The Colorado Rockies might be breaking your heart but they are, at least, using their brains.

They’ve not done much this offseason, adding only a handful of players to the major league roster so far, but what they’ve done in terms of subtracting may actually be a much better indication that the club has had a bit of a shift in mindset that will lead them into this new era.

Connor Joe, Sam Hilliard, and Garrett Hampson were all beloved by fans, outplayed most of their projections and analyst predictions, and brought incredibly fun “underdog story” elements along with some pretty intriguing athletic profiles.

But each were given plenty of opportunities to make their mark over the last two years and none truly succeeded in doing so. With an upcoming class of position players readying to make their MLB debuts (or having already done so) these players came to represent roster redundancy.

Essentially, the Rockies were left with too many replacement level players who all man the same positions, namely corner outfield and first base.

Make no mistake, this franchise has long held the belief that they should build around a certain “good guy” type of player. Hilliard, Hampson, and Joe couldn’t fit that mold any better and the Rox absolutely fell in love with each of them. But, in a bit of a change of modus operandi, they made the logical decision to part with each of them and begin to load up on young pitchers who are a much bigger need.

Joe will likely be the hardest for the fans to part with. His incredible rise to relevance after a battle with cancer will never stop being inspirational, his daily attitude lit up every person he came across, and on the field, he brought a patient plate approach that frankly needs to be copied by everyone else.

His production, though, took a steep decline after the All-Star Break and he ended with an 87 wRC+ and 0.0 fWAR.

Hampson and Hilliard just never got it together at the plate. Both have elite speed and potentially elite defense but neither of those skill sets could justify the lack of offense.

After three straight seasons of putting up a 64 wRC+, Hampson fell to 55. At least Hilliard could promise some power potential, but the strikeouts mounted and the wRC+ plummeted to 44. Those are among the worst numbers in MLB.

In addition to bringing in a couple of minor league pitchers (Nick Garcia, Dylan Spain) with some interesting profiles, they also opened up a couple of spots on the 40-man roster to allow for further maneuvering. 

Also, 2023 is shaping up to be a “show me” year for a lot of players, making it a perfect time to give ample playing time to up-and-comers like Michael Toglia, Sean Bouchard, Brenton Doyle, and eventually the big one, Zac Veen. On the infield, it’s Ezequiel Tovar time.

Veterans Charlie Blackmon, C.J. Cron, Randal Grichuk, and German Marquez, who take up a substantial portion of the budget, all come off the books after this season and some may be in line to be traded before then. 

Marquez is a special case where a good-to-great performance could see the team extend their relationship but another clunker after last season could mean the end of the line for German in purple pinstripes.

Whichever way the winds blow with each of these players, Colorado will know a lot more about what they have, and what they don’t, to build around a year from now.

There is a past version of the Rockies that hangs onto all these players despite the mounting evidence that it wasn’t working here, and it was time to move on. They would have gotten just one more chance to show what they’ve got at the expense of other players who deserve a shot and other parts of the roster that need the attention.

They are likely to catch even more negative feedback from the fanbase for getting rid of some favorites, but it is also a refreshing change of pace for the team to use a bit of cold hard logic rather than falling back on loyalty and sentimentality. 

The fans have been through the ringer the last few years and the club has earned their ire but this subtle change in mentality represents small but important steps toward a better future.