Dick Monfort
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Rockies owner claims team will win 94 games despite lack of offseason additions

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According to the Denver Post, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort told the audience at a baseball-related event this morning that he expects his team will win a franchise-record 94 games this year. Monfort reportedly compared the 2019 team’s disastrous 71-win campaign to the 2008 flop that happened between two playoff appearances for the Colorado club. The owner claimed that the bold prediction came courtesy of the team’s analytics department.

The 94-win mark would be quite an achievement for the Rockies given that they are the only team to have not given out a big league contract this winter. Colorado was victimized by injuries and underperformance last year, but it feels like the team would still need something resembling divine intervention to overcome all of those problems. Kyle Freeland went from Cy Young Award contender to a 6.73 ERA, Daniel Murphy had an 87 OPS+, Ian Desmond got 482 plate appearances… the list goes on. Having Nolan Arenado (for now anyway) and Trevor Story in your lineup will do a lot of good, but this isn’t basketball. Your supporting cast needs to actually provide support.

Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections at FanGraphs don’t exactly paint the rosiest of pictures for the Rockies either. Projections are educated guesses, not gospel, but it’s hard to see where exactly those 94 wins are coming from. It’s also important to remember that the Rockies play in the same division as the Dodgers (they’re really dang good), the Diamondbacks (they’ve added well this winter), and the Padres (they’re about to take the next step). Getting 94 wins in the NL West is nothing to sneeze at.

On top of all of that, it’s quite interesting to see Monfort saying this just after Arenado all but demanded a trade. The star third baseman’s name is still floating around in the trade market even after Arenado kind-of-sort-of walked his harsh words back. Would anyone really be shocked if Arenado is wearing a different uniform in a few months, to say nothing of on Opening Day?

Basically, the Rockies are bad and they’ve done next to nothing to change that reality. They might actually make themselves even worse at some point soon. Perhaps now isn’t the best time for Dick Monfort to be boasting of his team’s prowess. It’s not exactly difficult to see that the emperor wears no clothes. Dinger doesn’t wear any pants and the Rockies occasionally have no sleeves on their jerseys, so maybe the organization’s steering into that school of thought. More power to them, I guess. They might need it to deal with the angry fans.

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Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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