It wasn’t just Ebenezer Scrooge who was impacted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. You can add the Colorado Rockies to that list as well.
It was Christmastime last year when the Colorado Rockies were wondering how Daniel Murphy would make a difference in the lineup. It was just after Christmas in 2017 when Wade Davis was inked to a three-year deal. A couple of weeks earlier, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee had been given three-year contracts as well.
And let’s not forget mid-December back in 2016 when Ian Desmond joined the Rockies on a lucrative long-term deal.
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Consider those the ghosts of Christmas past in Colorado’s version of “A Christmas Carol.” Unlike the specters in the classic holiday tale from Charles Dickens, these ghosts aren’t teaching a lesson and moving on. They’re still lingering in the clubhouse and impacting the decisions made by the franchise in the present and near future as well.
Heading into Christmas Day, the Rockies were one of five Major League teams to have not signed a free agent to an MLB deal. It’s a small list and, because of a lack of financial flexibility that has been one of the biggest storylines of the offseason, it’s one that the Rockies have backed themselves into thanks to contracts to players who have largely underperformed during their time in the Mile High City.
During the recent Winter Meetings in San Diego, Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich told me and other media members inside the Rockies suite, “We feel like we have a lot of bodies in our bullpen mix and we have a lot of talented people. Some of those talented people need to do their jobs.”
It’s not just in the bullpen, however. It’s in a lot of other places where the ghosts of Christmas past will pop up in 2020. First base defense and a utility outfielder’s ability to hit against right-handers are two that quickly come to mind.
The ghosts of Christmas past are impacting the present (2020 outlook) and near future (2020 season) for the Rockies. It may not be until 2021 when the lessons learned from these ghosts will be realized and their final grades will be given. That’s when not only some of those contractual obligations disappear but also when a bigger television contract kicks in, putting a few more coins in Colorado’s coffers.
In “A Christmas Carol,” Jacob Marley’s ghost tells Scrooge, “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.” Colorado’s ghosts of Christmas past still have an opportunity to make a difference, and the Rockies will need them to do just that in 2020 if this team is truly going to make a turnaround from last season’s 71-91 showing.