Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
On Tuesday, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort spent some time answering fans’ questions on twitter, and he said some interesting things. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and revealing things he said:
"[Jon] Gray and [Eddie] Butler could potentially be pitching at Coors Field by late summer."
This is big, because previously I thought that the Rockies would likely move their young pitching stars up slowly. Dick Monfort dents that theory with this quote, and it’s exciting to know that we could see Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler on the Rockies as soon as this summer. I would advise Monfort and the Rockies management to be careful here, because, and I know I have said it before but it is worth saying again, these two pitchers are the third and fourth most important players in the Rockies system behind Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, because good pitching is so rare for the Colorado Rockies.
"LeMahieu is very competitive, extremely good defensively. Hustles. If he hits he’s an all-star. A winning-type player."
There is currently a battle going on between D.J. LeMahieu and Josh Rutledge over who will start at second base. It seems that Dick Monfort holds LeMahieu in high regard, although he of course wouldn’t criticize his players publicly (some owners do that, but Monfort isn’t usually that kind of owner). Fellow staff writer Nick Herrera looked at the battle for second base, and it seems pretty even right now, but Dick Monfort reinforces what we already knew; LeMahieu is a great fielder, but his hitting holds him back.
"Stubbs is a great defensive player. Hits left-handers. Has power and can steal bases. His issue’s been RHP."
I think that Dick Monfort has suggested here that Drew Stubbs will be a platoon left fielder for the Rockies this season. Monfort was surprisingly blunt in his assessment of Stubbs’ talents, and he is pretty accurate. Stubbs’ achilles heel has always been hitting right handed pitching, and I don’t think that he will have to do much of that this year, with a handful of other players (Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson are the two big ones) who can hit righties better than Stubbs can. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stubbs is the leadoff hitter against left handed pitchers.
"(Charlie)Blackmon/(Corey)Dickerson Cuddyer CarGo Tulo Morneau Rosario Arenado DJ/Rutledge Pitcher"
Here is, perhaps, Dick Monfort’s biggest nugget of information yet. This is his projected opening day lineup, and there are some surprises. My thought that Nolan Arenado would hit second seems to be wrong, at least for now, as the owner has the third baseman buried at seventh (I still think that Arenado will have moved up in the lineup by midseason). The two open positions are left field and second base, and that’s reinforced here. Overall, I like the complexion of this lineup, although I would prefer to see one of the better hitters, like Carlos Gonzalez, hitting at the top of the lineup. For the record, this is how I want to see the Rockies open the season:
7. Blackmon/Dickerson (I have no opinion here)
"Hawkins still throws 94 mph. Excellent control. Not everyday closer, but he is a leader on and off the field."
I really appreciate this one from Dick Monfort, because it addresses an article I wrote just a few days ago about LaTroy Hawkins. In summation, I said that Hawkins makes sense as a signing because he adds bullpen depth and because he will be a good mentor for Rex Brothers. I didn’t think he would make it through the whole season as the closer. This is exactly what I wanted to here from Dick Monfort. I care more about Hawkins pitching well and being a leader for Brothers and the other young pitchers on this team than I do about him racking up the saves. As time has gone by since the signing, I have really warmed to the signing of Hawkins.
"With a healthy roster, 90 wins"
So Dick Monfort thinks that, if everybody stays healthy, the Colorado Rockies will win 90 games. It’s interesting, but it isn’t likely to happen. First of all, it’s unreasonable to expect a healthy roster on any team, and it’s especially unreasonable when the two best players on the team- Gonzalez and Tulowitzki- have had extensive injury histories. Second of all, Monfort is probably overly optimistic about the overall talent of this team. The offense is good and the pitching is improving, but the rotation isn’t there yet. I’d be happy with a winning season this year and the excitement of having Gray and Butler in the rotation next year, which is when I think the Rockies can start thinking about the playoffs.
Overall, Dick Monfort was optimistic about the Rockies but also very candid. I learned something from his twitter sitdown and appreciate Monfort’s honesty. Can’t wait for the season!