DENVER -- Happy Holidays all. Before I get to your Rockies questions, I'll highlight one of the issues I'll watch closely this spring.
Gerardo Parra signed a three-year, $27.5 million contract last winter, but hitting struggles and a high ankle sprain that cost him 46 games made him a forgotten man by season's end. But if the scenes he is posting from his workouts are any indication, he's off to a good start toward delivering a reminder.
Parra says he will play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic to push himself into game shape earlier than usual.
The Rockies' outfield depth puts them in position to possibly trade to fill other needs, but I don't totally agree with @thewhipshow and the premise that the outfield is crowded.
First, there is no harm in the competition in left field. Parra has a contract that pays him $8 million this year and $10 million the next. He will have to beat out David Dahl, who brought standout offense after debuting in July, or he'll be a left-handed bench player and a complement to Ian Desmond at first base.
Add those to center fielder Charlie Blackmon and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, and that's not a bad five, with Raimel Tapia and Jordan Patterson fighting to be in position should someone falter or be injured. Dahl and Patterson also have all three years of Minor League options, and Tapia has two. It's a good place for a roster to be.
@harding_at_mlb do you think they trade Ryan McMahon? He seems blocked at his 2 positions.
I guess I never believe there's too much of a good thing. To answer the question from @dleisl, even though McMahon was a second-round Draft pick as a third baseman and he is now playing first base, I don't see him blocked at two positions by Nolan Arenado and newly signed Desmond.
The Rockies fed McMahon, who turned 22 on Dec. 14, quite a bit last year with a full season at Double-A and the Arizona Fall League. There were some successes, but also some areas to improve. I'm not going to consider him blocked until he proves he is ready and forces the Rockies' hand. He's not quite there.
Desmond's athletic ability allows him to move around, so if Blackmon or DJ LeMahieu escape via free agency after 2018, or if there is a trade before then, he could slide and allow McMahon to move into first base if he proves ready.
Interesting question from @JoshMalashock. Who has more trade value? Blackmon and Gonzalez are at similar ages -- Gonzalez is 31 and Blackmon will be 31 on July 1. Each has been healthier the last couple years than in previous years, and each is performing well. So it comes to contract status.
Blackmon is eligible for arbitration this year and next. MLB Trade Rumors predicts his 2017 salary at $9 million, while Gonzalez is due around $20.4 million. Gonzalez will be a free agent at season's end, though there has been talk of a possible extension.
Another pertinent comparison is center fielder Dexter Fowler, who signed with the Cardinals for $82.5 million over four years. In the two years that Blackmon's salary is under club control, Fowler will make $31 million -- $14.5 million in salary and $2 million in a bonus that is spread over the life of the contract.
A team may want Blackmon at a relative bargain, but the Rockies are enjoying that bargain. That's why Colorado is asking for a front-of-the-rotation pitcher for him.
At the non-waiver Trade Deadline, it's possible a team just wanting a push for the postseason may push for Gonzalez.
@harding_at_mlb Are the Rockies done trying to fix up their bullpen? Still their biggest weakness in my opinion.
The reported deal with left-handed hitting utility man Alexi Amarista on Monday will, barring other moves, put the Rockies at the limit on the 40-man Major League roster, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are done. I expect the Rockies to add a relief pitcher through free agency or trade. General manager Jeff Bridich also said he was considering adding a veteran catcher before Spring Training. Remember, the team can use Minor League contracts to sign veteran players even if it doesn't have roster space.
@harding_at_mlb why did the #Rockies sign Dunn instead of (the better pitcher) Boone Logan? And are there any more bullpen moves to be made?
@OneEyeTigh disagrees with the Rockies' signing of lefty Mike Dunn, believing retaining Logan was the better choice. There are some interesting comparisons.
In Logan's favor, he has a higher ground-ball frequency (46.4 percent to 37.5), and Logan gives up fly balls less frequently (34.9 percent to Dunn's 43 percent). Dunn brings a higher strikeout rate (25.6 to Logan's 24 percent) and a lower home run rate (0.87 per nine innings to Logan's 1.10), although three seasons of pitching at Coors affected Logan's standing. In 2014, Logan's home run frequency on fly balls was 35.3 percent. That doesn't happen everywhere.
A key difference is Dunn's track record against right-handed batters. Dunn yielded a slash line of .239/.339/.408 against Logan's .294/.376/.478. The left-on-right work makes Dunn more matchup-proof.
Also, Logan had a healthy 2016, but he was limited by elbow injuries the previous three seasons. Dunn went on the disabled list for the first time in his career last year due to a forearm strain that doesn't appear be chronic.