A year ago at this time, the Rockies were just months removed from their second consecutive playoff season. It was the first time in the franchise’s existence that it had earned back-to-back playoff berths, and Colorado likely expected the good times to keep rolling in 2019. Instead, the Rockies ended up as one of the majors’ worst teams, finishing 71-91 en route to a fourth-place standing in the National League West.
We’re nearing a new season, but the Rockies don’t look like a team that’ll make a significant rebound in 2020. For one, multiple teams in the Rockies’ division figure to serve as roadblocks to potential improvement. The Dodgers should find themselves among the game’s best teams again, while the Diamondbacks and Padres look to have gotten better since last season.
The Rockies, like their division-rival Giants, have done little to nothing to bolster their roster since the previous campaign concluded. They’ve signed only one major league free agent – inexpensive right-hander Jose Mujica – and have managed to alienate their franchise player. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, who signed a seven-year, $234MM extension last February, has come up in trade talks in recent months. Additionally, he has expressed his unhappiness toward the Rockies for not upgrading the roster around him.
Despite an offseason of rumors, the 28-year-old remains a Rockie – someone they’re currently hoping will help them back to playoff position this season. But it doesn’t appear he has a ton of offensive support beyond shortstop Trevor Story and the outfield tandem of Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl. Meanwhile, Colorado’s rotation was ghastly a year ago, but there haven’t been notable changes in that area. The club’s instead betting on bounce-back years from holdovers such as Kyle Freeland, Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw.
While they’ve done almost nothing on paper to improve themselves since last year’s woeful showing, there’s internal optimism the Rockies will be much better this season. Owner Dick Monfort said earlier this month he believes the Rockies will win 94 games. That’s an especially sanguine prediction for an organization that has never amassed more than 92 victories in a season. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections strongly disagree with Monfort, pegging the Rockies for 77 wins. Granted, those projections aren’t the end-all, be-all – they called for an 85-win Rockies season before 2019 – so perhaps Monfort’s not as delusional as he seems. Regardless, assuming they begin the season with Arenado on their roster, how do you expect the Rockies’ year to turn out?
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