Colorado Rockies taking big chances by not taking any chances
By Kevin Henry
Another free agent slugger went off the market today, much to the head-scratching of many Colorado Rockies fans. Lucas Duda signed a $3.5 million deal with the Kansas City Royals, eliminating another enticing alternative for the Rockies at first base.
It’s time to face the facts, Rockies fans. The Colorado team that came into spring training is the same one that will leave spring training. That means that Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich and skipper Bud Black are content to ride the wave of young talent that has been grown through the Rockies farm system and mesh it with All-Stars such as Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado.
Are the Rockies taking chances by riding their young hitters like Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia, David Dahl, Mike Tauchman and others into the season? Absolutely. There is no assurance that this plan will work. Those rookies and young players will have a lot to prove and a lot riding on their shoulders as Colorado shoots for back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time in franchise history.
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However, remember this, bringing in a veteran can be a risk as well. Would Logan Morrison or Duda bring some pop to first base? Absolutely. Can you imagine if the Rockies had landed a J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich or Lorenzo Cain in free agency? The outfield would have had some more muscle for sure.
But there are giveaways that come with signing veteran free agents. First, there is no guarantee that they would produce any more than McMahon or Dahl. And, while Duda’s contract was not pricey at all, signing one of the aforementioned outfielders would have taken away money from any contract extensions for Arenado, Blackmon or LeMahieu. Those three are some of the cornerstones of the franchise, with or without rookies surrounding them on the diamond and in the lineup.
Remember this as well, the Rockies team that enters Opening Day will likely be different by the time the trade deadline has passed as well. Colorado got better last season by signing Pat Neshek and Jonathan Lucroy before the trade deadline passed. The same will likely happen again this season if the Rockies are in contention for the playoffs.
And yes, that’s an if. It’s an if because Colorado’s young players will have to step up and put together some of the numbers that a Duda, Morrison or Cain might have produced at Coors Field. If the Rockies can get that from this next generation of players, they’re going to be OK. If not, there will be plenty of “hindsight is 20-20” happening on Rockies Twitter and in the stands at 20th and Blake.
Next: Tapia getting plenty of chances to take over in right field
Is it a risk? Absolutely. Colorado is taking a big chance by not taking chances. However, you grow prospects through your farm system in the hopes that one day they will make a difference for your franchise. That is exactly what the Rockies seemingly are banking on in 2018.