2011 Contract Issues: Colorado Rockies

The Rockies face three contractual options after the season:

  • Right fielder Brad Hawpe has a $10MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Hawpe has been a consistent offensive producer, so the option is not out of line if you're OK with his defense.  The Rockies, boasting the game's best outfield depth, still could decline.
  • Starter Jeff Francis has a $7MM club option.  Francis is set to toss a Double A rehab game Thursday as he makes his way back from shoulder surgery.  The Rockies are likely to decline the option.
  • Catcher Miguel Olivo has a $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout, though the option may become mutual based on games played.  Back in November of '08, Olivo and the Royals pulled off one of the rare instances of both sides exercising a mutual option.  If he stays, Chris Iannetta's future will remain murky.

The Rockies have five other free agents: Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Joe Beimel, and Randy Flores.  The group earns $10.125MM in 2010.  The Rockies also gain $6MM with Todd Helton's restructured contract and $750K in buyouts they won't be paying next year for Yorvit Torrealba and Alan Embree.  Assuming Francis, De La Rosa, Giambi, Mora, Beimel, and Flores leave, that's $22.625MM off the books.

On the increase side, we'll assume Hawpe and Olivo stay.  Ubaldo Jimenez, Troy Tulowitzki, and others get minor raises, for a total of $9.1MM extra.  They'll also have to pay Ian Stewart as a first-time arbitration-eligible player, Jason Hammel for his second time, and Clint Barmes, Taylor Buchholz, and Matt Belisle as third-timers.

If the Rockies retain all the arbitration-eligibles and follow the other scenarios laid out above, they'll have over $7MM to work with without raising payroll.  They could put that money toward De La Rosa, or else figure out a way to replace him as they're doing now.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

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