Teams know their players best. So when a club with money to spend and a need for starters now and in the near future like the Astros watched Charlie Morton leave for the Rays and doesn’t do much to sign Dallas Keuchel, you wonder whether Houston knows something about the physical condition of these players that the rest of the sport might not.
That is how I felt when Colorado decided to let DJ LeMahieu leave for the Yankees for two years at $24 million. Yes, the Rockies have young possibilities, including top prospect Brendan Rodgers, and they have increased their payroll a fifth straight year even without retaining LeMahieu, but they are a win-now team and LeMahieu is a win-now player who has worked well in Colorado.
But general manager Jeff Bridich insists it was about decisions (Daniel Murphy was signed for two years at $24 million at a greater area of need, first base) and limits on payroll. And Bridich and several Rockies spoken to insist there is no booby prize in LeMahieu.
“They are getting one of the best guys,” left fielder Charlie Blackmon said. “He is a true professional. He has an incredible feel for the game and knowing how to play it. An unbelievable defender. He makes really, really hard plays look routine. He was my compass for how I should feel about particularly controversial plays or situations on the field. Should we throw at this guy? Which is almost never the right answer. He has such a good feel for the game. He makes other players around him better.”