The Rockies have signed relievers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw to expensive contracts in recent offseasons. Those deals haven’t worked out for the team, though, and now buyer’s remorse may be setting in regarding at least a couple of those pitchers. The club’s “investigating trades” involving McGee and Shaw, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, though he notes it’s unclear whether the Rockies will be able to move either.
No member of the Davis-McGee-Shaw trio should be easy to trade. It may be close to impossible in the case of Davis, who’s coming off a shockingly awful season and is still owed $18MM (including a $1MM buyout for 2021). Meanwhile, McGee and Shaw are still due substantial amounts in their own right. McGee has $11.5MM left (including a $2MM buyout for 2021), and Shaw’s owed a $9MM salary this year with a $2MM buyout thereafter.
The left-handed McGee, 33, was coming off a mostly solid run with the Rays and Rockies before he re-signed with the latter entering the 2018 season. Since then, he has put up a pair of unimpressive years, most recently recording a 4.35 ERA (with a far worse 6.00 ERA) across 41 1/3 innings in 2019. McGee walked just 2.4 batters per nine along the way, but his K/9 (7.62) and groundball percentage (35.7) left plenty to be desired. He also finished with a swinging-strike percentage of 8.6, almost a career low.
Shaw, a 32-year-old righty, had about as much trouble retiring enemy hitters as McGee did last season. He stumbled to a 5.38 ERA/5.19 FIP wth 7.25 K/9 and 3.63 BB/9 over 72 innings during his second straight subpar showing since he joined the Rockies on a three-year, $27MM guarantee that matched McGee’s deal. The Rockies’ version of Shaw has paled in comparison to the one who held his own with the Diamondbacks and Indians in previous seasons.
Going forward, Shaw’s $9MM club option for 2021 will become guaranteed if he appears in 40 games this year and finishes the season healthy. So, if the Rockies are unable to find a taker for Shaw in a trade, it would behoove them to significantly reduce his workload after he averaged 65 appearances in his first two seasons in their uniform.