Spring training underway while opening day inches closer
Opening Day is just over a month away, and the Colorado Rockies are looking to right their wrongs from the 2018 season in order to make a serious postseason push toward the 2019 World Series—a goal they have not been able to reach since their first championship appearance in 2007.
The Rockies, finishing second in the National League West division with a 91-72 record, were able to break the barrier last season, defeating the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. However, the satisfaction of moving forward in the postseason to the Divisional Round was wiped away when they were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0, in a best-out-of-five series. Why is that?
The offense of the Rockies struggled tremendously; the batting average, especially on the road, was a franchise low, barely mustering .256 overall and .225 on the road. Due to the offense’s lackluster performance, the Rockies announced in November that hitting coach, Duane Espy, would not be returning for the upcoming season.
Later, in early December, the front office hired Dave Magadan, a league coach with 16 years of experience, as the new hitting coach in hopes of bettering the offense and its batting average.
As the offseason progressed, many signings and re-signings took place to maintain a balanced and efficient roster. Playmakers, such as infielder Trevor Story, catcher Tony Wolters, and right-handed pitcher Scott Oberg, agreed on one-year contracts, extending their careers in the Mile High City.
But the Rockies weren’t done just yet.
The team gained veteran experience when the news of Daniel Murphy—former NY Met, Washington National, and Chicago Cub—signed a two-year contract worth $24 million with a third-year option in 2021.
Murphy brings more dynamic and versatile playmaking ability to an already boasted line-up of star-studded athletes. He’s a player that can be used in a multitude of ways, having played first base, second base, and third base throughout his MLB career.
And even though he is barely in his early 30s, the left-handed hitter is only getting better as the years go on. Racking up a batting average of over .300 in his outing with the Nationals and hitting .299 in the 2018 season with the Cubs, the Rockies hope to continue to see this trend in Murphy in the coming years.
That was the conclusion of the year 2018. When 2019 came around the corner, the Rockies made a leap of faith in keeping third baseman Nolan Arenado in Denver.
A six-time Gold Glove winner with a batting average of .297 and scoring 110 runs with 38 homeruns, in only five seasons as a Major League player, Arenado has emerged as a premiere player in the league.
In late January, Arenado and the Rockies agreed on a $26 million, one-year contract in order to avoid arbitration. It is, in fact, the largest one-year salary in which a player is eligible for arbitration in MLB history.
Now, with Arenado locked in, Murphy under contract, and a plethora of playmakers like Charlie Blackman and Trevor Story singed up, the lineup is solidified. With little but substantial offseason moves, fans have only a short time left until they see of what good the Rockies are capable.
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