Rockies roster and schedule
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Colorado Rockies roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Colorado Rockies roster and schedule:

ROCKIES ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Rockies roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Tony Wolters
Drew Butera

Infielders:

Daniel Murphy
Ryan McMahon
Brendan Rodgers
Garrett Hampson
Chris Owings
Trevor Story
Nolan Arenado

Outfielders:

Charlie Blackmon
David Dahl
Raimel Tapia
Matt Kemp
Sam Hilliard

Starters:

German Márquez
Jon Gray
Kyle Freeland
Antonio Senzatela
Chi Chi González
Jeff Hoffman

Relievers:

Wade Davis
Scott Oberg
Jairo Díaz
Carlos Estévez
James Pazos
Yency Almonte
Phillip Diehl
Tyler Kinley
Daniel Bard


BREAKDOWN:

As always seems to be the case, the Rockies are going to hit the ball. Their offense starts and ends with five-time All-Star Nolan Arenado at third base. Last season, Arenado posted a .962 OPS, blasting 41 homers with 118 RBI. Not to be forgotten are Charlie Blackmon (32/86) and Trevor Story (35/85). Outside of these three, however, the Rockies didn’t get much production. They will need Daniel Murphy to hit like he used to, Raimel Tapia to take a step forward, and David Dahl to have a full, healthy season if they are going to compete for a Wild Card.

The top-four of the Rockies’ rotation is set, led by German Márquez and followed by Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela. Chi Chi González and Jeff Hoffman could both pitch out of the No. 5 spot. Márquez has tons of potential but is limited by his home ballpark, the most hitter-friendly in baseball. Last season, Márquez averaged exactly five strikeouts for each walk, but posted a 6.26 ERA at Coors Field and a 3.67 ERA everywhere else. The non-believers in Kyle Freeland were proven right last year. After posting a 2.85 ERA and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young balloting in 2018, Freeland followed up with an ugly 6.73 ERA while battling blister issues. Jon Gray had the opposite experience, bouncing back from a rough 2018 with a solid 2019. If everyone can get on the same page, this can actually be a solid 1-2-3 punch.

The Rockies’ bullpen has a lot of experience, but interestingly, its upside won’t come from closer Wade Davis. Rather, Carlos Estévez and Scott Oberg (who’s currently battling a back injury) represent the potential. While Davis posted an 8.65 ERA over 42 2/3 innings last season, Estévez and Oberg put up respective marks of 3.75 and 2.25 with good swing-and-miss stuff. One imagines the leash isn’t long for Davis. If he falters, Estévez or Oberg, or even Jairo Díaz could find themselves closing out ballgames.

ROCKIES SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 24-26: @ Rangers
  • July 28-29: @ Athletics
  • July 31-August 2: vs. Padres
  • August 3-6: vs. Giants
  • August 7-9: @ Mariners
  • August 10-12: vs. Diamondbacks
  • August 14-16: vs. Rangers
  • August 17-18: @ Astros
  • August 19-20: vs. Astros
  • August 21-23: @ Dodgers
  • August 24-27: @ Diamondbacks
  • August 28-31: vs. Padres
  • September 1-2: vs. Giants
  • September 4-6: @ Dodgers
  • September 7-9: @ Padres
  • September 11-13: vs. Angels
  • September 15-16: vs. Athletics
  • September 17-20: vs. Dodgers
  • September 21-24: @ Giants
  • September 25-27: @ Diamondbacks

The entire Rockies schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”