Monfort covers all things Rockies in Twitter chat
Owner handles questions from fans, sees bright possibilities for Colorado in 2014
DENVER -- If Rockies chairman, owner and CEO Dick Monfort were given an at-bat, or if guys in his position needed a song to herald their arrival in a ballpark, he'd use "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.
More importantly, he sees bright possibilities for 2014: "With a healthy roster, 90 wins." That would be a dramatic forward step from two straight last-place finishes in the National League West.
That's the way Monfort handled questions from fans on the @Rockies #AskTheOwner chat on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. There was confidence, as well as humor when he was asked if he was being spoon-fed certain questions and shielded from others.
"I may not be typing but I'm reading every question," he said. "You think the typing is bad now? Would be worse with me."
There was also the news that the Rockies have been in negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche and the National Hockey League about the possibility of an outdoor game at Coors Field.
Scheduled for 40 minutes, Monfort answered questions for nearly twice as long. Prompted by fans, Monfort projected the Rockies' lineup and rotation, discussed the bullpen and gave his thoughts on some of the team's prospects.
Monfort also addressed subjects that are sticky in the eyes of the more frustrated fans, such as the money spent on the roster and the difficulty the team has had succeeding since going to the playoffs in 2007 and '09. Here are some of the highlights from the chat:
On right-handed pitching prospects Jon Gray (ranked as the No. 14 prospect in all of baseball) and Eddie Butler (ranked 41st):
"Gray and Butler could potentially be pitching at Coors Field by late summer."
On outfield/first-base prospect Kyle Parker:
"Parker is coming to 2nd Major League camp. Has had 2 good years. Scary power. Projects more as 1B for us. Needs a little time."
On the Rockies' payroll spending in relation to fan support:
"Regarding FA signings, our payroll went up about 20%. We got a starting pitcher in trade making 8.5m & 3 FA 15m.
"We're 9th in attendance, 28th in tix price on purpose. Market is based on size & we are 19th. We love our fans."
On whether the team can contend in 2014:
"We really believe we can contend w/ as much depth as ever, exp & 2 of best players in MLB."
On whether altitude is being used as an excuse for pitching struggles:
"[Clayton] Kershaw, [Tim] Lincecum, [Stephen] Strasburg have +6 ERA at Coors Field. We have to get ground balls."
On whether third baseman Nolan Arenado, who won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award as a rookie last year, will have an impact offensively:
"Arenado was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League in '12 because of his bat. [Mike] Trout & [Bryce] Harper were there as well."
On the factors in signing right-handed veteran LaTroy Hawkins as closer:
"Hawkins still throws 94 mph. Excellent control. Not everyday closer, but he is a leader on and off the field."
On when left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich, a No. 1 Draft pick, will make an impact after being off the Major League club since late 2012 because of a back injury:
"Friedrich is coming along. His back is good. He's a competitive kid, have to build strength in Minors but could be a factor."
On newly acquired outfielder Drew Stubbs:
"Stubbs is a great defensive player. Hits left-handers. Has power and can steal bases. His issue's been RHP.
On his support for longtime general manager and chief baseball officer Dan O'Dowd:
"World Series '07, Playoffs '09. Just short of playoffs in '10. Top Minor League system in baseball [based on winning the Topps Organization of the Year Award for 2013]."
On whether the new Rooftop Deck at Coors Field gives the message that a game is more a social event:
"We try to be relevant to all of our fans, whether at the park for a social event or baseball purist."
On his breakout player prediction:
"[Wilin] Rosario could have a breakout year."
On whether the Rockies can improve their local television revenue:
"TV deals are based on market size and we are the 19th market. Ours will improve next year."
On his favorite memory of recently retired first baseman Todd Helton:
"Walk-off home run to complete the doubleheader sweep of LA in Sept. '07 on our way to the World Series."
Here is Monfort's projected Opening Day lineup:
LF Charlie Blackmon or Corey Dickerson
RF Michael Cuddyer
CF Carlos Gonzalez
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Morneau
2B DJ LeMahieu or Josh Rutledge
Here is Monfort's projected starting rotation:
LHP Brett Anderson
RHP Jhoulys Chacin
LHP Jorge De La Rosa
RHP Tyler Chatwood
RHP Juan Nicasio or RHP Jordan Lyles