Rockies GM Jeff Bridich chatted with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post about the status of his club’s offseason efforts. You’ll certainly want to read the article in its entirety, but we’ll discuss a few pertinent aspects here:
- Payroll is always a key consideration, of course, and Bridich says the team expects to operate at similar levels as it did in 2017, when it opened with just shy of $130MM on the books. As Saunders notes, the end-of-season number crept higher, though presumably the front office will attempt to keep some powder dry for possible mid-season acquisitions. That still seems to leave quite a bit of room to work with, as the team presently is only committed to about $90MM of salary once anticipated arbitration payouts are factored in. The interview did not touch upon considerations of extensions for existing players, but that could also impact the team’s willingness to take on long-term commitments in free agency. With core players like Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, and Nolan Arenado nearing the open market, it’ll be interesting to see whether there’s an effort to lock them up for the long haul.
- Bullpen and backstop remain the areas of focus, says Bridich. That’s no surprise given the indications already given to date; indeed, in MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook piece on the Rox, we highlighted these two spots and ticked through some of the possibilities. Bridich acknowledges that the team remains engaged with Greg Holland — who served as the closer in 2017 — and confirms that the team has “investigated” top free agent closer Wade Davis. It’s notable that the typically tight-lipped Bridich has made clear that the team is playing at the top of the relief market. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether the club can lure either of those arms to Denver, but it’s also worth noting that Bridich says trade options are on the table.
- There’s likely a need for greater relief depth, too, and both free agency and trade could offer opportunities. There’s no “magic number” of bullpen pieces that the team seeks to add, says Bridich, but he says “there is a possibility of multiple additions to the pen.”
- Behind the dish, it isn’t just a matter of chasing a return for Jonathan Lucroy — though Bridich says that’s still an option, as has previously been reported. He tells Saunders that he’s looking at “some potential catchers that are with teams that we have had some interest in over the years,” so it seems trade possibilities are in play. Per the report, Bridich acknowledged at least an awareness of the potential for Yasmani Grandal to be available, though of course it’s open to question whether the division-rival Dodgers would be amenable to sending him to a direct competitors.
- Bridich discussed the possibility of finding a new bat, suggesting that’s on the list but of lesser urgency. It still seems likely that the club will end up making some kind of addition at first base, but it is far from certain that it’ll be an everyday option since there are certainly some options on hand both there and in the corner outfield. Starting pitching is another consideration, though it too is evidently not seen as a key for the winter. The club has been linked to Jake Arrieta, though it’s possible that was mostly just due diligence.
- Saunders writes that the health of David Dahl is an important consideration to the corner mix. Dahl, who is still just 23 years of age, showed tons of promise in his debut in 2016, when he turned in 237 plate appearances of .315/.389/.500 hitting. But he missed all of last season and remains a bit of a wild card at this point. He is only just readying to begin swinging, though that’ll happen soon and could begin to give the team an idea of just how much it can count on him in 2018. Bridich did say the team “really [doesn’t] know” whether Dahl’s back problems will linger for the long term, though he adds that “things are looking good now.”