Aaron Hurt (@FlatlandRockies)
The Rockies enter spring training with the highest of expectations heading into the 2020 season. With owner Dick Monfort making the prediction of 94 victories, confidence is running at an all-time high after all of the roster upgrades that were made over the winter (sarcasm) … or the term “high” might be the optimal term for how Monfort is thinking.
I see this upcoming season going one of two ways. The first is in the line of Monfort. The stars could align and practically the same team that won 71 games in 2019 could see a bounce-back season. The Rockies could get close to Monfort’s prediction with rebound seasons from Kyle Freeland, Wade Davis, Daniel Murphy, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and so on and so forth. Add in a determined Nolan Arenado, an emergence from an unknown backup catcher and a couple of the younger players having career years, the Rockies could get to 90+ wins.
The second and much more likely way this season could go is depressing. The rift between Arenado and the front office is so great that it casts a huge shadow and the Rockies fall out of contention early. This leads to the “inevitable” trade of Arenado but the Rockies don’t stop there. They go into fire sale mode trading any quality player they have in order to replenish their depleted farm system. The Rockies look to move Trevor Story, Jon Gray, and Charlie Blackmon, which opens up even more payroll for next season as the Rockies go into a complete rebuild.
As much as I would love to see the Rockies get close to Monfort’s prediction, I fear that the record will be the inverse. The Rockies win 68 and lose 94 games.
I have eluded to this in a couple of articles this offseason but Ryan McMahon will have a breakout season. I am predicting he will make the All-Star Game and hit .282 with 34 home runs and 92 RBI. The increase in production will come from not being in a platoon role at second as he was to begin the 2019 season, which will include more at-bats against left-handed pitching.
McMahon will also benefit from a move into the heart of the order once Arenado is traded in the middle of the season. McMahon will then take over as the everyday third baseman which will make room for Brendan Rodgers at second.