Rockies fans have long known what the rest of the baseball world came to realize this season: DJ LeMahieu is a pretty darn good baseball player. It was both joyful and heartbreaking to watch DJ have so much success with the Yankees this season as the former Rockie set career highs in a bunch of offensive categories including hits, runs, RBI, doubles, homers, slugging, and OPS+.
Some of that may be attributable to the ping pong ball that was used instead of a standard baseball this year, but still a breakout like this can’t be ignored. What makes it sting even more is the fact that the Yanks signed LeMahieu for only $12M a year, which, for those keeping count, is just slightly more than the $10M that the Rox paid the older, less durable Murphy to be a replacement-level first baseman.
Here’s a depressing what if: what if, instead of signing Murphy, the Rockies re-signed DJ and played him at second, with Ryan McMahon handling first for the bulk of the season and Garrett Hampson playing outfield. The Rockies would have been better on both sides of the ball, plus they would’ve scored emotional points for keeping one of their favorite talents in the fold.
Instead, the Rockies faithful will just have to settle for watching DJ fight for a World Series berth with his new team, which, by the way, also features our old friend Adam Ottavino (1.90 ERA, 2.2 WAR) coming out of the bullpen. And to think, if health and fortune had cooperated DJ and Otto could have even been playing beside former franchise cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki as well.
C’est la vie; on to 2020.