Colorado Rockies: What if Stanton and Ohtani land in the NL West?
By Kevin Henry
Last season, the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers all punched their ticket to the postseason, giving the National League West three playoff teams. Is it possible that the division could be even stronger in 2018?
Rumors have Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton playing for the Dodgers or San Francisco Giants in 2018 while Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani has narrowed his potential team list down to seven, including the Giants, Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
It is a possibility that the Giants or Dodgers could land both players. It is a possibility that the two teams could land one player each. It is a possibility that the Padres may make the biggest free agent splash in the entire division. It is a possibility that neither player could sign with anyone in the National League West. That is what will make these next few weeks so fascinating.
It is worth contemplating a National League West with the two players added into it. Certainly either one will boost the Dodgers into a heavy favorite to repeat as not only division champs but also National League champions. If Los Angeles were to land both … let’s not even think about that possibility.
OK, that’s a quick view of the Dodgers. But how would a Stanton and Ohtani invasion affect Colorado’s other California division rivals?
Let’s look at San Diego first. News broke out of San Diego yesterday that Wil Myers is willing to move to the outfield if the Padres signed free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer so there is more going on in San Diego than just the Ohtani lottery. According to which report you read, the Padres could land Hosmer and Ohtani and certainly boost their outlook. A Hosmer/Ohtani/Myers triumvirate would be interesting but is it enough to boost San Diego into a contender role? More than likely, no. The Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks, on paper, still seem to have more talent. The Padres team is still young and has a lot of question marks in a rotation that featured Colorado cast-off Jordan Lyles toward the end of last season.
How about San Francisco? The Giants struggled mightily last season (64-98) and has a lot of money invested in cornerstone players like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence and Johnny Cueto. However, the Giants have never been shy about spending or making moves and are currently one of the favorites to land Stanton, which would be a boost for a team that finished last in the league last season in home runs and OPS. However, plenty of reports question if the Giants have a deep enough farm system to entice Miami into a trade. Other reports say Joe Panik might be included in a deal, who hit .288 for the Giants last season after All-Star and Gold Glove seasons in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
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One article argued that Miami couldn’t win last season with Stanton in the lineup and the Marlins had as much talent as the Giants do heading into this campaign. If the Giants land both big free agents, that changes the game. Adding one to the mix may provide a little pop and nothing more. Again, this is a team that finished 17 games under .500 last season and it is a year older.
Will the face of the National League West change before next season? It is very possible. However, none of the scenarios listed above involving the two biggest names of the offseason are etched in stone and it is a real possibility that Ohtani and Stanton may not be in the division next season. For a Rockies team that returns much of its core but still has questions at catcher and in the bullpen, that may not be a bad thing at all.
Next: The trades and signings we believe would benefit the Rockies in 2018
The biggest news Colorado may make this offseason is re-signing Jonathan Lucroy and coming to terms with Greg Holland or Wade Davis for the closer position. While those moves may not make the waves that landing a Stanton or Ohtani would, it would be enough to keep the Rockies competitive for their second consecutive return to “Rocktober.”