Rockies Notes: Monfort, Starters, Payroll, Fowler

The Rockies' pre-arbitration pay scale continues to be unpopular amongst agents, tweets MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. Colorado pays a league-minimum $500K for players with between zero and one year of service, then bumps that up by just $1K for each additional service year before arbitration. Here's more from the Rockies:

  • In a Q&A with fans today over Twitter (transcript via the Denver Post), club owner Dick Monfort covered a variety of topics. Expressing confidence in executive VP and GM Dan O'Dowd, Monfort said that the club is capable of reaching 90 wins next year if it maintains a healthy roster. 
  • Colorado could be turning the corner in its efforts to put together a strong pitching staff despite a notoriously hitter-friendly home park. Monfort noted that the club's 2013 rotation was "statistically the best pitching in our history." And more improvements could be on the way: Monfort says that top prospects Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler "could potentially be pitching at Coors Field by late summer."
  • Monfort also confirmed the organizational philosophy of adding arms that can induce grounders, noting that pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, and Stephen Strasburg all sport career ERAs of over 6.00 at Coors Field. Major off-season acquisition Brett Anderson, notably, sports a career 54.9% ground-ball rate that lands well above league-average (which sat at 44.5% last year). Though he struggled with surrendering home runs last year (17.9% HR/FB), Anderson managed a career-best 62.9% ground-ball rate, continuing a trend of increasing his induction of grounders in each of his five MLB campaigns.
  • Monfort fielded several less-than-positive inquiries regarding spending. He argued that the club's payroll has increased 20% over last year, and said that despite strong attendance (9th in the bigs), the team maintained only the 28th-highest ticket prices and boasted only the 19th-ranked market in the league. He noted, however, that the team's TV deal "will improve next year."
  • On the Dexter Fowler trade (which brought back Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes), Monfort said that the team was pleased to add "a good pitcher and center fielder." The owner says he is confident in the team's outfield depth, and explained that the deal was made because "it allowed us to do other things." The swap cleared the club's books of the $7.35MM owed Fowler in 2014 and, presumably, an increase through arbitration next year. It likely played an important role in allowing the club to take on Anderson's contract ($8MM in 2014, less $2MM paid by the A's, with a $12MM option for 2015) and sign Justin Morneau (two years, $12.5MM).

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