Who’s on First? Options for the Colorado Rockies in 2017
Mike Napoli is another guy that fits the right-handed mold the Rockies are likely looking for. He played well for the Indians in 2016, hitting 34 home runs and slashed .239/.335/.465. Not quite the offensive production you would get from Encarnacion but still a guy that can supply a lot of quality at bats.
Other positives for Napoli are that he would likely be willing to sign a shorter deal, opening the door for Ryan McMahon, who continues to progress towards being a full-time first baseman. He also did not receive a qualifying offer from the Indians so the Rockies would not have to forfeit a draft pick.
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The league leader for home runs, Mark Trumbo, is a third option and one the Rockies have recently been connected to. His 47 home runs in 2016 were good enough for the lead league and he tallied a strong offensive season overall hitting .256/.316/.533.
He is likely to command a large contract but his ability to play first base and a corner field position could add some versatility for the Rockies down the road. His defense is a question mark as he actually played mostly in the outfield or DH for the Orioles last year. He also received a qualifying offer so signing him would cost Colorado’s 11th overall pick this year.
So what if the Rockies could sign a guy that like Trumbo led his league in home runs in 2016? Remember that Chris Carter tied Nolan Arenado for the national league lead at 41 last year,and he was recently non-tendered by the Brewers leaving him as a free agent.
The negative side of Carter is that he strikes out, a ton. He had 206 whiffs in 644 at-bats in 2016, meaning almost one third of his plate appearances ended in a strikeout.
The positives are he can crush the ball with an OPS of .821, just a couple of points below Trumbo. His OBP was also slightly higher than Trumbo’s at .321. He has shown a fair amount of plate discipline and his career OBP is almost .100 points higher than his career average. He also started 160 games at first base in 2016, which gives him the most experience out of all the options. Defense is important especially considering the level of defense the Rockies’ other infielders play at. He would not cost a draft pick and likely would not cost as much as Trumbo.
Next: Our Exclusive Chat with MLB Insider Chris Cotillo
My vote is Carter. He hit one of the hardest balls I have ever seen at Coors Field in the last series of the year and I would love to see more dingers from him as a member of the Rockies in 2017.