Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Rockies mailbag: Questions for 2022 on CJ Cron, Trevor Story and a new close

Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies mailbag.

Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies mailbag.

Good day, Patrick. The second half of this season has been an encouraging one, due to the development of the starting pitching staff and players of young status. If the Rockies add a credible close and a power bat in the outfield, could they be in contention for a playoff berth? Who will replace CJ Cron at first base and Trevor Story at shortstop? Thank you.

— Robert Emmerling, Limon

Robert, first of all, thank you for all your questions this season and for your conversations on Twitter. it is much appreciated.

Your query this week covers the position of the Rockies in a nutshell. It’s certainly possible that the Rockies are a wild-card team next season, although I don’t think they’re a valid candidate to win the National League West. But to snuff the playoffs, the Rockies need to strengthen their bullpen and add punch to the offense. This is no secret.

Finding a new closer – unless the Rockies believe Carlos Estevez is the answer – won’t be easy. I don’t see a ton of quality relievers coming on the market.

Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal was thought to be close to Oakland, but he underwent thoracic outlet surgery and then surgery to repair a torn hip and is about to miss until 2021. They may be available for a reasonable cost, but what is left for them to offer?

The same question would be asked to Mark Melanchon, the Padres’ right-hander. He has been excellent for San Diego this year after bouncing around with several organizations. He received a one-year, $3 million deal with a mutual option for the 2022 season.

The four-time All-Star (including this year) is 37 years old and a different pitcher than he was at his prime, but he could be even more effective with his off-speed pitches and cuts in fastball. His 37 saves lead the National League and he has a 2.26 ERA. Will the product of Golden High School consider pitching for his hometown team? Perhaps.

As far as the story is concerned, all I have been told is that he will soon be gone and will not return. I wrote in Sunday’s Denver Post about the possible end to Story’s Rockies career. The Rockies haven’t reached out to Story’s agent to open the door about Story living in Colorado. As it stands now, Brendan Rodgers is poised to subtly change the story. That step is not carved in stone.

I am confident that Krone will return to the two-year deal. He likes his teammates and likes Colorado. And he has been as good as he has been this year. After being named NL Player of the Month for August, Krone has slipped to a fall of .196/.270/.357 in September.

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