In October Drew Creasman and I sat down and mapped out the entire offseason on the BSN Rockies Podcast and how we expected it to play out given information we had as well as our intuition. On Tuesday evening Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post confirmed much of what we already knew.
In a conversation, Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told the Post his goals were simple: First, he wanted to rebuild the bullpen that was depleted by the losses of its closer and two key setup men. Second, he wants to acquire a catcher. Past that, which was already known, it becomes much more interesting.
Bridich said the payroll will hold around $140-150 million, which means the Rockies have about $70 million with which to play. They’re currently committed to about $70 million and are tabbed to spend $105 million when figuring out pre-arbitration and arbitration deals, according to Cot’s Contracts and MLBTR.
In order to know what the Rockies might do especially with the Winter Meetings starting Sunday one can look further into the Post’s chat with Bridich. He mentioned bringing back closer Greg Holland and catcher Jonathan Lucroy as well as possibly acquiring closer Wade Davis, while there have been zero thoughts of outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and no talks with reliever Brandon Kintzler.
Here is the comprehensive list of the latest updates on what we know:
- The Rockies want to acquire a few bullpen pieces, centered around a closer but there is no “magic number.”
- The Rockies wish to acquire a catcher and are exploring options past Lucroy as it seems he could be moving forward. Which means it’s likely Colorado would have to trade for a backstop. Our own Rich Allen ran through those options last week.
- The Rockies could acquire a corner outfielder or first base type, but it’s lower on their list.
- David Dahl remains a cornerstone of the club’s plans.
- A young starter will move to the bullpen but as for its permanence, that’s not something in the GM’s vision.
- $145 million is the magic number.
Let’s play around and construct a roster based on numbers provided by places like Baseball Reference, MLBTR and Cot’s Contracts.
Charlie Blackmon (CF) ~$13.4M
DJ LeMahieu (2B) ~$8.8M
Nolan Arenado (3B) $17.75M
Trevor Story (SS) ~$550K
David Dahl (LF) ~$550K
Ian Desmond (1B) $22M
Yasmani Grandal (C) ~$7.7M
Raimel Tapia (RF) ~$550K
In his third year of arbitration and set to be a free agent after 2018 Grandal seems like a great trade candidate for the Dodgers. Austin Barnes is better and Kyle Farmer is a fine backup. Grandal is solid and would cost the Rockies in a trade, but it would be well worth it with how deep Colorado’s farm system is. Lucroy also fits here, as does J.T. Realmuto if the club really gets splashy.
A few things that could change the rough estimate of $71 million would be an extension to either Blackmon or LeMahieu, a higher price at catcher or the acquisition of a corner outfielder.
Jon Gray ~$550K
Tyler Anderson (L) ~$550K
German Marquez ~$550K
Chad Bettis ~$1.5M
Kyle Freeland (L) ~$550K
This is a steal and the price is going to stay crazy low, maybe even lower depending on how young the Rockies go with their five starters.
*Adam Ottavino $7M
*Mike Dunn (L) $7M
*Chris Rusin (L) ~$1.4M
Zac Rosscup (L) ~$800K
Scott Oberg ~$550K
Jairo Diaz ~$550K
*Carlos Estevez ~$550K
*Antonio Senzatela ~$550K
Jeff Hoffman ~$550k
*Greg Holland $13M
*Zach Britton (L) ~$12.2M
*Pat Neshek $8M
*denotes on 25-man roster to start season if healthy
Like going for Grandal, the Rockies may make a huge splash on the trade market and get superstar closer Britton to co-close with Holland. They bring back the unique look of Neshek and hope either Ottavino or Estevez jumps to elite righty status because they have the capability of doing so. Colorado may also buy low on one more reliever, perhaps even a minor league deal.
Gerardo Parra $10M
Tony Wolters/Tom Murphy ~$1.10M *combined
Pat Valaika ~$550K
Ryan McMahon ~$550K
There are a lot of questions about that bench entering the season, but a lot of potential. I wouldn’t put it past the Rockies to bring back Mark Reynolds for around $5 million as well.
Overall ($139M) ($144.5M with dead money)
The club comes just under what the high-bar for spending is which is good. It will allow Bridich and Co. to make a trade deadline deal if they so please.
In this scenario, the Rockies use both the free agent and trade market to bulk their club back up to around 90 wins. They still rely heavily on their core and need three of the five of Tapia, McMahon, Dahl, Parra and Desmond to figure it out. They entrust their starting pitchers and the depth they’ve accumulated at the position and hope that Story is the player he was in the second half to give Arneado lineup protection. If Story can’t do the trick, one could easily see Blackmon, moving down with Tapia, profiling beautifully as a leadoff man.
Some of the Rockies’ farm system would have to be depleted in order to make these moves but re-signing the two players above and trading for the other two would fit perfectly and feel ‘sexy.’
Colorado would have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball but the excessive spending on the backend will force the Rockies to make riskier plays elsewhere.
Listen to the full BSN Denver Rockies Budget Podcast from earlier this offseason below: