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After two playoff seasons, the Rockies dropped to 71–91 last year, and they may not be done tumbling. Not only did the front office take the winter off—perhaps not the worst idea given how bad its free-agent signings have been—but in doing so it also alienated franchise player Nolan Arenado. He signed an eight-year, $260-million contract with the team just one year ago but said he felt “disrespected” this offseason. You can understand Arenado’s frustration. At 28, he has one playoff win, a wild-card victory in 2018, under his belt. Last year thwarted what seemed to be positive momentum, and Colorado did nothing to restore it, despite having a bottom-three offense and a bottom-three pitching staff in the NL (after accounting for the high altitude at Coors Field). The Rockies ranked among the league’s worst at catcher (Tony Wolters and Chris Iannetta), second base (Ryan McMahon, mostly) and leftfield (Raimel Tapia and Ian Desmond).
The GM charged with fixing these sore spots has yet to prove he can. Jeff Bridich has lit more than $100 million on fire in past offseasons by signing Desmond, closer Wade Davis, infielder Daniel Murphy, outfielder Gerardo Parra, and relievers Bryan Shaw and Mike Dunn. Those fiascos have prevented the Rockies from building on their player development, which has produced such stars as Arenado, shortstop Trevor Story and outfielder Charlie Blackmon.
If Bridich doesn’t trade Arenado, the five-time All-Star will almost surely exercise his opt-out after 2021 in search of October glory. If Bridich does try to move him, that opt-out and a no-trade clause limit his options. The Rockies won’t contend this year, and Arenado’s exit would make their bad situation much worse. — Joe Sheehan
Projected Record: 66-96, 5th in NL West
How bad are things in Denver? Superstar Nolan Arenado has been openly unhappy with the team, and the Rockies didn’t sign a single major league free agent this winter.
Key Question: Can Colorado Make Good on Its Promise to Nolan Arenado?
The superstar third baseman signed an extension with the Rockies before the 2019 season under the notion that they’d field a competitive team around him. They were disappointing last year and didn’t do much this offseason to improve their roster for 2020. — Matt Martell
Moving Up: Jon Gray, SP
The 28-year-old righty was having a career year (135 ERA+ in 150 innings) when a stress fracture in his left foot ended his season in August.
Moving Down: Wade Davis, RP
During his 2014–17 peak, he posted a 1.45 ERA across 241 1/3 innings with the Royals. In two seasons with Colorado, the closer has a 5.92 ERA.
Watchability Ranking: Keep a Hand on the Remote
On one hand? Nolan Arenado. On the other? All that sent Arenado into a bitter feud about the direction of the franchise with owner Dick Monfort (which is… just about everything else). — Emma Baccellieri
Preview of the 2030 Preview
David Dahl, DH: After spending the first portion of his career accruing various weird injuries (back problems started after a sneezing fit), Dahl was long on promise and short on results. He became one of the biggest beneficiaries of the universal DH implementation after the 2021 season, hitting over .300 in six straight seasons. Science might have solved the Coors Field Effect (a bigger humidor, who knew?), but pitchers still haven’t figured out how to get out Dahl. — Craig Goldstein