Over the weekend the Colorado Rockies were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in a 3-game series with the help of the Rockies’ former face of the franchise Nolan Arenado.
Now that Nolan Arenado is playing elsewhere, who will lead the Colorado Rockies for the foreseeable future?
Since the very beginning, the Colorado Rockies have always had at least one player in which they could build the whole team around. From Andres Galarraga and the rest of the Blake Street Bombers, Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, and finally Nolan Arenado, there has always been one, star player that was at the core of the Rockies’ roster.
If/when General Manager Bill Schmidt’s interim tag is removed and he is named the permanent GM, he will have a huge project on his hands as he tries to figure out how to return the Rockies back to respectability.
One of the first decisions he will have to make is who will he try to build this team around and make the new face of the franchise for the next five to 10 years.
The obvious candidate would be All-Star shortstop Trevor Story but his contract expires after this season and it is almost a certainty that he will be traded sometime this summer. The same goes for starter Jon Gray, who is having an All-Star caliber first few weeks of the season but will also likely see himself traded with his contract coming to an end.
Charlie Blackmon is in the twilight of his career turning 35 years old later this summer and has seen his skills diminish, German Marquez has struggled with inconsistency, and Kyle Freeland has battled injuries throughout his career.
So where does Schmidt turn to start building a winning franchise?
The farm system is depleted and the top two prospects in the organization have a long ways to go to prove themselves ready to take up that mantle. Brendan Rodgers has been a disappointment so far in the Majors as he has struggled with multiple injuries. Then there is Colton Welker who was busted for PED use and was suspended for 80 games over the weekend.
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Currently, the roster has only two candidates that could possibly take over with Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia.
It has taken McMahon longer than many had expected but he is finally turning into a hitter that pitchers fear at the plate. The 26-year-old is hitting .262 with 8 HR, 22 RBI, and 21 runs scored scored in 34 games with his homers being in the top 10 in all of baseball. If he can continue to stay consistent he could become a fixture in the middle of the Rockies’ lineup for seasons to come.
At the top of the order, Tapia has quietly become one of the Rockies’ most consistent hitters the past two seasons. In 2020, the now 27-year-old slashed .321/.369/.402 in the abbreviated season and has followed that up hitting .314/.359/.438 in 33 games this season. Continued success could lead to a nice payday for Tapia as he has two more season of being arbitration-eligible.
There is one other possibility. With the trades of Story and Gray almost inevitable, we might find out early on how good of a GM Bill Schmidt can be. A solid return in these trades could bring a prospect or a ready-made big-leaguer who could explode onto the scene much like Carlos Gonzalez did for the Rockies after the trade of Matt Holliday to the Oakland A’s in 2009.
Bill Schmidt’s in his introduction press conference said that this is not a rebuild situation. Now, he needs to find some players to build this club back to a winner.