Colorado Rockies: Future at first may depend on health at second
By Aaron Hurt
If there is one thing that Colorado Rockies’ fans can agree about the 2019 season, it is that letting DJ LeMahieu depart for the New York Yankees and signing Daniel Murphy to fill his roster spot was a colossal mistake made by general manager Jeff Bridich.
The move not only failed to fill an already huge void at first base, it created an even bigger void at second by letting the 2016 batting champion and three-time Gold Glover head to the Big Apple. Since we can’t go back and change the past, the question becomes how do the Colorado Rockies address these two holes going forward?
The solution just might happen to depend on the health and development of Brendan Rodgers.
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The Rockies’ top prospect and the #14 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America had himself a rough go of it in his brief first stint in the Majors. In 25 games, the now-23-year-old Rodgers went 17-for-76 (.224) with eight runs scored, seven RBI, and 27 strikeouts. He also struggled defensively as he committed five errors in 89 chances while splitting time at both shortstop and second base.
The biggest concern with Rodgers is his health. His 2019 season was shut down on June 23 with a labral tear in his right shoulder on which he had surgery on in mid-July. It is unknown how long and how much his injury may have affected his performance but the Rockies will be keeping a close watch on Rodgers’ rehab this winter.
If Rodgers can fully recover and emerge this spring, the Rockies have an opportunity to somewhat revise history and do what they should have done in the first place: make Ryan McMahon the everyday first baseman. McMahon had himself a solid ’19 campaign, slashing .250/.329/.450 with 24 HR, 70 runs and 83 RBI. Those numbers should only improve as this was the 24-year-old’s first season in a full-time role and he will get better as he finds more consistency.
McMahon’s move to first would mean that Daniel Murphy would be relegated to a platoon role. This would be a tough pill to swallow for Bridich as Murphy is still owed $12 million in 2020. It also doesn’t make a lot of roster sense as both McMahon and Murphy bat from the left side of the plate. However, Murphy may have left the Rockies with no choice as he is a defensive liability and his offensive prowess is on a downward trend.
It is time to stop to dwelling on the departure of LeMahieu and start looking to the future … and the future of the right side of the infield could depend on the health of Brendan Rodgers’ right shoulder.