Earlier today, our friend Daniel Kramer from MLB.com explored the possibility of Michael Brantley‘s free agency and teams that could make sense for him to join. Those teams included the Colorado Rockies.
In Kramer’s article, the Colorado Rockies are one of five teams listed where Brantley’s services might make sense. The Rockies join the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on Kramer’s list as potential homes for the 31-year-old outfielder.
Why the Rockies? Kramer discusses the need for Colorado to find bats that can contribute in the outfield with the losses of Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. Certainly the Rockies could use a left-handed bat with some power (he has averaged 13 home runs and a .781 OPS in his 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians). The Rockies could also use someone with his proficiency for often avoiding the strikeout, a plus that Kramer highlighted in his article.
However, playing in the National League, Brantley’s -3 Defensive Runs Saved last season is a bit concerning. The spacious outfield at 20th and Blake is often unforgiving for those who lack defensively.
Also, Brantley is due for a considerable payday in free agency. He earned $12 million last season and MLBTradeRumors.com is predicting he will grab a three-year, $45 million contract from the Braves. Would the Rockies be willing to take on that kind of price tag with Nolan Arenado‘s contract decision looming? At the moment, it seems unlikely.
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For the Rockies, it would seem to make more sense to elevate David Dahl into an everyday starting role and move him into center field. This would shift Charlie Blackmon into right field and would open a spot for Ian Desmond to move to his more natural position in left field. Again, while Rockies fans may not be thrilled with Desmond, thanks to his large contract and versatility, manager Bud Black and Rockies management will keep using him every day. Since this is going to happen, an outfield spot would be the best use for Desmond in 2019. Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich discussed that distinct possibility in a recent conference call.
With Desmond in the outfield, this would also mean the Rockies would need to fill first base. They have that possibility with Ryan McMahon.
If (and yes, it’s a big if at this point) the Rockies go with their youth movement that could include Dahl in the outfield, McMahon at first and Garrett Hampson or Brendan Rodgers at second, it would not only save salary but also let Colorado truly see what these prized prospects could do on a regular basis.
Could Brantley be a fit for the Rockies? Absolutely. Will he likely be coming to Denver? Probably not. Colorado has the pieces already to fill needs in the outfield and will likely focus on other areas such as catcher or first base.