After the trade of third baseman Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies will have to shuffle their lineup.
Like every Colorado Rockies fan, I am disgusted, dismayed, and/or any other horrible adjective one can think of by the trade of superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, I have already been through the 5 Stages of Grief a handful of times since the announcement Friday evening.
From denial to anger to bargaining to depression, this time through the five stages, I have finally landed on the stage of acceptance long enough to put together some coherent thoughts for what the Rockies’ lineup will look like heading into the 2021 season.
It goes without saying that the absence of Arenado leaves a massive crater in both the middle of the lineup and at third base for the Rockies. This opens up a big opportunity for Ryan McMahon. With Nolan on the roster, McMahon looked to be an everyday starter, but in a platoon role by splitting his playing time at second with Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers and with Justin Fuentes at first.
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Now in life after Nolan, McMahon becomes the new everyday third baseman. This frees up Fuentes for everyday playing time at first and depending on his health, more time at second for Rodgers as Hampson returns to more of his super-utility role for which has become known.
The batting order was already thin to begin with when they were depending on Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story to provide the bulk of the offensive production. Now, it is even more anemic without Arenado.
Here is a quick example of what the lineup might look like on Opening Day:
The lack of firepower in these two possible lineups is already depressing enough, but don’t forget that the Rockies released David Dahl earlier this winter.
There is some hope that Sam Hilliard could add a little pop into the lineup if he had a solid spring training, but his disappointing performance in 2020 doesn’t spread a lot of optimism.
As enraged as we all feel at this moment as Rockies fans, the sooner we accept that the greatest player to ever wear a Rockies’ uniform will no longer be in Denver (apologies to Todd Helton), the quicker we can prepare ourselves for what could be a less than 60-win season in 2021.