Will the Rockies get a bigger boost from reliever Pat Neshek or catcher Jonathan Lucroy in their trade deals?
Kiz: It feels good to exhale. I held my breath so long waiting for the Rockies to make deals at the trade deadline, my lips were starting to turn Dodger blue. General manager Jeff Bridich didn’t get Yu Darvish or even J.D. Martinez. But Colorado did get a relief pitcher and a catcher. Does Pat Neshek or Jonathan Lucroy figure to help more in the pursuit of a playoff berth?
Groke: Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller once said: “If you believe your catcher is intelligent and you know that he has considerable experience, it is a good thing to leave the game almost entirely in his hands.” Lucroy’s name carries weight, all around the majors. He is exactly what a Rockies rotation heavy with near-adolescent pitchers needs when the stretch run heats up.
Kiz: OK, my kids rarely listen to me. So I know Bridich doesn’t take notes when I make a suggestion. But I banged the drum so loudly and so long for Neshek that I feel personally responsible for his success in the Rockies bullpen. If the sidewinder is lights out, you can buy me a rye on the rocks during the playoffs. And if Neshek starts giving up dingers at Coors Field, I’ll be hiding behind Dinger in shame.
Groke: Neshek is insurance for Adam Ottavino’s struggles. And if Ottavino finds his form, combined with the sidearmer Neshek and lefty Jake McGee, that’s a stout back-end bullpen in front of Greg Holland. But they have to throw to somebody who can quiet the storm when the going gets rough. That’s Lucroy. From the World Baseball Classic team to two all-star squads, his experience will be key.
Kiz: Lucroy has stunk this year. But he earned a trip to the All-Star Game as recently as 2016. Given that the Rockies invested so little in the deal for Lucroy, it seems worth gambling LoDo will make his bat come alive, and a playoff race will rejuvenate his reputation for being a friend to young pitchers. The Rockies, however, are all about placing the game in the hands of their closer, Holland. If Neshek can do it on a consistent basis, renting his right arm will prove to be a bargain.
Groke: I’m sticking with the backstop. By pure production alone, Lucroy will play in five games a week or so. He will have his calloused hands all over this Rockies team over the next two months. And between him and fellow veteran Ryan Hanigan, manager Bud Black will have an on-field brain bridge to the mound. The Rockies rookies finally have a regular veteran they can lean on and learn from.
Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy looks to add experience to help stabilize the Rockies’ young pitching staff over the final two months of the season.
Relief pitcher Pat Neshek could take some late-game stress off the Rockies.