DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Rockies are all in on winning NOW. Management proved it this offseason, forking over $260 million to keep Nolan Arenado in purple pinstripes.
“If you’re going to do it on somebody, Nolan is the type of guy you want to do it on,” Rockies owner Dick Monfort says of the record-setting deal.
Next door, Trevor Story is back at shortstop, looking to build off his first All-Star Season.
“I’ve been looking forward to being at this point in my career. With the youth of our team, I feel like it’s a chance to be more of a leader” Story said.
Colorado native Kyle Freeland will be on the mound for Opening Day. He’s coming off a stellar sophomore season, in which he posted the lowest ERA in franchise history at 2.84.
“Just seeing what his potential is, I know there’s more there. I’m curious to see how that pans out over 162 this year,” catcher Chris Iannetta said.
Alright, things get less familiar from here. With the departure of D.J. Lemahieu, the heat is on Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson to replace the best second baseman in club history.
“There probably is a little pressure just put on by myself,” Ryan McMahon said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work. It’s just reps. You can’t duplicate game reps, so we’ll see how it pans out, but I’ve been putting in the work. I feel pretty good.”
“I want to show how I can contribute to this team. I think I can do it in a big way. And in different ways — bring small ball and speed to the team.” Garrett Hampson said.
As second base gets younger, first base gets older. The Rockies are hoping 34-year-old Daniel Murphy will invigorate a lineup that hit a franchise-worst .256 last season.
“We’re very happy to have him. He’s a huge piece. He can play a good 1st base. He’s going to be a big table setter for our lineup and a big threat.” Nolan Arenado says of Murphy.
Murphy Brings the kind of playoff experience the Rockies have never had. In fact, Murphy has more postseason appearances than the Rockies do in the history of the franchise.
“Where he’s been, what he’s done, he adds so much stability to our group,” manager Bud Black says of Murphy. “Our fans are going to like this guy, he’s a good player.”
With Murphy on first, Ian Desmond moves to centerfield. Which means Charlie Blackmon has a new home. This year, you will find the beard and mullet in right field.
“Outfield is outfield. Minor differences between centerfield and right field. The good thing about right field is it’s closer to the dugout, so I don’t have to run as much.” Blackmon said.
Rounding out the new-look outfield is David Dahl, who’s posed to have a breakout season. We got a glimpse of what Dahl’s capable of last September, when he racked up nine homers and 27 RBIs.
“It’s a process to become a solid major league player. It doesn’t happen overnight.” Black said. “We saw what David did in the second half, what he did offensively.”
Last year, the Rockies made the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. This year, they believe they have the talent and experience to bring home another first.
“First and foremost, it’s the division is on our mind.” Nolan Arenado said. “We’ve never won the division before. I think it’s something we see as a legitimate goal. Something we have the opportunity to go get.”
The Rockies open the season Thursday, March 28 in Miami.