If the Rockies are going to try to “compete”, they made “most” of the right moves this offseason. Resigning reliever Jhoulys Chacin, starter Antonio Senzatela, catcher Elias Diaz, and first baseman C.J. Cron were all fantastic moves that make sense after all four showed strong seasons with the team. Diaz may finally be the offensive and defensive answer at catcher that the team has been looking for. Rockies legend Jhoulys Chacin has proven himself as an effective long reliever. Antonio Senzatela was outstanding at Coors Field in 2021. Finally, C.J. Cron is coming off arguably the best season of his career. Resigning these guys just simply makes sense.
The Rockies obviously also made a splash post-lockout signing former All-Stars in shortstop Jose Iglesias and reliever Alex Colome (they also had a minor league deal to outfielder Scott Schebler). Personally, I was conflicted by both signings. Iglesias is traditionally a good defender (he had a down 2021) with a bad bat, worse than Story in pretty much every way. Colome is a great pitcher who may fit the closer role well. He has a low-spin fastball (something that works well at Coors Field) but mainly uses a cutter. My immediate reaction to this signing was fear. The last cutter specialist the Rockies tried was Bryan Shaw of the failed “super pen” and we all know how that ended. Finally, Scott Schebler has a decent bat and might be decent coming off the bench. There is no such thing as a bad minor league deal and I certainly do not hate this one.
Those were the iffy signings, but now let’s talk about the two post-lockout signings that I really liked: Chad Kuhl and Kris Bryant. Chad Kuhl was a very good signing for the Rockies. As a fifth man in the rotation, I loved the signing. As I talked about on Twitter, his Baseball Savant page is eerily similar to that of reigning team All-Star German Marquez, albeit not as impressive. Ryan Rolison and Peter Lambert are not ready to work their way into the rotation yet, so Chad Kuhl may prove to be a very effective bridge. His base stats leave much to be desired, but if you look at the analytics, he was one of the best pitchers left on the market specifically for the Colorado Rockies. He might not be Jon Gray, but he will recoup some of the WAR lost in his absence.
I thought Kris Bryant, controversial as it was, was a good signing. The Rockies needed better offense and defense in the outfield. It was truly their biggest weakness in 2021. Kris Bryant fills that hole. People act like he is washed when he is coming off a “down” season with an impressive 124 OPS+. His career OPS+ is 132 and any defense in the outfield is better than what they have had the last few years. He will be productive, a great leader in the clubhouse, and actually wants to be there. I am begging people to give him a chance before they cast him as the next Ian Desmond. Monfort may one day have this albatross contract hanging around his neck, but for now, I am just happy to see this team actually spend money on major league talent.
Literally, as I was getting ready to publish this article, the Rockies traded fan-favorite Raimel Tapia for Randal Grichuk. With the Kris Bryant signing in mind, this makes sense. Tapia was fun to watch, but he no longer had a clear spot on the team. Grichuk is a player more traditionally built for Coors Field, a power that the Rockies haven’t really had since 2019 Charlie Blackmon. This trade was a good move, better than just letting Tap go. Grichuk is a streaky player, but he can be very fun. I look forward to seeing him hit 500-foot bombs in Coors Field.
If I were grading it, this offseason gets a B. Good free agent signings, mostly good player signings (though lost points for Gray and Story), and a good trade. That’s a certainly passable start to Bill Schmidt’s tenure as GM.
Now we move on to perhaps the most promising part of the 2022 Colorado Rockies: Pitching