Little did the world know, the New York Yankees signing DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract before the start of the 2019 season ended up flipping the baseball world upside down.
LeMahieu has become a perennial MVP candidate responsible for much of the team’s success over that span and the Colorado Rockies — the team that let him walk — have crumbled abruptly, in similar fashion to the Ottoman Empire.
Though the Los Angeles Dodgers have silenced the Rox for the most part, Colorado still boasted a playoff contender and could’ve had the best infield in all of baseball had they retained LeMahieu and kept Nolan Arenado alongside Trevor Story.
At that point, all they would’ve needed to do is get some starting pitching.
But alas, LeMahieu’s departure to New York arguably started the Rockies epic downfall.
Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), who asserts that Rockies players “begged” the front office to re-sign LeMahieu.
They did not, and in fact “just didn’t like him as a player,” creating…somewhat of a disconnect in the building.
Yeah … “disconnect” between the organization and its players would be an understatement.
Not only did Colorado disobey their players’ wishes, but they instead signed Daniel Murphy for an extremely forgettable pair of seasons as he aged out of contributing at the MLB level. Brutal.
Since LeMahieu left Colorado, the team is 97-125, though they’ve endured far more issues than just missing his bat and defense at second base. But it’s reasonable to assume that the Yankees capitalizing on the Rockies’ aloofness ended up accelerating the nonsensical Arenado trade with the Cardinals.
The Rockies’ Opening Day payroll in 2018 was just $141 million and they were seemingly on the cusp of building a contender. Young slugger David Dahl was emerging. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez looked like top rotation arms. The bullpen even had solid names like Adam Ottavino, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Scott Oberg and Bryan Shaw.
Though the payroll would increase the following year, cheaping out on LeMahieu, who was a former NL batting champ and a very consistent hitter for them while ignoring pleas from the players all but officially confirms there needs to be new ownership and management in Colorado as soon as humanly possible.