Why, less than three weeks before spring training is scheduled to open, are the Rockies projected to finish fourth or fifth in the NL West in 2021 as Nolan Arenado heads to St. Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland pitches 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits.
Colorado’s only major acquisition during the 2018-19 offseason is signing veteran Daniel Murphy to a two-year, $24 million contract, coincidentally the same amount the Yankees give LeMahieu. The Rockies plug Murphy in as their first baseman but he proves inadequate. Worse, in his two seasons in Colorado, he hits just .269 (nearly 30 points lower than his career average), posts a .742 OPS and hits only 16 home runs in 172 games.
The Rockies open the 2019 season with a 3-12 record. Their starting pitching, so good in 2018 (4.17 ERA, second-best in club history), falters. Freeland, who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting in 2018 with a 2.85 ERA , stumbles.
Prior to the 2018 season, general manager Jeff Bridich had invested $106 million in the bullpen, signing Wade Davis ($52 million), Bryan Shaw ($27 million) and left-hander Jake McGee ($27 million) to three-year deals. Although Davis leads the NL with a career-high and franchise-record 43 saves in 2018, his ’19 season is a disaster. Hampered by a strained oblique and poor mechanics, his 8.65 ERA is the second-highest by a reliever in major league history.
In the past, Monfort has repeatedly said he would like to sign Story to a long-term contract, but, lacking the money to pull off a deal, there is a strong possibility Story will become a free agent after the 2021 season, meaning the franchise’s best option could well be to trade the 28-year-old shortstop.