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2016 MLB roster outlook: Colorado Rockies

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2016 MLB roster outlook: Colorado Rockies

2015 record: 68-94, 5th place in NL West

Manager: Walt Weiss, 4th season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $111 million

Key additions: LF Gerardo Parra, 1B Mark Reynolds, RP Jake McGee, RP Jason Motte

Key losses: 1B Justin Morneau, C Wilin Rosario, SP Kyle Kendrick, RP John Axford, OF Corey Dickerson

Projected lineup

CF Charlie Blackmon
SS Jose Reyes
RF Carlos Gonzalez
3B Nolan Arenado
LF Gerardo Parra
2B D.J. LeMahieu
1B Ben Paulsen
C Nick Hundley

Projected rotation
LHP Jorge De La Rosa
RHP Chad Bettis
RHP Jordan Lyles
RHP Jon Gray
RHP Tyler Chatwood

Top relievers
CL Jake McGee
RHP Jason Motte
RHP Justin Miller

Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Can they improve their pitching? The Rockies have had a bottom-five pitching staff in terms of team ERA for five years running. In three of those seasons they were dead last in the category, including in both 2014 and 2015. That is just terrible, and it goes way beyond them simply playing in the best hitters' park in baseball. If they are ever going to win anything, they will need to get better at pitching. They do, however, have two solid pitching prospects coming into their own. Jon Gray was ranked 33rd in MLB.com's list of the top 100 prospects and was the third overall pick in 2013. Jeff Hoffman was ranked 52nd by MLB.com and was picked ninth in 2014. Can they help the Rockies' pitching staff finally show some signs of life?

2. Will Dahl or McMahan make an impact? The Rockies also have two position player prospects who are relatively close to the majors. Both David Dahl and Ryan McMahon are top 50 prospects and 21 years old. Dahl, the 10th overall pick in 2012, is an outfielder. He has a .309 career average in the minors and reached Double-A last season. McMahon was a second round pick in 2013 and plays third base. He has only reached high-A ball, but hit .300 with 18 homers and 75 RBI in the minors last season. Both play positions that are not needs for the Rockies, but each has a chance to debut this season.

3. Does anyone else get traded? The Rockies are in a transition period right now, as evidenced by the trade of Troy Tulowitzki last season to the Blue Jays. They are loaded with offensive talent, but very thin with pitchers. Do any of their other stars follow Tulo out the door? This winter they added Gerardo Parra in a trade, which made some speculate whether outfielders Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon could become available. The development of Dahl could play into that, as he is another talented outfielder coming up through their ranks. Gonzalez, by the way, has only two years left on his contract. If they do plan to trade him at some point, it would have to be relatively soon.

[Roster info via RosterResource.com]

[RELATED: First pictures of Doug Fister in Astros uniform]

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm