In Vin Scully’s final home game, Charlie Culberson blasted an extra innings homer against the Colorado Rockies that made the Dodgers National League West champs. Watching the postgame celebrations might’ve inspired the other clubhouse.
The Dodgers are thrilled to be bringing back their own, but a reality of the matter is the team is largely banking on internal improvement. Perhaps Brian Dozier is manning second for the boys in blue. Maybe Greg Holland is pitching the eighth inning. But for now, the Dodgers’ biggest addition is Rich Hill for an entire season.
Around 1,000 miles east, the Colorado Rockies are readying to challenge the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants for superiority in the NL West. The Rockies inked Ian Desmond to a contract. Desmond, coming off a strong season, should rake in Coors Field. The team said he’s playing first base, but we’re yet to see if that’s the case.
The Rockies are reportedly in negotiations with Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. This comes immediately after signing reliever Mike Dunn to a three-year, $19 million contract. Nightengale wrote a piece Thursday examining the Rockies’ offseason (he was not fond of the Dodgers’ moves).
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 15, 2016
“The Rockies are in negotiations with Mark Trumbo and even Edwin Encarnacion,” Nightengale writes. “If they land either slugger, they likely would shift Desmond to the outfield, giving them a valuable trade chip in Charlie Blackmon or Carlos Gonzalez to acquire pitching help.”
Trumbo or Encarnacion would have unlimited power in Coors Field. As Nightengale noted, the team could then fetch useful pieces in return for Gonzalez or Blackmon. If not this offseason, then the trade deadline.
Colorado is coming. It may not be in 2017, but it is a team positioned for long-term success thanks to its excellent scouting and development, unlike the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks and 2015 San Diego Padres.
New manager Bud Black is familiar with the NL West, and the Rockies could be a surprise team to watch in 2017. The West may challenge the American League East for best division in baseball. The Dodgers are the favorites to win their fifth straight divisional title, but it won’t come without a fight.