How to Operate an MLB Franchise in Denver

Ever since their inception in 1993, the Colorado Rockies have had a considerable amount of trouble in fielding successful teams, making it past the first round of the playoffs just once. Many claim that it is impossible to field a winning team in a city with such thin air, like Denver, however that idea is simply untrue. The biggest problem with the Rockies over the past few seasons is the fact that the front office has been putting money into all of the wrong places.

The Rockies’ strategy has been to put money into the bullpen. The problem with that is the fact that relievers are so volatile. If I was running the Colorado Rockies, my focus would be on acquiring ground ball starting pitchers and inexpensive power hitters.

At this point, the Rockies don’t have a ton of flexibility; they have splurged over the past few months signing Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and Charlie Blackmon to rather large deals, so in this article, we’re going to focus on how they should have gone about the offseason coming off of a disappointing Wild Card loss. Furthermore, let’s say that the Rockies re-signed Jake McGee for argument’s sake.

The first player that I would have pursued is Marcus Stroman. Stroman posted a 62.1 GB% while maintaining above-average control in 2017 and at just 26, with three additional seasons of team control, would have been a very solid piece that would have helped the Rockies establish themselves as legitimate threats in the National League West. I would be comfortable giving the Jays a package of Riley Pint, Tyler Nevin, and Mike Nikorak.

Instead of building their clubs with their current bullpen-first blueprint, the @Rockies would be better off with this plan.Click To Tweet

If I’m being honest, Pint has looked to me like a bust since he was drafted. Nevertheless, he is still ranked among the league wide top-100 top prospects, and it would make sense to trade him while he has any value. Nevin is a very good hitter, however is limited defensively. He looks like a solid designated hitter. As for Nikorak, he looked rather good last season, however comes with a considerable amount of risk. It’s a very high upside package, however controllable starters are the most valuable assets in the game.

Secondly, I would look at teams who play in pitcher-friendly parks, such as the San Diego Padres. When a guy whose main tool is power plays in a pitcher friendly park, it causes their power numbers to appear considerably worse than they actually are. I would have been on the horn with AJ Preller immediately following the Eric Hosmer signing in an attempt to acquire Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe hit 26 home runs in 122 games in 2017, however if he plays half of his games at Coors, that number could shoot up. Other guys who I would have considered are Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller, Mark Reynolds, Danny Valencia, and Mike Ford.

By making these moves, the organization probably would have had the opportunity to pay star third baseman Nolan Arenado, and build around he and Stroman. Despite the Stroman package, the Rockies would still have David Dahl, Brendan Rodgers, Ryan McMahon, and more to fill out the roster.

This is what the roster would look like:

Catcher: Chris Iannetta (I liked this move)
First Base: Ian Desmond (Shifts to right in 2019, Ryan McMahon replacement)
Second Base: DJ LaMahieu (Brendan Rodgers, 2019 replacement)
Shortstop: Trevor Story
Third Base: Nolan Arenado
Left Field: Hunter Renfroe
Center Field: Charlie Blackmon (David Dahl, 2019 replacement)
Right Field: Gerrardo Parra (Ian Desmond, 2019 replacement)
Starting Rotation: Marcus Stroman, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeman, Yency Almonte, Chad Bettis
Key Relief Arms: Jake McGee, Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn, Chris Rusin

Not only is this roster talented, however it is controllable and not overly expensive. This line-up could be a shoe-in for the first NL Wild Card spot.

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