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Rockies’ offense let them down in NLDS

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The Rockies had a great season. They won 91 games, which was just barely too few to win the NL West as they lost a division tiebreaker game to the Dodgers in game No. 163 of the regular season. But the Rockies were a flawed team and it came to light big time in the NLDS against the Brewers.

The Brewers swept the Rockies in three games, outscoring them 13-2. The Rockies failed to score in 27 of 28 innings. At first blush, it’s surprising since the Rockies had the second-best offense in terms of runs scored per game — their 4.79 rate was second-best in the NL, trailing only the Dodgers at 4.93.

However, everyone knows there’s that a team’s offense can look totally different away from Coors Field and the Rockies are no exception. At home, the Rockies collectively slashed .287/.350/.503. On the road, they collectively slashed .225/.295/.370. More comprehensively, OPS+ (or adjusted OPS) accounts for league and park factors and sets the scale such that 100 is average. As a unit, the Rockies’ offense came in at 90 on the regular season. Nolan Arenado (133), Trevor Story (127), and Charlie Blackmon (115) were big contributors, but everyone else hovered around 100 or below.

In the three NLDS games, Blackmon mustered just one hit in 12 at-bats. Story had two in 12. Arenado had two in 11. Everyone else accumulated nine total hits in 61 at-bats. The entire team drew eight walks in the series. In the rare moments the Rockies had a runner in scoring position, they went 1-for-17.

The Brewers’ pitching staff certainly deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Rockies’ offense on ice. The trio of Corbin Burnes, Corey Knebel, and Josh Hader combined to throw 9 1/3 scoreless innings. But below the surface, the stats showed the Rockies’ offense to be flawed and it definitely showed.

In the offseason, the Rockies will watch second baseman DJ LeMahieu head into free agency, as will Carlos González. Gerardo Parra‘s 2019 option may be declined. Ian Desmond may no longer be deemed starting-caliber. In order to maintain relevance in the NL West, the Rockies will have to make quite a few decisions heading into 2019 and the offense will have to be a major focus.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.