and first base? Are we exchanging Cron? Trade deadline bait is written all over him (final year on his contract, perfect as a hired bat for some contender).
— Ron, Parker
Toglia is projected as the “future first baseman,” Ron, but he still has a lot to prove. He has Gold Glove tools at first base, but his swing still has holes, as evidenced by his. In his first season, he had a slash line of 216/.275/.378 and a strikeout rate of 36.7% in 120 plate appearances.
Toglia will likely see time at first base and right field because the Rockies need to get him some playing time, either in the majors or at Triple-A.
Cron, on the other hand, I expected the Rockies to try to trade him this offseason to make room for Toglia and Elehuris Montero. It could still happen, but other teams have shown little interest in Cron. If Cron has a hot bat next summer, that could change.
Do you believe the Rockies will pursue a player like Adam Duvall? We need more power in the lineup, and he appears to be a good DH bat for us. What do you think?
— Marshall, Parker
I don’t think Duvall would be a good fit in Colorado. He’s 34 years old and is coming off wrist surgery, which ended his season last July. He also slashed. In the first few months of the 2022 season, he hit 213/.276/.401 while striking out 32.1% of the time.
Duval does have power, but I’d rather see the Rockies focus on developing young players like Zac Veen. Colorado will not be a playoff contender in 2023, so signing Duvall makes little sense to me.