As the Colorado Rockies enter into the offseason, there are plenty of ways to improve last year’s 26-34 squad. That includes on offense and defense, where second baseman Kolten Wong could be a valuable addition.
There are a lot of unknowns about the Colorado Rockies and what they plan to do in the offseason to improve a franchise that has seen two consecutive losing seasons after back-to-back postseason appearances. One of those unknowns includes just how active the Rockies will be this offseason and how much money they’re willing to spend, knowing shortstop Trevor Story is looming as a free agent at the end of 2021.
The money situation could cast a large shadow over the Rockies and other MLB teams after a shortened 2020 season with no fan revenue. That fact was knocked home by Colorado owner Dick Monfort in a note to season ticket holders on Thursday.
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What we have seen early on in this offseason is that MLB teams are already setting up to lower expenses heading into 2021. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan said in this tweet, “Baseball’s market is going to be very, very slow-developing this winter.”
With that in mind, would Wong be of interest to the Rockies? Financially, it could take a contract pay range similar to the five-year, $25.5 million deal he just finished. As a note, St. Louis declined a $12.5 million option for 2021 to make Wong a free agent.
Defensively, Wong, the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, would fit nicely into an infield that already contains Nolan Arenado and Story. He won his first Gold Glove last year and is a finalist again this season. In 2019, Wong was second among all second basemen in Outs Above Average and led MLB second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating.
Wong, who just turned 30 in October, batted .285 with 11 home runs and totaled 59 RBI while logging a career-high 24 steals in 2019. That was part of the reason why he posted 5.2 bWAR that season.
So what would it look like with Wong on the Rockies? Sliding into the lineup at second base, Wong would likely push Ryan McMahon to be Colorado’s primary first baseman. Described here as “a high-contact, low-exit velocity hitter who gets on base at an above-median clip for a second baseman,” Wong could extend the Colorado lineup as well. He batted 87 games in either the seventh or eighth spot for the Cardinals during his impressive 2019 season but also hit at a .308 clip in 28 games batting second.
How about an interesting note? In 42 career at-bats inside Coors Field, Wong is slashing just .190/.213/.357.
Despite those numbers, there are plenty of reasons why Wong might make sense for the Rockies. However, an unknown financial future and an abundance of players already at second (McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, etc.) could keep it from becoming a reality.