Leading into the trade deadline, it was unclear what the Colorado Rockies were going to do. Though the team had a fast start to the year, they have since mellowed out, falling back to earth.
As the July 31st deadline crept closer, it was no secret that the club was looking for a reliever, catcher, and starting pitcher. With one of the deeper minor league systems to pull from, the club had a strong chance to compete with big market teams for big name players. They were able to land two all-stars who will make an immediate impact at positions of need, here is a look at the new Colorado Rockies players.
Pat Neshek, Reliever
The man with the funky delivery, Pat Neshek in one of the most dominate right handed relievers in all of baseball. With the Philadelphia Phillies, Neshek was able to compile a 1.12 ERA, 45 K’s, 0.82 WHIP, in 40 1/3rd innings Pitched. As an all-star this season, he had be linked to multiple contenders, but none more than the Colorado Rockies.
Though there isn’t team control in Neshek’s contract beyond 2017, there is a strong belief among the media that Neshek and the Rockies can work out a multi-year deal. General Manager Jeff Bridich and Manager Bud Black believe a successful franchise begins with a strong bullpen, and with the moves made during the offseason and now trade deadline, are making good on that belief.
Many in the media believe resurgent closer Greg Holland will opt out of the second year of his contract to test the free agent market to sign a better deal. Holland returned from Tommy John surgery in fine form posting 1.64 ERA with 40 K’s, 1.04 WHIP in 38.1 innings pitched and being selected to the all-star game. Colorado was the only team willing to take a risk on Holland, which has paid off in a big way. The downfall is when a player like Holland proves themselves fully recovered, they leave for a bigger contract. Hence the rumors of the Rockies trading for Neshek in hopes of locking him down for a few years longer.
Jonathan Lucroy, catcher
With the Rockies offense sputtering up and down for the season, it was evident they weren’t getting any production from the catcher position, regardless of ebb and flow. Tony Wolters started the season strong hitting well above .300 for the month of April, but saw his numbers decrease significantly each month since.
The Rockies knew Wolters was never going to be an offensive powerhouse, the plan was to platoon Wolters with Tom Murphy. Murphy is the better offensive weapon at the position, but has not been the same player previous to breaking his forearm in spring training. He has posted just a .222 AVG with 0 HR, and 1 RBI since rejoining the club, playing in rotation with veteran Ryan Hanigan.
Enter Jonathan Lucroy. A former all-star who, though his numbers are down this year, is a combination of Murphy and Wolters. This year he is hitting .242 AVG with 4 HR’s, and 27 RBI’s, compared to a lifetime average of .280, but its his veteran presence that the club was interested in. Lucroy has a good reputation for handling young pitching staffs, not just veteran staffs. The Rockies have one of the youngest and most talented staffs in baseball, with Lucroy calling the game behind the plate, it’s like an extension of Bud Black on the field.
Both of these additions will make an immediate impact on the club, but will also help them long term. Without giving up any top prospects the Rockies additions of Neshek and Lucroy will keep this team on pace for at the least, the wild-card game. Assuming the Rockies get there, anything can happen in the postseason. But it’s all about getting there.