Colorado Rockies: LeMahieu’s Future Hinges on Story’s Success Revisited

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies doubles Geraldo Parra #8 (not pictured) in the third inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies doubles Geraldo Parra #8 (not pictured) in the third inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu is in the final year of his contract and the Rockies will soon have to decide whether or not they can, or they are willing to, sign him to a contract beyond this season. That decision may lay upon the performance of shortstop Trevor Story.

Before the start of spring training, I talked about how DJ LeMahieu’s future in a Colorado Rockies’ uniform may hinge on the success of Trevor Story.  At the time, I thought it was a nice topic of discussion in the off season, even though, in the back of my mind, I felt the chances of LeMahieu returning to Denver in 2019 was slim to none.

With DJ channeling his inner “Chuck Nazty” (4 for 5 with 2 HRs Thursday night against the Nationals) to go along with his fantastic start to the season and Trevor Story’s horrid start, this topic is proving to be even more relevant.

Assuming that the plan has been to move top prospect Brendan Rodgers to second base next season to replace LeMahieu, Story would need to completely stake his claim at shortstop.  That has not happened, to put it mildly.

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Since I’ve been told that I have been too negative lately, I won’t bash on Story but I will give some numbers.  So far, he is 10 for 52 (.192/.288/.404) with 20 strikeouts (38% rate), 3 HRs, and 6 RBIs.  These are numbers that the Rockies cannot have in their everyday lineup let alone cleanup.

On the other side, LeMahieu has been putting up ridiculous numbers to start the year.  Along with his gold glove defense, DJ is hitting .351/.422/.649 with 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 8 runs.  DJ has also discovered power in his bat and should easily surpass his career high of 11 home runs this year.

Brendan Rodgers showed during spring training that he is more than capable of playing in the majors.  If Story is still struggling in a couple months and Rodgers does well in Double-A Hartford and gets elevated to Triple-A Albuquerque, it may be time to cut ties with Story and find a way to keep LeMahieu long term.

Obviously, the decision to keep LeMahieu will come down to the dollars and length of contract that he desires and DJ is getting more expensive by the day.  The 29 year old is making $8.5 million this year and could easily fetch $10+ million a year if he continues his hot pace. Now that Charlie Blackmon has been re-signed and Nolan Arenado’s pending free agency, the money might not be there.

Next: The Rockies talk about their win against the Nationals on Thursday

GM Jeff Bridich may have to give up on the future of Story for the sake of winning now.  No matter what happens, DJ LeMahieu will be getting paid this off season.  I just hope that money is coming from Colorado.

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