Apr 14, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher N. Hundley (4) celebrates their 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants with releif pitcher A. Ottavino (0) at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies’ starting catcher is now done for the season after straining his neck last week — an unfortunate end to a great first season in Denver.
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Things didn’t exactly end for Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley like they were supposed to this year. He’s on the 60-day disabled list and done for the season with a cervical (neck!) sprain.
Garneau’s had some big hits, Murphy is a prospect I can’t wait to watch, and Rosario is… um… Rosario is entertaining back there. Sure. But the real story here is Hundley, who deserves a tip of the cap for his work this year behind the plate.
There’s been some debate as to exactly how good Hundley has been, but he’s surely (a) an upgrade defensively over what the Colorado Rockies were doing last year, (b) a calming influence on a very young pitching staff despite little improvement on the mound this year, (c) a smart veteran who can now impart wisdom on Garneau and Murphy, and (d) enjoying a nice year for himself offensively.
For all those reasons and then some, it’s tough to see Hundley’s year end so quickly, and with such little fanfare. He was playing every day, then his neck kind of hurt, then it became a sprain, and then, boom. It’s easier to put him on the 60-day disabled list and call up another catcher for continuity than it is to play the waiting game every day for the next week or two.
Hey, I get it, and I’m not knocking the move to end his season — it was the right call, considering the Colorado Rockies are playing for nothing. It allows us to get a look at Tom Murphy. And it allows Hundley to get a jump on his rehab and conditioning this winter. For him, (and Michael McKenry, too), it’s just unfortunate to be unable to finish what he started and see the season out until the last day. But, hey, such is baseball.
I’m the absolute biggest proponent ever of the Colorado Rockies trading away every single veteran this winter and getting really young, loading up on prospects, and doing a full-scale, complete top-to-bottom re-build. They probably won’t realistically go that extreme, but they ought to get close.
The one veteran they shouldn’t yet trade, though, is Hundley. McKenry and Garneau are better suited as backups, and Murphy likely isn’t ready to step into an everyday role at the start of 2016. That’ll happen one day (ideally Opening Day 2017!) but that day is probably not this coming April.
There will be a lot that we will be able to criticize Jeff Bridich for over the winter, but he made a great move signing Hundley at a bargain price last year, and deserves the credit for that now and in the future. It’s my hope that Nick Hundley gets healthy soon and returns to the Colorado Rockies in the spring, ready for another year developing the staff and pleasantly surprising us at the plate.