DEC. 11: The Rockies’ interest in Davis continues, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Davis is one of “numerous” possibilities for the Rockies, who are trying to add multiple relievers, per Rosenthal. They were interested in re-signing Pat Neshek before he agreed to join the Phillies on Monday, Rosenthal adds.
DEC. 2: With Greg Holland currently on the open market, the closer-needy Rockies have shown interest in fellow free agent Wade Davis and spoken with the Orioles about Zach Britton, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported earlier this week (Twitter link).
Colorado’s interest in both players isn’t particularly surprising when you consider that Holland and two other key members of its 2017 bullpen – Jake McGee and Pat Neshek – are unsigned. Thanks in part to those three, the Rockies’ bullpen enjoyed a seismic turnaround from 2016 to ’17, thus helping the club to its first playoff season since 2009. With Holland, McGee and Neshek on the market, the Rockies’ relief corps looks decidedly less imposing than it did late in the season, leading general manager Jeff Bridich to acknowledge last month that it’s going to be a key area of focus this winter.
Between Davis and Britton, the former would require a much bigger commitment from a financial standpoint. The 32-year-old Davis was among the game’s best relievers with the Rays, Royals and Cubs from 2012-17 and now stands as arguably the premier bullpen piece in free agency. MLBTR projects a four-year, $60MM payday for the right-handed Davis, who rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer at the outset of the offseason. The Rockies would only lose their third-highest 2018 draft pick if they were to sign Davis, though, as the team’s a revenue-sharing recipient that did not exceed the competitive balance tax last season.
Britton, a southpaw, is only under control for another year – at a projected $12.2MM – and should be popular in trade rumors this offseason as a result. GM Dan Duquette suggested this week that the Orioles are inclined to keep Britton as they seek a bounce-back year in 2018, but he also noted that “there’s a lot of interest” in the soon-to-be 30-year-old. Britton is coming off a somewhat disappointing season, however, despite a 2.89 ERA and a 72.6 percent groundball rate across 37 1/3 innings. Britton dealt with forearm issues, leading to a drop in velocity, and posted 6.99 K/9 against 4.34 BB/9. He was at 9.94 and 2.42 in those categories during a 2016 campaign that saw him record a jaw-dropping .54 ERA over 67 frames and garner American League Cy Young consideration.
With Baseball America’s 15th-ranked farm system, the Rockies likely have enough in the pipeline to put together a package for Britton if the Orioles are willing to move him. But there are plenty of viable late-game options available in free agency if a trade doesn’t come together. In addition to Davis, the Rockies have thus far shown reported interest in Holland – although, as a qualifying recipient, his departure would net them a high draft pick – as well as Brandon Kintzler.