Over the course of the 2023 season there has been a lot to boo about and a lot to cheer about concerning the Colorado Rockies. But without a doubt frustration has been brewing in the organization on what the team should do with 28-year-old third baseman Ryan McMahon.
McMahon who signed a six-year $70 million contract extension in March of 2021, has not been living up to his potential or his contract over the last two years and is starting to make many question if he will be apart of this main future core the Rockies have quietly been building.
Before his extension, McMahon showed a lot of promise as an everyday player in the Rockies clubhouse as he was coming off a career year where he hit 23 home runs with a .254 average and 86 RBI’s. McMahon was quickly making fans forget just who Nolan Arenado was as the Rockies just traded him in a blockbuster deal that sent him to St. Louis in February 2021.
Since then, that trade has haunted the Rockies organization ever since and McMahon has struggled immensely since last season.
This year, he owns a batting average of .215 with four homeruns and 18 RBI’s followed by 12 doubles, one triple and a team high 54 strikeouts.
Before making his major league debut in August of 2017, McMahon was selected to represent the Rockies in the All Star Futures game in July, 2017. Once called up, he went back and down from AAA Albuquerque to the major league roster until 2019.
Once the 2019 season started, McMahon found himself platooning around the infield at first, second and third base.
While he was a great contribution to the Rockies lineup in 2021, it is without a doubt McMahon has shown signs of struggles over the last year and this is something the Rockies will need to address if his struggles continue.
I have listed three different options for the Rockies with different scenarios for if the Rockies decided to move on from McMahon.
Could you trade him?
I think the scenario for the Rockies if McMahon can’t improve is to try and trade him and get out of that contract, they gave him.
The asking price for McMahon will be very low as he has that six-year $70 million deal that I mentioned earlier. The chances are, the Rockies would receive a player who has shared their fair share of equal struggles and might be looking for a change of scenery like McMahon or they would receive a young minor leaguer who’s potential might not be as high.
If they’re lucky, they might be able to trade him to another organization who might be willing to take on his bat to make a playoff push in the later part of the season.
However, it could be very unlikely McMahon will be traded as I mentioned earlier, the contract will carry a lot of weight and will make it very difficult to move him.
The Rockies have demonstrated all year they are not afraid move on from veteran players who have been with the organization over the years. Recently, they designated Yonathan Daza for assignment at the beginning of May.
If McMahon clears waivers, the Rockies will then have to decide if they want to carry him on the roster still or release him. The Rockies will still be stuck paying his contract but, the opportunity for McMahon to enter the minor leagues might be the best thing for him as it will allow him to pause and reset.
McMahon has struggled against fastballs all year as he has struck out against splitters 42.9% of the time and four seam fastballs 34.5%. Also sliders have been 51.6% of the time according to MLB stat cast.
The Denver Post recently reported that McMahon and manager Bud Black have had different views on why the young third baseman has been struggling at the plate. Black believes that McMahon is pressing and is trying too hard to hit the ball. McMahon stated he believes he is just not performing to the best of his ability and is missing pitches he should be able to hit.
A trip to the minor leagues might not be permanent for McMahon but it would give him the opportunity to get his confidence back as a hitter and would allow him to make the proper adjustments so that he could return back to the MLB lineup.
A release could be the last possible option for the Rockies if they decide McMahon is no longer part of the team’s future.
With the possible emergence of young minor league star Nolan Jones, a change of scenery at the hot corner could be the best thing for the Rockies in 2023. Jones is currently on a tear in AAA Albuquerque with an average of .358, 12 home runs, 11 doubles, and 41 RBI’s.
A youth movement has been the identity of the Rockies roster in 2023 and we could very well expect that movement to increase as the season goes on.
McMahon could also benefit from a possible release as it would allow him to gain a fresh start and will lower the pressure of having to be the star player everyone expected him to be and would allow him to be more of a role player for another organization.