Colorado Rockies fans get a pair of memory-filled gut punches on Tuesday
By Kevin Henry
As the holiday season kicks into full gear, Colorado Rockies fans were given a pair of not-so-great reminders of the current state of the franchise on Tuesday.
Just as the snow moved out of the Denver area and the sun began to bring some warmth back to the area, there were two reminders on Tuesday just why things have become chilly between the fans and the Colorado Rockies franchise.
Heading south, the Texas Rangers officially announced they had signed former Colorado outfielder David Dahl, the All-Star who was non-tendered by the Rockies earlier this month. The move was baffling at the time (as our Kevin Larson explained here) but Tuesday’s news certainly didn’t help clear up the reasoning for Rockies fans, especially in light of Dahl signing a one-year deal worth $2.7 million with $300,000 in incentives in there as well, according to MLB insiders.
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With Dahl scheduled to make around $2.6 million in arbitration this year, the Rangers essentially signed him for what the Rockies could have paid him to stay in Colorado. At the age of 26, Dahl still has plenty of time to shake the injury moniker that dogged him during his time with the Rockies. Texas was willing to pay the money and take that chance while the Rockies were not. At around $3 million, Rockies fans are certainly wondering why their team wasn’t willing to put forward that kind of cash on a hitter who was, despite the injuries, the fourth-best on the Rockies in terms of wRC+ from 2016-2019.
So the Rockies let a productive hitter go for a salary that makes fans wonder why the franchise wasn’t willing to pay him to stay? As discussed in this article, there are already plenty of correlations between Dahl and DJ LeMahieu. That trend of tying the two together came into full focus on Tuesday as well.
While there is no credible chance that LeMahieu may come back to the Rockies, where he enjoyed so much success from 2012-2018, there is still a very good chance that he could land back in New York with the Yankees, the team that signed him for two years and $24 million when LeMahieu was allowed to walk away from Colorado.
There is still a salary chasm between the Yankees and LeMahieu, but New York manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday that the LeMahieu contract was his team’s top priority this offseason. He also added to the media, “I don’t need to tell you guys all he’s meant to our team.”
Rockies fans are well aware what LeMahieu can bring to a team, from his hitting and defense to his calm and steady demeanor in the clubhouse. LeMahieu’s presence was hard for the Rockies to replicate after he was gone, and the Yankees realize just how important it is to their chances to try to get back to the World Series in 2021.
Two All-Star players now with other teams who could have potentially stayed in Colorado on financially feasible contracts and greatly boosted a roster that’s predicted to be one of the worst in MLB? These are just some of the reasons why Rockies fans are frustrated and considering yet another round of buttered rum and spiked egg nog this holiday season.