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Somebody Ought to “Overpay” For Brendan Rodgers

8 min read

Earlier within the offseason, it was reported that Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers was a reputation mentioned in commerce talks with the Marlins centering round Miami’s cadre of controllable beginning pitchers. The curiosity from each events was comprehensible. The Marlins, deep in each beginning pitching prospects and massive league starters, are mild on place participant depth and in dire want of augmentation to the lineup. The Rockies, conversely, have struggled to develop pitching expertise however have infield depth each when it comes to present large leaguers and MLB-ready prospects. Pitching is a perennial Achilles heel for the Rockies. A commerce appears wise sufficient on paper.

Nonetheless, a deal hasn’t come collectively. Rodgers stays in Denver, and the Marlins proceed to debate their stockpile of arms with groups all through the league. Maybe the 2 events don’t see eye-to-eye on Rodgers’ worth. Maybe they disagree on the worth of Pablo Lopez, Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera and Trevor Rogers.

The shortage of an settlement between the 2 events doesn’t imply that there’s no sense in a commerce of Rodgers. Whereas it’s true that the Rockies needn’t really feel any urgency to commerce the previous No. 3 general choose, who has three years of membership management remaining, that want for pitching nonetheless persists. And, at the very least on paper, Colorado is positioned to face up to the lack of Rodgers.

Past the truth that Ryan McMahon can deal with third base or second base, the Rockies have prospect Ezequiel Tovar successfully prepared for a Main League look. Assuming Tovar handles shortstop and McMahon is snug taking part in both third or second base, the free-agent market provides palatable substitute choices if Rodgers have been to be subtracted from the infield. Brian Anderson and Josh Harrison are simply two free brokers who may assist fill a short-term void whereas the Rockies await the event of prospects like Warming Bernabel and Adael Amador, who could possibly be MLB-ready by 2024 or 2025.

The straightforward reality of the matter is that Colorado isn’t prone to contend in 2023 — not with a deep Padres membership and a perennial (albeit considerably diminished) playoff menace within the Dodgers lurking atop the division. The Giants haven’t essentially made the kind of waves that’ll make them a division contender, however they’re in all probability a greater membership now than on the finish of the 2022 season after signing Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling and Taylor Rogers (whereas additionally dropping a number of key items — none greater than Carlos Rodon). The D-backs are extra of a protracted shot to contend, however they’ve added some veteran assist and can graduate no fewer than three high-end prospects to the Majors in 2023 (Gabriel Moreno, Corbin Carroll, Brandon Pfaadt).

Backside line: a contending season for the Rockies is nearly unimaginable to think about. Rockies followers and definitely their entrance workplace/possession could disagree, nevertheless it’s robust to see how the additions of Pierce Johnson and Brent Suter, and the re-signing of Jose Urena dramatically alter the fortunes of a group that completed 68-94 in 2022.

That grim actuality doesn’t imply the Rockies ought to merely promote Rodgers and others with three or fewer years of membership management for the best provide, however Rodgers particularly is ready the place he may maybe fetch appreciable worth. The free-agent market this winter featured 4 star-caliber shortstops, however one of many three (Xander Bogaerts) went to a membership (the Padres) that didn’t actually have a clear want for a shortstop. Carlos Correa took a weird, winding highway again to Minneapolis. That signing, plus the Twins’ acquisition of Kyle Farmer, took two viable shortstop choices for events and positioned them on the identical roster. In the meantime, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson wound up in Philadelphia and Chicago (the north facet), respectively. That sequence of occasions left a number of golf equipment in want of center infield depth standing empty-handed.

Rodgers, 26, isn’t Correa, Bogaerts, Turner or Swanson — or at the very least he hasn’t been but. He’s a former No. 3 general choose and was as soon as one of many sport’s high 15 general prospects based on a number of retailers, however his efficiency up to now hasn’t fairly justified that hype. Nonetheless, he’s in his prime and has three years of management, defensive aptitude at each middle-infield positions and a robust batted-ball profile that could possibly be a portent for additional success.

Over the previous two seasons, Rodgers has turned in a mixed .274/.326/.434 batting line with 28 homers, 51 doubles and 6 triples in 996 journeys to the plate. The truth that he performs his house video games at Coors Discipline signifies that park- and league-adjusted metrics like wRC+ weight that offensive efficiency at 5 p.c under league common. Rodgers, certainly, has struggled on the highway in his profession, however we’ve seen loads of examples of Rockies gamers with pronounced home-road splits leaving Denver and discovering success elsewhere. There have been myriad research carried out concerning the method during which taking part in house video games at altitude can impression efficiency on the highway, however transferring out of an at-altitude house subject surroundings can counteract a few of these struggles. Matt Holliday, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and others have left the Rockies and gone on to fare effectively in different cities.

Past a usually stable string of ends in Colorado, Rodgers possesses an intriguing batted-ball profile. Statcast ranks him effectively above common when it comes to hard-hit charge, common exit velocity, anticipated batting common, chase charge and whiff charge. Rodgers doesn’t draw walks in droves, however he additionally has plus bat-to-ball abilities (17.6% strikeout charge), not often chases off the plate and hits the ball fairly exhausting (90 mph common exit velo, 45.9% hard-hit charge). It’s truthful to wonder if there’s one other offensive gear to be unlocked.

Defensively, Rodgers grades wherever from above-average to elite. He’s spent the majority of his large league profession at second base, however that’s largely been in deference to Trevor Story. Rodgers posted a mammoth 22 Defensive Runs Saved and eight.0 Final Zone Ranking at second base in 2022, and whereas Statcast’s Outs Above Common took a extra measured view, that metric nonetheless rated him as three outs higher than a regular second baseman. In 220 innings at shortstop, he’s posted first rate marks in DRS (1), UZR (1.7) and OAA (-1).

Whether or not different membership view Rodgers as a possible shortstop who’s been blocked at his place or because the high-end second base defender he was in 2022, he has clear worth. Rodgers has confirmed able to hitting for a stable common and thus delivering a top quality OBP (even despite pedestrian stroll charges). He’s proven some energy, however his exit velocity and hard-hit charge recommend there could possibly be extra within the tank. He agreed to a $2.7MM wage earlier in the present day  — partially, a mirrored image of accidents which have slowed his accumulation of counting stats. And, he’s controllable via the 2025 season.

All in all, it’s a pleasant package deal that different groups absolutely covet. It’s comprehensible that the Rockies can be reluctant to half with Rodgers, significantly in the event that they consider it’s attainable he’ll take one other step ahead in 2023. Basic supervisor Invoice Schmidt was the group’s scouting director when Rodgers was drafted, in any case, so it’d be no shock to listen to that Schmidt believed Rodgers hadn’t but reached his peak.

On the similar time, the Rockies are in a tricky spot with regard to their pitching workers. German Marquez is getting into the ultimate assured season of his contract and simply turned in a career-worst exhibiting in 2022. Kyle Freeland responded to his shocking contract extension with 174 2/3 innings of 4.53 ERA ball. Antonio Senzatela will miss the start of the season following a ligament tear in his knee, and he’d struggled within the wake of his personal extension even previous to that harm. The third, fourth and fifth spots within the Rockies’ rotation are prone to be held down by the aforementioned journeyman Urena, Austin Gomber (5.56 ERA in 124 2/3 innings in 2022) and Ryan Feltner (5.83 ERA in 97 1/3 innings). Pitching reinforcements from the farm don’t look like on the horizon.

That mentioned, there are nonetheless loads of groups with middle-infield wants and younger pitching to dangle. The Crimson Sox are one membership that involves thoughts, however every of the White Sox, Angels, Braves and Orioles may use a second baseman and/or shortstop. Most of these golf equipment have fascinating younger pitching to supply in change, whether or not the Rox choose an instantaneous rotation choice or somebody who may be part of the workers in 2024, when high prospects like Zac Veen, Drew Romo and the beforehand talked about Tovar have a greater likelihood at contributing.

Rockies followers and those that’ve adopted the group lately know that the membership doesn’t precisely have a repute for promoting gamers at peak worth (or promoting in any respect). The Rox famously held onto each Story and Jon Grey relatively than cashing them in for prospects of their stroll years. Grey was misplaced for nothing after the group declined to make a qualifying provide. Colorado declined to commerce both Daniel Bard or C.J. Cron when each have been leases at current deadlines, as an alternative opting to increase each gamers. Proprietor Dick Monfort is fatally optimistic about his membership’s probabilities of profitable, and whereas it’s admirable to repeatedly make win-now strikes within the face of long-shot (at finest) odds within the division, logically there ought to come some extent the place alternate paths have to be thought of.

Based mostly on their historical past, the Rockies in all probability aren’t going to be significantly amenable to Rodgers provides. groups would wish to pay a steep value to pry him away, and doing so can be a wager on his underlying batted-ball profile, his defensive abilities and his knack for contact to manifest in a brand new degree of efficiency. There’s definitely danger, however given the dearth of middle-infield choices in free company and elsewhere on the commerce market, there are few different locations for groups needing center infield assist to look. The Rockies aren’t going to contend in 2023, and three years of Rodgers may deliver them some direly wanted younger pitching. Somebody ought to make them a suggestion that even a sometimes conservative entrance workplace/possession group would have a tough time refusing.

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