Cristhian Adames Ought To Be The Colorado Rockies’ Starting Shortstop
By Bobby DeMuro
Sep 2, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter C. Adames (18) hits a single during the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies have a shortstop (Second baseman? Infielder?) of the future on the active roster right now. It’s time to play him every day.
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The Colorado Rockies are trying to figure out the future at shortstop after Troy Tulowitzki‘s departure in a blockbuster trade this summer, and as of now that future is still a little cloudy.
They have an expensive nominal starter in Jose Reyes, though he likely won’t be around much longer in Denver. They have a prospect in Cristhian Adames who was named All-Pacific Coast League this summer and is hitting well in the big leagues in limited at-bats. And they have a probable shortstop of the future in Trevor Story, fresh off a promising season split between AA and AAA.
Let’s leave out Story for now, since we haven’t yet seen him play in the big leagues and he very well may start 2016 in AAA to develop a bit more. Instead, for now, it’s time to give Cristhian Adames the everyday at-bats at shortstop and let him sink or swim with a big league starter’s role.
All Adames has done is hit since his recall, and even though it’s a very small sample size (7-for-15 with a double and two RBIs), it should keep earning him starts at shortstop. There’s no point in playing Reyes very much.
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Look, I know I’ve written before that Reyes can audition this month for teams who could acquire him over the winter, and I guess that’s still true, but let’s be honest about Jose: he’s due about $5.6 billion over the rest of his contact (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration), and no matter what trade package he’s put in or what suitor calls, Colorado will have to eat a big chunk of money on that one. It’s time to own it.
So why lie to ourselves now with the idea that Reyes is somehow going to re-build his value over the next month to the point where a team takes on $50-60 million for a shortstop who turns 33 next season? Reyes isn’t awful, to be fair. He still does a lot of good things. And there will be a team that wants him this winter; the Rockies must move him. But he’s not going to re-build his value in the next three weeks considering he has yet to do so in his first six weeks in Denver.
He won’t leave general manager Jeff Bridich with a sell-high option this winter, like certain other Rockies on the trading block, and he clearly doesn’t fit into the Rockies’ future. So let’s get on with it right now, and legitimately audition Cristhian Adames on whether he can handle everyday duties at shortstop.
There are (at least) two benefits to this, both for 2016: (a) we get to see whether Adames can handle a big league gig (as a starter or in a bench role), and (b) the future will become slightly more clear in the impending position battle between Adames and Story.
At some point in the very near future, the Rockies are going to have Adames and Story, both natural shortstops with little-to-no Major League experience, competing for the club’s starting job. That’s a tall task, especially for the two guys replacing Tulo. (Forget Reyes; Tulo was traded in part to clear the path for one of these two.)
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The more the Rockies can learn about Adames in the next three weeks, the more they can handicap the Adames-Story position battle that will come at some point next year. And thus, the less likely the club will be caught off guard should Adames or Story not perform to expectation in 2016.
If Adames does well at shortstop this month, hey, he can hold the job while Story is brought along more slowly in a lower-pressure utility role. If Adames fails this month, well, at least now we’ll know, and Story’s path to the starting role can be adjusted accordingly.
Both of those hypothetical results — and any others involving Adames in the everyday job — avoid one potentially bad 2016 outcome: sticking two rookie prospects in a position battle for which neither is truly prepared.
That ends badly a lot of different ways, one of which involves both Story and Adames failing in the big leagues, and neither one being worth much in a trade. (And suddenly your new starting shortstop would be… wait for it… Daniel Descalso!!)
Sure, both young players could still fail (or both could be very good!), but giving Adames the every day at-bats the rest of this year at least hedges the Rockies’ bets heading into a 2016 season that will see the team get much younger as they (ought to) start a full-scale build for the future.
In other words, I could not care less about Reyes’ future in Denver (it’s non-existent), or his trade value (he makes way too much money relative to his age and ability). Let’s see this for what it is, and instead figure out what the Colorado Rockies have at shortstop for the future.
Giving Cristhian Adames the starting shortstop job right now — a gig that he’s rightfully earned — is one important step as the Colorado Rockies begin to figure out an important role on the roster for years to come.