Before the arrival of DJ LeMahieu, the Colorado Rockies have had a revolving door at second base. In the years before LeMahieu took over regular full-time duties in 2013, from Eric Young to Mike Lansing to Clint Barmes, there have been 12 different everyday starters at second.
However, with this being the final year of LeMahieu’s contract, the future of second base for the Rockies may hinge on a different position … shortstop.
In any other year, re-signing a 29-year-old two-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover, and a one-time batting champ would be a top priority. Except the Rockies have two other large contracts (Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado) in mind at the same time as LeMahieu’s.
The biggest factor determining LeMahieu’s future could be the play of Trevor Story. After exploding into the league hitting .272 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI in an injury-shortened rookie year, Story’s numbers slipped to .239 with 24 homers and 82 RBI … and a National League-leading 191 strikeouts in 2017.
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If Story is able to bounce back from his sophomore slump and solidify his place in the lineup at shortstop, the Rockies will be forced to move Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies top prospect and ranked 29th in all of baseball according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
Like Ryan McMahon, who switched positions from third to first because his path to the Majors was blocked for obvious reasons (Arenado), Rodgers’ fast track to the majors may be shorter by switching to second. By moving the top prospect to second base, the need for LeMahieu’s future services would decrease significantly.
But if Story struggles this year, his days in a Rockies uniform could be numbered, clearing the way for Rodgers to stay at short and increasing the pressure to re-sign LeMahieu.
This spring, Bud Black will get a good idea at what the future holds with Rodgers getting his first spring training action as a non-roster invitee. But no matter the success Brendan Rodgers might have this year, the fate of DJ LeMahieu in purple pinstripes may ultimately rest in the hands of Trevor Story.