DENVER -- In our first installment of the Spring Training preview, we looked at Rockies On The Rebound. Now we take a look at The New Guys.
General manager Jeff Bridich took a slightly unexpected route toward building the 2016 squad. Instead of adding experienced starting pitchers to a staff that has struggled mightily the past two years, Bridich beefed up the bullpen and added a couple of hitters -- one a contact-and-speed guy, another with power. The hope is the young starters drafted and acquired will mature, and the moves this offseason will make a difference in close games.
RHP German Marquez: One of two pitchers added in the trade that sent outfielder Corey Dickerson to the Rays, Marquez, who turns 21 on Feb. 22, posted a 1.266 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in the High Class A Florida State League last year. Spring will be the first look at the pitcher who, if he continues to pitch beyond his years, could move quickly through the system.
LHP Jake McGee: In three of the past four seasons with the Rays, McGee has posted ERAs of 1.95 in 69 games in 2012, 1.89 in 73 games in 2014 and 2.41 in 39 games last season. According to Baseball-Reference, he has turned in WARs (wins above replacement player) of 1.9, 2.7 and 1.0, respectively, in the aforementioned seasons.
RHP Jason Motte: Last year with the Cubs, in his first full and healthy season since Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2013, Motte was 8-1 with a 3.91 ERA and six saves in 57 games. More importantly, Motte, signed for two years at $10 million, had the unselfishness to agree to be part of what could be a matchup- or workload-based closer situation with the Rockies.
OF Gerardo Parra: Parra, who signed a three-year deal, brings respected defensive range and throwing, the ability to produce tough at-bats, and speed on the bases. With key outfield prospects Raimel Tapia and David Dahl possessing the same tools, Parra could not only give the lineup a jolt but serve as an example and a leader.
RHP Chad Qualls: After breaking in with the Astros years ago, Qualls, 37, has spent much of his career moving from team to team as a veteran offering a lift to a young staff. He pitched in the playoffs with the Rays in 2010 and helped the Astros' young bullpen last season. Signed for $6 million over two years, Qualls has experience in the National League West -- three seasons with the D-backs and one with the Padres.
1B-3B-OF Mark Reynolds: It sets up as a potential platoon at first base with the right-handed-hitting Reynolds and lefty-swinging Ben Paulsen, but manager Walt Weiss doesn't mind setting aside a strict platoon system if a player turns hot. Reynolds can hit homers in bunches, and might be an asset off the bench late in close games. The ability to play other positions also helps, since the Rockies tend to carry one more pitcher than normal during long homestands.