Cargo Heading back to Rockies; Lucroy joining A's

A year ago, Carlos Gonzalez turned down a four-year contract extension from the Rockies that was believed to be worth $72 million, choosing instead to test the free agent market this off-season.

Now that exhibition games are underway, and the major deal agent Scott Boras anticipated for Gonzalez never materialized, John Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Friday that Gonzalez and the Rockies are close to finalizing a one-year deal for Gonzalez's return.

Meanwhile, Jane Lee of mlb.com is reporting that Jonathan Lucroy, who turned down a three-year, $21 million offer to return to the Rockies and then found the free-agent market empty, is finalizing a one-year deal with the Oakland A's.

In an off-season in which the free agent market was tight in general, Gonzalez got left by the side after what was a season of struggle. Gonzalez hit .262 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI, his worst numbers in any of the seven seasons in which he appeared in at least 100 games.

Gonzalez, however, made a major change in his sleep habits in August, which he felt helped him rebound to hit .377 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 77 at-bats the final month of the season. That allowed him to be a key player in the Rockies being able to claim a wild-card berth by one game over the Brewers.

If Gonzalez returns it will create a unique situation for the Rockies, who are looking at rookie Ryan McMahon at first base, and the young left-handed bats of Raimel Tapia, Mike Tauchman and David Dahl in left field with veteran Ian Desmond as a possibility at both positions. 

Signing Gonzalez most likely would lead to Dahl and possibly Tapia being sent out with Tauchman remaining as an extra outfielder. Dahl is coming off what was a wasted season in which he was sidelined by a stress fracture of a rib where near his spine. 

After hitting .315 with seven home runs and 24 RBI in 63 games in his big-league debut in the second half of 2016, Dahl never appeared in a big-league game in 2017, and was limited to 77 at-bats in 19 minor league games before his season ended on July 29. The Rockies could feel he would benefit from being able to at least open the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Tapia had a season of bouncing back and forth between the Rockies and Albuquerque, having six different stretches in which he was in the big leagues. Tauchman has been one of the more interesting players in the spring. After hitting only eight home runs in his first four minor-league seasons, including one home run in 475 at-bats at Albuquerque in 2016 Tauchman hit .331 with 16 home runs and 80 RBI in his return to the Isotopes in 2017. 

Tracy RingolsbyComment