Second baseman Brendan Rodgers finished his truncated 2023 season by giving the Rockies reasons not to trade him and address their lingering need for starting pitching.
Rodgers injured his left shoulder during spring training this required surgery and delayed his debut in the 2023 season until July 31. After a hot start followed by a prolonged slump, Rodgers finished the season with a surge, slashing .348/.392/.580 in his final 17 games and hitting in all four of his games. his home runs in the last 11 games.
“I missed 80 percent of the year, which is tough, so it’s important for me to get those at-bats at the end of the year,” Rodgers said during the final days of the 2023 season. “It’s important for me to try to find that rhythm and do what I’ve been doing and try to carry that into next year and into the work in the offseason.”
With the Winter Meetings next week in Nashville, Tenn., trading Rodgers for a pitcher is at least worth a thought exercise. It was more than that for the Rockies’ last offseason, even as Rodgers, who won’t be a free agent until after the 2025 season, celebrated his first prize of the Golden Glove in 22.
The Rockies have reportedly been in trade talks with the Marlins over Rodgers. Colorado chose right-hander Edward Cabrera and his six years of club control over Pablo López’s higher salary and two years. López eventually joined the Twins and finished his first season with Minnesota tied for third in major league strikeouts (234). Miami fixed its second base problem by trading López for Luis Arraez, who would lead the Majors in 2023 with a .354 batting average. The Rockies also, according to sources, had discussions with the Mariners centered on Rodgers, but they didn’t think the return was a good one.
Unless the right trade happens, Colorado will hope for a year of consistency and health from the 27-year-old Rodgers.
In 2022, his healthiest season, Rodgers provided insight into why it makes sense to keep him around. He endured a rough April and hit .078, then had a .359 batting average over his next 26 games. Rodgers finished the year with a respectable .266, but he fell to 13 home runs. The Rockies believe he has 20-homer power.
“With Brendan, you see hard contact and softer balls falling — but that’s a function of strength,” manager Bud Black said of Rodgers’ hot finale in 2023. “He hit some balls to hits against good pitchers, but he also caught a few balls, which is a very good sign.
The winter meetings promise plenty of smoke — and maybe just a little fire — when it comes to free agents, as well as trade candidates at the top of the rotation, but it’s hard to imagine the Rockies getting involve in the next level. Beyond Rodgers, Colorado doesn’t have any regulars with extensive experience and club control. The team also hasn’t been in the business of dealing standout players early in his career, so it’s unlikely they’ll move offensive sensation Nolan Jones or Brenton Doyle, Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder.
Rodgers is in front of a midfield image that offers depth.
Shortstop Adael Amador finished the year as #1 Rockies perspective (No. 21 overall), per MLB Pipeline. Third baseman and corner outfielder Sterlin Thompson, Colorado’s Hope #6hit .293 with High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford in 2023 and won All-Arizona Fall League ’23 honors while playing more games at second base. Rockies shortstop Ryan Ritter Hope #20, produced offensively beyond expectations after Colorado drafted him in the fourth round in ’22, posting a .902 OPS across three levels in ’23. All of them could attract suitors into a trade. Additionally, Julio Carreras, who hit .235 in 88 games at Double-A Hartford and played all over the infield, was hot at .319 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 26 games with Gigantes Del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League.
What reduces the chances of Rodgers being dealt at the Winter Meetings is that neither of these prospects are likely to be Major League ready by Opening Day 2024. A More Scenario Likely is that a prospect makes his way to the Major League during the season and makes the Rockies revisit the idea of trading Rodgers before the trade deadline.
Rodgers has been faced with so much trade talk that he hasn’t given much thought to the chatter and rumors. He finished the season ready to open a training facility on land he purchased near Orlando, Fla., and was eager to build on a strong finish.
Before his left shoulder injury in spring training, Rodgers began to embrace his veteran status on a team that, it turned out, became younger as the season progressed. Towards the end of the 2023 season, Rodgers invited his teammates to work with him in the new building.
“We will have Charlie Blackmon back and he will continue to play his role,” Rodgers said. “We talked a lot about what to do, and that helped me a lot. There’s definitely room for improvement for me and other guys, but I think that’s what the offseason is for.
Rodgers also covets a second Gold Glove Award – an honor he didn’t get the chance to defend in 2023.
“It stinks that I can’t even be mentioned because of the time I missed,” Rodgers said. “I played solid on ‘D.’ My goal is the same as (2022): expand the range, continue the double play tricks, make the tough plays and tough turns. I will come back next year. »
These are the statements of a man who does not expect to be treated.
“It’s not really a thought that crosses my mind,” Rodgers said. “Technically, I’m here for two more years. I only have good things to say. I would love to, you know, finish my time here and you know, kind of see where everything is going.