Rockies right-hander Seunghwan Oh made his 70th appearance of the 2018 season today, thus triggering the vesting option on his contract. The $2.5MM club option (with a $250K buyout) that Colorado held on Oh’s services for the 2019 season has now become fully guaranteed, allowing the 36-year-old to lock in a payday for what will be his 15th total season in professional baseball. Reaching the 70-game plateau also allowed Oh to max out his incentives for his 2018 salary, so he’ll earn an extra $500K in appearance-related bonuses on top of his $1.75MM guaranteed salary.
While Oh now has more security, it seemed very likely that the Rockies would exercise their club option anyways given how well Oh has pitched both since coming to Denver (in a July trade from Toronto) and as a whole in 2018. Oh has a 2.73 ERA, 10.23 K/9, and 75 strikeouts against just 17 walks over 66 total innings for the Rockies and Blue Jays. It has been a very nice bounceback year for the veteran following a rather shaky, homer-prone 2017 campaign as a member of the Cardinals bullpen. Oh hasn’t entirely rid himself of his home run issues (1.09 HR/9), and ERA predictors (3.44 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, 3.17 SIERA) are a bit more pessimistic about his performance this year, though overall, Oh has been a thoroughly solid contributor.
Oh’s presence has helped stabilize a Rockies bullpen that has been average at best this season, and disastrous at worst. Colorado spent $106MM last winter on three-year contracts for Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw, only to see Davis have a down year by his high standards, and McGee and Shaw both post ERAs north of 6.00 (though Shaw has pitched better over the last couple of months). The less-heralded trio of Oh, Adam Ottavino, and Scott Oberg have all pitched very well, however, allowing the Rockies to stay in the postseason race. With so much money already committed to the bullpen, Colorado faces a tough decision this winter about Ottavino, who will be a free agent.