Rockies in 2017: What the team might look like
The extensions signed this offseason withand keep the heart of the Colorado Rockies lineup together at least through the end of 2017, the final year of Gonzalez’s seven-year extension announced Tuesday. Between now and then, however, the rest of the roster could take on a much different look as the current group surrounding Tulowitzki and Gonzalez moves on and a new group of prospects currently in the minors emerges.
What follows is pure speculation and involves only players currently in the organization — seven years of drafting will certainly bring in other promising prospects and increased revenue will open up the possibility for new signings and extensions. It assumes contract extensions for only a handful of few players —, and — but beyond those three and possibly or , relies on players who are under the organization’s control at least through the end of the 2017 season. That means the players are either under contract through that period — like Tulowitzki and Gonzalez — or won’t have a full year of major-league service time by the end of 2011. The earliest that any player with less than a full year of service time by the end of next season could become a free agent would be after the 2017 season.
So what might the Rockies look like seven years from now? Maybe something like this:
SS Troy Tulowitzki
LF Carlos Gonzalez
CF Rafael Ortega
IF Christhian Adames
IF Chris Nelson
A few thoughts:
— I’m assuming a contract extension for Jimenez because at this point one seems pretty likely following this season. Also one for Chacin and Reynolds, both of whom will be in line for free agency after 2016 if they stay with the team for all or most of the 2011 season. Rogers and Nelson could be as well, but I think it’s likely they split the season between the Rockies and Triple-A and might not finish the season with a full year of service time.
— I’m not assuming contract extensions for , or , who all can be free agents after 2014. It’s possible, even likely, that one or more of them could be with the team beyond that, but because of the depth at their positions in the minors, I chose not to take a guess at who might stick around. Also I’m taking into account that Fowler is a client of Scott Boras, and while the Rockies have already managed to sign one of his clients to extension well into free agent years, the Gonzalez signing is an exception.
— This list does not include , an 18-year-old shortstop who in 2011 will play in the U.S. for the first time at Casper. He’s a very promising prospect and will probably fit in somewhere, but what position he eventually plays is a bit uncertain because he could outgrow shortstop, a position at which he will be blocked in any case.
— Kyle Parker is included but only on the bench because without any professional track record to go by, it’s tough to gauge how he will compare to Tim Wheeler and Charlie Blackmon.
— The bullpen beyond guys like Brothers, Weathers, Bettis and Reynolds is really more a collection of leftover starters. Rogers, Nicasio and Tago all could be part of the starting rotation or traded and there are a number of guys in the low minors like Josh Slaats and Erik Stavert who are difficult to project this far. I took that leap with Albert Campos, who’s just 19 and has never pitched above Rookie ball, partly because of his size — 6-foot-4, 222 pounds — at such a young age.
— Nolan Arenado may not stay at third base, but at the moment the Rockies have no plans to move him.
— Ben Paulsen is a promising hitter, but first base is also a place where a number of other prospects could move over time.