MLB Trade Rumors » » Colorado Rockies 2018-02-20T06:00:45Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Still In Touch With Carlos Gonzalez's Agent]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115139 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z
  • The Rockies have continued to keep in touch with Scott Boras in regards to free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, general manager Jeff Bridich told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sunday (Twitter link). Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra and David Dahl rank as the Rockies’ most prominent corner outfielders at the moment, but all three come with question marks. Desmond was subpar last year, Parra is out several weeks after undergoing hand surgery (and hasn’t been particularly good as a Rockie) and Dahl didn’t play in the majors at all in 2017 on account of a rib cage injury. Meanwhile, Gonzalez posted the worst season of his career – which helps explain why he’s still available – though he went on a tear in September (.377/.484/.766 in 93 plate appearances) to end on a high note.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Reynolds, Parra]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115030 2018-02-17T19:07:03Z 2018-02-17T19:07:03Z Both the Giants and Rangers came away impressed after watching free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Unsurprisingly, Giants brass has a fondness for Lincecum stemming from his mostly incredible run with the franchise from 2007-15. On whether they’ll try to reunite with Lincecum, general manager Bobby Evans said: “It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet. It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.” The Rangers, meanwhile, are likely to continue pursuing the 33-year-old, according to Grant.

    • The Rockies have shown some interest in re-signing first baseman Mark Reynolds since last season ended, yet the 34-year-old remains on the open market. Reynolds told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he doesn’t know why he’s still unsigned, but he’s continuing to hope for a return to the Rockies after playing with them from 2016-17. “It would be my first choice. It was a great situation. I was good there the last two years,” said Reynolds, who combined to hit .274/.354/.471 during those seasons. “It’s something that I felt was a great fit. But I can’t control what they are thinking. I played there to prove that I’m very capable of playing at that level. … But the Rockies are a good fit, and they are a playoff team and that’s something I’m factoring in my decision as well.” The Reynolds-less Rockies do have in-house first base options on hand in prospect Ryan McMahon and utilityman Ian Desmond.
    • Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar hasn’t developed as hoped since his days as a top prospect, and now that he’s out of minor league options, he could be in another uniform soon. Profar hopes that’s not the case. “I know this team loves me a lot, and I love them,” the 24-year-old said (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). “I’m ready to help them win. I just want to play and help the team win. I know I can do it.” Profar was a non-factor last season in Texas, where he hit .172/.294/.207 over a small sample of 70 plate appearances. Left field was Profar’s main position with the Rangers in 2017, but they’re only planning to use him in the infield this spring, per Wilson. He’ll have difficulty carving out a regular role, though, with Joey Gallo (first base), Rougned Odor (second), Elvis Andrus (third) and Adrian Beltre (third) entrenched as starters.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent surgery on the broken hamate bone in his right hand last Friday and could miss four to six weeks, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While Parra is “going to be fine,” according to manager Bud Black, Saunders notes that his injury could open the door for David Dahl to steal a starting spot in right field. Dahl came on the scene in impressive fashion as a rookie in 2016, but a rib cage injury kept him from the majors last season and limited him to 82 minor league PAs. Parra, on the other hand, hit a Coors Field-inflated .309/.341/.452 in 425 trips to the plate.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Could The Rockies Have Their Best Rotation Ever?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114516 2018-02-12T06:12:13Z 2018-02-12T06:08:07Z
  • Several Rockies starters performed well in 2017, and their potential and continued development could make the team’s 2018 rotation the best in franchise history, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes.  Colorado will head into the season with Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, and Antonio Senzatela all in the mix for rotation jobs, though it seems likely that all seven (and more starters) will required due to the inevitable wear-and-tear of a full season’s workload.  The depth will also help guard against any struggles from this still young and largely-unproven group of pitchers.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[McMahon, Rodgers, Tapia Vital For Rox As Stars Near Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114035 2018-02-05T02:53:58Z 2018-02-05T02:53:58Z
  • With the Rockies’ control over third baseman Nolan Arenado, center fielder Charlie Blackmon and second baseman DJ LeMahieu dwindling, it’s imperative infield prospects Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers and young outfielder Raimel Tapia pan out, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post observes. The Rockies have turned away trade interest in McMahon and Rodgers, Saunders reports, indicating they’re highly confident in the pair. McMahon is seemingly the more likely of the two to make an impact in 2018, as he could emerge as the Rockies’ starting first baseman. He’s also capable of playing third and second, both of which will open up soon if Arenado and LeMahieu depart within the next couple years. Rodgers is a shortstop, but with Trevor Story there, he might also be an option at the keystone. Regardless, the Rockies believe their young talent will help them withstand any potential losses in free agency. “Our job is to not worry about Charlie, Nolan or DJ. Our goal is churning out impactful, major-league players from year to year,” director of player development Zach Wilson told Saunders. “We think we have a chance to do that for a really long time.”
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Van Hekken, Free Agent Spending, Rockies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113967 2018-02-03T23:10:12Z 2018-02-03T22:41:00Z 38-year-old former Tigers starter Andy Van Hekken is attempting to earn a job with an MLB club, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Anyone calling it a comeback attempt should note this bit of context: Van Hekken hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2002 and only has five career starts at that level. Still, the Holland native is reportedly training back in his home county, and a late-thirties push for MLB has been in his plans for a while. “I’ve been thinking about it over the last few years,” he said. “I always wanted to come back and give it another try to get back to the big leagues and see if I could do it. I would love an opportunity and hopefully there will be one.” As Fenech aptly points out, Van Hekken’s timing couldn’t be worse… there are well over a hundred free agents who have yet to sign during what has been a phenomenally slow hot stove season. The left-hander is best known for throwing a complete game shutout against the Indians in his major league debut. He’s mixed a high-80’s fastball with a forkball to great success in Korea during the past half-decade or so, posting solid ground ball and strikeout rates.

    Some other items from around the league as we inch closer to spring training…

    • Have fans been conditioned to accept half-hearted attempts at contention? Travis Sawchik attempts to answer this question in a piece for Fangraphs. Sawchik writes that while it’s typically for business owners to take great care in running their businesses efficiently and at a profit, baseball is not a typical business. Fans invest in ballclubs both emotionally and fiscally (with their taxes), so owners have a civic duty to put a competitive product on the field. He references former Tigers owner Mike Illitch, who at times spent irrationally on his club. He even kept a General Motors advertisement above the center field batter’s eye when the company could no longer afford it, in similar spirit of upholding the city’s identity. Sawchik then turns his focus to Nutting, who has gutted the club’s core to slash payroll by $20MM this season without paying for a single free agent. Sawchik suspects that the club could cover its current payroll without selling a single ticket, and points out its $50MM BAMtech payment from Disney (that also hasn’t been reinvested in the team). He posits that fans have been trained to accept the “small-market” excuse for not spending as a reality, when in fact it may not entirely explain a given club’s low payroll.
    • The Rockies have built a contending club in part by betting on its youthful rotation, Daniel Cramer of MLB.com writes. Back in spring training of 2016, GM Jeff Bridich apparently told young right-hander Jeff Hoffman that the club wasn’t seeking any veteran upgrades. Fast forward to today, and the organization hopes to build on a “blossoming pitching culture with the potential for sustained success”. Cramer describes Colorado’s blueprint for pitchers as “a power arm supplemented with a mental confidence to pitch at Coors Field.” For their part, a group consisting of German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela, Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis combined for 11.8 fWAR last season (good for 11th in the majors), and that entire group minus Chatwood is set to return for 2018.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Spring Training, Arb Hearings, Werth, Rodgers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113865 2018-02-03T00:04:07Z 2018-02-02T15:55:16Z Unrest on the players’ side of the fence in a dismally slow offseason reached the point where player reps in the union asked if whether it was viable for even those who have signed contracts to collectively refuse to report to Spring Training until Feb. 24, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). That represents the mandatory reporting date, though pitchers and catchers (and some others) will report to camp prior to that date in a given year. The MLBPA informed those representatives that doing so would violate the CBA and constitute an “unlawful strike,” prompting the notion to be dropped. The very thought further illustrates the overall discontent of players, Rosenthal notes, and that general level of frustration doesn’t help matters as the league and union continue to negotiate the implementation of pace-of-play measures.

    Some other notes from around the game…

    • In addition to Ken Giles, whose arbitration hearing took place yesterday, we should soon learn the results on a pair of arb hearings from the Marlins. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted recently that J.T. Realmuto’s arb hearing was on Jan. 31, while Justin Bour’s was slated for Feb. 1. Giles and the Astros filed at $4.6MM and $4.2MM, respectively. Meanwhile, the Marlins filed at $2.9MM and $3MM for Realmuto and Bour, while that duo countered with respective figures of $3.5MM and $3.4MM (all of which can be seen in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker). Heyman also noted that Dan Straily’s hearing is set for Feb. 14, and Luke Jones of WSNT.net tweeted recently that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman told him his hearing is also set for the 14th of the month.
    • The Nationals have little interest in bringing Jayson Werth back to D.C., writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Werth, though, hopes to play next season and tells Janes that he’s enhanced his workout routine this offseason. “I’m still training,” says Werth. “I’m still doing the same stuff I would do every other year. I’m actually training harder because I know I’m getting older, and the only way to keep up is to work harder, which sucks.” Werth, 38, was sporting a productive .262/.367/.446 batting line in 2017 when he hit the DL in early June due to a foot injury. When he returned in late August, though, he struggled to a .155/.226/.286 slash through the end of the season, and his struggles continued in the postseason.
    • Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that his ultimate goal for the 2018 season is to make his MLB debut. While the team’s director of player development, Zach Wilson, loves the ambition behind that goal, he wouldn’t comment directly on the plausibility of that scenario. “We’ll see what happens, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have those aspirations and those goals this year,” Wilson told Saunders. “But I will also say this: we’ll make sure he is ready for the next step before he takes it.” Wilson adds that Rodgers will see action at both middle infield positions during Cactus League play this spring but will also get in plenty of side work at third base as the team increases his versatility. Rodgers is viewed as a potential cornerstone piece in the infield for the Rox, though with Nolan Arenado at third base, Trevor Story at short and DJ LeMahieu at second base, there’s no immediate opening for him. LeMahieu, though, is a free agent following the 2018 season.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Rockies, Sign-Stealing, Houck, Moss]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113575 2018-01-30T04:20:45Z 2018-01-30T04:20:45Z The Rockies have honed in on a few targets in their search for a right-handed-hitting corner infielder, Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes. The club is reportedly considering a reunion with either Mark Reynolds or Carlos Gonzalez, while also weighing the possibility of signing Todd Frazier (Harding cites some interesting data points relating to each player). While bringing one of these players into the fold appears to be their preferred option, they’ve also got plenty of young players who could conceivably force their way into the picture (even though the ones mentioned in the piece are all left handed). The club feels as though it has a lot of flexibility due to the presence of Ian Desmond, who’s capable of playing either at first base or in the outfield.

    Here are a few other items of note from around MLB…

    • Though the pace of play debate has largely centered around replay review and the potential implementation of a pitch clock, Ken Rosenthal latest piece at The Athletic details a significant factor he believes is largely overlooked: sign-stealing. Rosenthal had an in-depth conversation with a major-league manager who believes that MLB must take action in order to prevent teams from using advanced technology to steal signs. The manager, like most around baseball, agrees that sign-stealing with one’s own eyes and relaying the signals without the help of technology is simply part of the game. Sign-stealing through the use of tech, however, is causing significant paranoia around the league and is at least one catalyst for an excess of mound visits that are slowing down the game. The manager suggests having an MLB official in every replay room around the league, while others around the league have advocated for pitchers and catchers to wear NFL-type receivers to eliminate the need for hand signals entirely. The piece provides some fascinating insight into an invasive issue that’s not talked about often enough.
    • Today, Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck became the latest player to leave agent Jason Wood and CSE, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports (separate links). The player exodus, of course, comes in the midst of allegations that Wood filmed players in his shower with a secret camera. Houck is now with CAA sports, and joins Mitch Keller, Jake Odorizzi, Riley Pint, Joey Wentz, Cody Asche, and Taylor Gushue as players who have left CSE to sign with other agencies. As Murray points out, many are expected to follow in their footsteps, perhaps including one of the agency’s most notable clients, Andrew Benintendi.
    • After acquiring left-handed slugger Brandon Moss just earlier today, the Athletics will attempt to find a taker for him, says Rosenthal on Twitter. Moss will earn $7.25MM this season, and the Royals sent over $3.25MM along with his contract, meaning the A’s need only to pay the 34-year-old $4MM for the coming season. While that’s certainly not a handicapping salary, it’s fairly significant considering Moss doesn’t have a clear role on the team outside of perhaps being a bench bat. For his part, Moss has every intention of forcing his way into the picture. “I’m going to figure something out,” he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m going to rake all spring and they’ll have to keep me.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Brooks Pounders To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113522 2018-01-29T19:43:29Z 2018-01-29T19:14:39Z The Rockies announced a host of invitations to Major League Spring Training on Monday, including a new minor league contract with right-hander Brooks Pounders.

    Pounders, 27, has appeared for the Royals and Angels in the past two seasons, totaling a combined 23 innings but struggling to a dismal 9.78 ERA in that time. The former second-round pick has logged an impressive 25-to-8 K/BB ratio in that time, but he’s an extreme fly-ball pitchers (29.9 percent ground-ball rate, 51.9 percent fly-ball rate) and has been tattooed for a whopping 10 homers in his brief MLB tenure (3.9 HR/9).

    A former second-round pick (Pirates, 2009), Pounders has posted markedly better numbers in parts of three Triple-A seasons. In his time at the minors’ top level, he’s worked to a tidy 2.94 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 in 131 2/3 innings. He’ll have a crowded bullpen picture to try to crack thanks to Colorado’s offseason signings of Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, but he’ll provide the team with some depth it can stash in the upper minors should injuries thin out the big league club.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On David Dahl]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113022 2018-01-22T00:55:17Z 2018-01-22T00:53:41Z
  • Rockies manager Bud Black shared some positive health news about David Dahl, as Black told the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders and other reporters that Dahl should be “full go” at the start of Spring Training.  “He’s engaged, he’s running, he’s lifting weights, he’s swinging at 100 percent. Right now there are no concerns, and medically everybody feels really good about David,” Black said.  Dahl was limited to just 19 minor league games in 2017 due to a stress reaction in his rib cage, and his potential return gives Colorado another intriguing piece for its outfield.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Charlie Blackmon Open To Extension With Rockies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112983 2018-01-21T05:37:53Z 2018-01-21T05:37:53Z
  • Center fielder Charlie Blackmon could be part of one of the best free agent classes of all-time next year, but he’s open to signing an extension with the Rockies and forgoing a trip to the market. “It’s a two-way street,” the 31-year-old told Thomas Harding of MLB.com. “I really like playing here. It’s been a great place to be. I like the people. I like the teammates. And I’ve also been on a one-year situation for the past three to four years, so it doesn’t really change anything for me. I’m used to that go-out-and-produce mindset. Hopefully, something happens. That would be great.” If something doesn’t happen, the reigning NL batting champion (.331) will play 2018 for $14MM and vie for a third straight star-caliber season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mark Reynolds Waiting On Rockies' Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112875 2018-01-19T06:00:18Z 2018-01-19T04:11:02Z First baseman Mark Reynolds is hoping to return to the Rockies in 2018, but he’s seeking a big league deal this time around after playing his way onto the team on a minor league pact last season, he tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post“I talked with the Rockies during the winter meetings and Jeff (general manager Jeff Bridich) told me that they had to take care of the bullpen and then see what the money situation was,” says Reynolds. “So now I’m waiting to see what happens.” The 34-year-old Reynolds hit .267/.352/.487 with 30 homers for the Rox last season, though there was a glaring 275-point difference between his OPS at home (.978, 21 homers) and on the road (.703, nine homers). Power is Reynolds’ biggest attribute, but it’s a tough selling point at a time when home runs were hit at an all-time high in 2017.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112260 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies, Charlie Blackmon Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112265 2018-01-12T15:24:50Z 2018-01-12T14:55:40Z The Rockies have avoided arbitration with outfielder Charlie Blackmon by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $14MM, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The ACES client had a projected arbitration salary of $13.4MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Matt also took a more in-depth look at Blackmon’s case and some of the intricacies surrounding his projection as part of his Arbitration Breakdown series.

    Blackmon, 31, finished fifth in the NL MVP voting this past season on the heels of a brilliant campaign in Colorado. In a league-leading 725 plate appearances, Blackmon hit .331/.399/.601 with 37 homers, taking home the NL batting title. Blackmon also paced the National League in runs scored (137), hits (213), triples (14) and total bases (387). All of that combined to give Blackmon a massive raise of $6.7MM — a 91.7 percent increase over last year’s salary of $7.3MM.

    This’ll be the final trip through the arbitration process for Blackmon, who will be a part of one of the best free-agent classes in recent memory next offseason. He’ll be joined by teammates DJ LeMahieu and Chad Bettis in that regard, both of whom are also eligible for arbitration this winter (as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker). Lefty Zac Rosscup caps off the Rockies’ arbitration class.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies, Chris Rusin Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112191 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • The Rockies agreed to a $1,287,500 payday with lefty Chris Rusin, per Nightengale (via Twitter). He’ll fall a bit shy of his $1.4MM projection. Rusin, 31, is fresh off of a strong season in which he compiled a 2.65 ERA in 85 frames. He figures to be a key component of the Colorado bullpen again in 2018.
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    Matt Swartz <![CDATA[Arbitration Breakdown: Charlie Blackmon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111630 2018-01-11T04:36:10Z 2018-01-11T04:36:10Z Recently, I have been discussing some of the higher-profile upcoming arbitration cases as part of MLBTR’s Arbitration Breakdown series. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. Full arbitration projections for 2018 are also available.

    Charlie Blackmon put up some gaudy numbers in 2017, hitting .331 to go along with 37 home runs and 104 RBIs. As a result, my model projected him for a very high raise. However, the model also utilizes something called the Kimbrel Rule– which states that no player gets projected for an increase more than $1MM higher than the record raise for his service class. This limits Blackmon to a $6.1MM raise, which lands him at a $13.4MM projection for the 2018 season. Truth be told, though, the model actually spit out a $16.8MM salary estimate!

    Charlie Blackmon | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    There are two different run environment factors to consider for Blackmon that could be inflating the way his number would be viewed by an arbitration panel. Blackmon plays his home games at Coors Field, a notorious home run park. FanGraphs gives Rockies’ players a 116 park factor, suggesting Blackmon’s 37 home runs might be the equivalent of 32 home runs in a more neutral setting.

    Further inflating Blackmon’s home run total is something that will affect a great number of cases this year—the dramatically increased level of home runs throughout the league. This past season set a league record with 6,105 total home runs—this was 26 percent higher than the average from the last five years. So when I look at players with similar totals over the last five years, it is unclear whether an arbitration panel (or teams and agents that are negotiating in the shadow of what an arbitration panel would say) would treat home runs from Blackmon as similar to other players with the same number of home runs, or as someone with maybe 26 percent fewer home runs.

    My model does not adjust for league or park home run environment in this way; in general the data has shown that run environment is not a big consideration in arbitration. Hitters in high-scoring years benefit from being compared to hitters in lower-scoring years. Pitchers in low-scoring years benefit from being compared to pitchers in high-scoring years.

    If you knock down Blackmon’s home run total by league and park effects, he lands somewhere around the equivalent of 25 home runs in a neutral park in a prior season. But of course, that may not be what the panel considers. Most likely, they will just compare him (favorably) to the current record-holder in this service class, which is Chase Headley from 2013. Headley hit .286 with 31 homers, 115 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in the platform season for his final trip through the arbitration process.

    Blackmon outperformed Headley in both homers and average, and he also stole 14 bags, further helping his case. It seems likely to Blackmon will be seen as favorable to Headley — especially considering the fact that Headley’s case is already five years old — so I think earning a raise north of $6MM seems likely.

    If we’re looking for other recent players with a lot of home runs who reached arbitration, Todd Frazier’s name emerges. He hit 40 home runs in his platform season, but at .225, his average was more than a hundred points below Blackmon’s. Frazier got a $3.75MM raise, which Blackmon should easily crush.

    Eric Hosmer is another potential comparable, but he’s also clearly a player with an inferior case to that of Blackmon. In 2016, Hosmer’s platform before his final trip through arbitration, he hit .266 with 25 homers and 104 RBIs. Blackmon has him handled in every category, so Hosmer’s $4MM raise is another example of a potential floor for Blackmon’s raise.

    I think it’s clear that Blackmon is going to set a new record. The “Kimbrel Rule” has worked very well since its inception, and I think it will apply well here. Look for Blackmon to land somewhere between $13-14MM, with some chance of going slightly above that if and when he settles on a one-year deal for the 2018 season.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/10/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112061 2018-01-10T14:24:27Z 2018-01-10T14:24:27Z We’ll track the latest minor signings and other transactions here …

    • The Brewers have brought back left-hander Nick Ramirez on a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. Brewer Nation first tweeted word of the signing. He converted from first base to the mound in 2017, turning in rather impressive results. In 79 1/3 frames over 49 appearances, all but one of which came at Double-A, Ramirez ran a 1.36 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. It obviously remains to be seen whether the former fourth-round pick can earn a shot at the majors, but it seems promising that he was able to throttle both right-handed (.214/.260/.305) and left-handed hitters (.167/.273/.240) while working in a multi-inning role.
    • First baseman/outfielder Kyle Jensen has a minors deal with the Giants, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The 29-year-old has only seen brief MLB time but has generally produced quality numbers at Triple-A. In 1,793 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors, he carries a .266/.341/.488 batting line with 178 home runs — though also over a thousand strikeouts. Jensen had a six-game stretch last year with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, but otherwise did not appear professionally. A former 12th round draft pick of the Marlins, Jensen has also spent time in recent years with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks organizations.
    • Also signing a minor-league pact is lefty Keith Hessler, who’ll join the Rockies, according to Cotillo (Twitter link). Hessler, 28, has 34 MLB frames under his belt, over which he has allowed 21 earned runs while recording 23 strikeouts and issuing 17 walks. He has mostly plied his trade in the upper minors in recent years, though he also took an indy ball detour last season. At times, Hessler has produced solid groundball numbers and been very hard on opposing lefties, though neither really held true in his most recent showing. In 45 1/3 Triple-A frames with the Padres in 2017, Hessler carried a 4.57 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Shane Carle, Designate Johnny Barbato]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111697 2018-01-04T21:02:37Z 2018-01-04T20:49:42Z The Pirates announced on Thursday that they’ve claimed righty Shane Carle off waivers from the Rockies and designated right-hander Johnny Barbato for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Carle was designated for assignment last week when the Rockies signed Wade Davis.

    Carle, 26, made his Major League debut with the Rockies last year, tossing four innings and yielding three runs on six hits and no walks with four punchouts. He averaged 93.6 mph on his heater in that brief four-inning sample and spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A, where he struggled to a 5.37 ERA in an extremely hitter-friendly setting. Carle averaged 7.3 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 with a 43.9 percent ground-ball rate in Albuquerque — his second go-around at that level.

    Carle was initially drafted by the Pirates back in 2013, though Pittsburgh traded him to Colorado in exchange for righty Rob Scahill about 18 months later. He has a pair of minor league options remaining, so the Bucs can send him to Triple-A this spring without needing to expose him to waivers.

    Barbato, 25, posted a 4.08 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 5.7 BB/9 and a 37.9 percent grounder rate in 28 2/3 frames out of the Pittsburgh ’pen last season. He turned in more encouraging K/BB numbers and a solid 3.06 ERA in 35 1/3 Triple-A innings with the Pirates, but Barbato also averaged a gaudy 1.78 HR/9 while pitching in Triple-A. That, paired with his control problems in the Majors, may have made him expendable in the Pirates’ eyes.

    Barbato averages better than 94 mph on his fastball and has averaged better than a strikeout per inning over the vast majority of his career, including upper-minors stints with the Yankees and Pirates in recent seasons. He still has a minor league option remaining, so another club in need of bullpen depth could pick him up and hope to better help him harness his command with a change of scenery.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dahl Fully Healed After Missing 2017 Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111620 2018-01-05T20:37:30Z 2018-01-04T05:08:10Z After a lost season due to a stress reaction in his rib cage, Rockies outfielder David Dahl has been cleared to begin swinging a bat, per Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The 23-year-old Dahl, a longtime top prospect, turned heads with a .315/.359/.500 slash in 63 games as a rookie in 2016, but his injury prevented him from logging a single game in 2017. A November MRI, however, revealed that Dahl’s injury has finally healed completely, according to Harding. Dahl has since been performing rotational exercises and building muscle mass as a means of strengthening the problematic area and avoiding similar issues in 2018. Dahl explains to Harding that he attempted to work back numerous times in 2017, but while he’d feel strong after two to three weeks of rest at a time, his symptoms would resurface upon ramping up workouts. Dahl also details changes to his diet and nutrition, both with an eye toward maintaining muscle mass, that he feels will help him stay healthy and emerge as a factor for the Rockies.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jake McGee Helped Recruit Wade Davis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111574 2018-01-03T02:03:46Z 2018-01-03T02:03:46Z
  • The Rockies re-signed reliever Jake McGee to a three-year, $27MM contract earlier this winter, and he repaid the club by helping recruit closer Wade Davis to Colorado, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post relays. “I told him this was a team that was going to win now,” said McGee. “I told him that (manager) Bud Black was awesome and I really liked how he used the bullpen. I told him the team was awesome and the communication was really good.” McGee and Davis, who joined the Rox last week on a three-year, $52MM pact, previously played together in both the minors and majors as members of the Rays organization. The two were even Single-A roommates at times, Saunders adds.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Davis, Bridich, Holland, Arenado, Harrison]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111437 2017-12-31T00:11:06Z 2017-12-31T00:11:06Z The signings of Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee have given the Rockies a deep and experienced relief corps, though ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider subscription required and recommended) wonders if the team needed to go to such expensive lengths to reinforce its bullpen.  Other teams who have relied on excellent pens in recent seasons, Law notes, have generally used their own homegrown arms or low-cost converted starters as relievers rather than sign several pricey free agents.  Law also isn’t a fan of the three-year, $52MM Davis contract in general, citing Davis’ injuries and dip in performance over the last two seasons from his 2014-15 dominance.

    Here’s more on the Rockies from GM Jeff Bridich’s chat with reporters (including MLB.com’s Thomas Harding and the Denver Post’s Nick Groke) on Friday…

    • Despite the mutual interest between Colorado and former closer Greg Holland, the two sides weren’t able to reach agreement on a reunion, with Bridich saying two weeks ago that the team had made Holland a “strong offer” to re-sign.  It seems as if the Rockies then made a swift pivot to Davis, as while Davis and the team had been linked earlier this winter, Bridich said the deal was made just within the last week.
    • After so heavily remaking the bullpen, the Rockies are likely done with pitching additions altogether.  “I’d be very surprised if we added another reliever or a starter,” Bridich said.
    • The next step would seem to be addressing needs in the corner outfield or at first base.  In Harding’s words, Bridich was “open, but non-committal” about the idea of re-signing Carlos Gonzalez, with the GM simply noting that Gonzalez was “part of the market.”
    • While Bridich didn’t put a timetable on extension talks with Nolan Arenado, “there definitely are conversations that will happen” about locking up the star third baseman.  Teams generally wait until Spring Training or until significant offseason business has been concluded to discuss extensions with their players, and the negotiations with Arenado will no doubt be particularly in-depth given the huge money needed to keep him at Coors Field.  Arenado is scheduled to hit free agency after the 2019 season, when he’ll still just be 28 years old and in the midst of his prime.  Arenado and the Rockies agreed to a two-year, $29.5MM deal last offseason to cover two arbitration years, and Arenado has one final arb-eligible season remaining in 2019 due to his Super Two status.
    • I’m not sure where the Josh Harrison stuff comes from,” Bridich said in regards to rumors connecting the Rockies to the versatile Pirates infielder/outfielder.  It should be noted that this isn’t technically a denial of any trade interest, though Harrison is perhaps a better fit on a team that could make fuller use of his multi-positional ability.  The Rockies have Arenado and DJ LeMahieu locked in at third and second base, respectively, so Harrison would spend most of his time as a corner outfielder if he did land on Colorado’s roster.  (Then again, given that the Rox did sign Ian Desmond last winter with the intent of using him as a first baseman, maybe we shouldn’t rule out any outside-the-box ideas in regards to this team.)
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[National League Notes: Rockies, Realmuto, Yelich, Taillon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111407 2017-12-30T15:31:10Z 2017-12-30T15:31:10Z Dave Cameron of Fangraphs postulates that the Rockies need to upgrade more than just their bullpen if they hope to be successful in 2018. He wonders if their additions so far “haven’t improved them as much as prevented them from getting worse.” At first glance, one could say that Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw are probably improvements over Greg Holland and Pat Neshek, respectively. However, considering the low WAR contribution from relievers in comparison to other players, those upgrades seem marginal. The team still has big questions to answer at first base, and in the outfield, so although they seem to have the best bullpen in the NL as it stands right now, they need to make impactful additions in other areas or rely on significant improvements from members of their current roster. After all, projections have them significantly behind the Dodgers in the NL West, as well as St. Louis and Arizona in the Wild Card race.

    Questions continue to pop up when looking towards the future. Cameron notes that the 2017 iteration of the Rockies worked in large part because Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado provided them with over 12 fWAR at just $20MM between them. Unfortunately for Colorado, Blackmon is set to reach free agency at the end of 2018, and it would take a significant raise on his current salary to bring him back. The same is true for Arenado the year following. The bullpen contracts the team dished out this year will cost them something in the neighborhood of $35MM per season through 2020; that puts a significant constraint on their ability to retain their stars or further build through free agency. Cameron’s article raises some important questions about the Rockies’ offseason moves so far, and is worth a full read.

    More news from around the National League as we approach New Year’s Eve…

    • Speculation surrounding Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Christian Yelich has been heating up lately, and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that while the club is willing to listen on their two most valuable remaining trade assets, actually moving either player would require a “huge overpay”. Frisaro adds that the team is not looking to “water down” the return for either of them, making a potential salary dump inclusion of Martin Prado or Brad Ziegler less likely. MLBTR profiled Realmuto’s trade candidacy on Christmas Day, listing the Nationals, Rockies and Diamondbacks as good fits in theory. He’s projected for just a $4.2MM salary next season, and can be controlled through arbitration for two more years after that. As for Yelich, he’s been worth an average of 4 fWAR in each of the past four seasons and is owed just $43.25MM through 2021 thanks to a team-friendly contract extension.
    • Jameson Taillon had a tough battle with cancer last season, causing him to miss significant time during the season. But the resilient Pirates righty is feeling confident headed into the 2018 season, and Adam Berry of MLB.com has the inside scoop. “You spend time in the clubhouse and know we have a lot of good guys as humans that are extremely determined to get better,” Taillon said. He’s reportedly working on new pitch grips and developing plans for how to attack hitters in the upcoming season. Taillon finished last season with a 4.44 ERA, though his 3.48 FIP paints a decidedly more attractive picture of his potential.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Designate Shane Carle]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111383 2017-12-29T22:47:44Z 2017-12-29T22:47:44Z The Rockies have designated righty Shane Carle for assignment, according to the MLB Roster Moves Twitter account. His roster spot was needed for the team’s signing of closer Wade Davis.

    Carle, 26, made his MLB debut last year in Colorado, though he saw only four innings of action. That’s too small a sample to tell much of anything, but he did exhibit a 94.0 mph average fastball.

    As in 2016, Carle spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he worked primarily as a reliever after spending most of his prior career in the rotation. The former tenth-round pick ended the 2017 campaign with a 5.37 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 over 62 innings.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Wade Davis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111362 2017-12-29T22:35:26Z 2017-12-29T22:00:20Z The Rockies have officially agreed to a contract with free-agent closer Wade Davis, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reprted. Davis, a client of Jet Sports Management, receives a three-year, $52MM contract that includes a vesting player option for a fourth season which could take the deal’s value to $66MM over four years. That contract’s $17.33MM annual value is a record among relievers, Passan notes.

    "Sep

    The fourth-year option, worth $15MM, will vest as a player option for the 2021 season if Davis finishes 30 games in 2020. If it does not vest, it’ll instead be a mutual option with a $1MM buyout, per Passan. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that Davis will earn $16MM in 2018, $18MM in 2019 and $17MM in 2020. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Davis’s deal includes a $1MM assignment bonus if he is traded, adding that he’ll also pick up full no-trade rights after being traded once.

    The addition of Davis seems likely to end the Rockies’ pursuit of a reunion with 2017 closer Greg Holland, who declined a $15MM player option and rejected a $17.4MM qualifying offer following the season. Davis, too, rejected a qualifying offer, meaning he’ll cost the Rockies a pick in the 2018 draft.

    As a team that benefited from revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury tax in 2017, the Rockies will forfeit their third-highest selection in next year’s draft. For the Rockies, who have a selection in Competitive Balance Round A, their third-highest pick will be their second-round selection in 2018. The Cubs, meanwhile, will secure a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B. (While Davis’ contract is north of $50MM, the Cubs are a revenue sharing payor, thus disqualifying them for compensation after the first round of the draft.)

    [Related: Updated Colorado Rockies depth chart and Rockies payroll outlook]

    Colorado has clearly identified the bullpen as an area of focus this offseason, as they’ve now dished out more than $100MM worth of guarantees in the form of Davis’ $52MM and the respective three-year, $27MM deals given to lefty Jake McGee and right-hander Bryan Shaw. That continues the aggressive bullpen spending the team began last winter when signing Mike Dunn and Holland in free agency.

    Davis, of course, will capably step into the void left by Holland’s departure and could very well serve as an upgrade. In 58 2/3 innings with the Cubs last year, Davis pitched to a 2.30 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 40.5 percent ground-ball rate while collecting 32 saves. Those excellent run-prevention numbers continued an impressive run of dominance for Davis, who owns a 1.45 ERA in 241 1/3 innings since converting to a reliever on a full-time basis in 2014.

    The 2017 season wasn’t without red flags, though. Davis’ 40.5 percent grounder rate marked a significant drop-off from the 48.5 percent clip he posted in 2016, and his 94.3 mph average fastball velocity was his lowest since moving to the bullpen. That velocity drop is all the more troubling when juxtaposed with a 2016 season in which Davis landed on the disabled list with a forearm strain.

    There’s risk in any long-term deal for a reliever, though, and the Rockies’ aggressive spending in this market has demonstrated less aversion to those perils than most clubs throughout the league. For a Colorado team that features a very young and largely inexperienced rotation, the stockpiling of quality relief arms will help manager Bud Black to lessen the workload of his young arms by leaning more heavily on a group of experienced late-inning options.

    Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that the three additions won’t necessarily enhance the Rockies’ 2018 unit beyond the one it possessed in the season prior. By the end of the season, the relief corps included Holland, McGee, and midseason trade acquisition Pat Neshek. At a minimum, though, the organization can likely now anticipate that it’ll enter the coming season with a relief group that’s as good or better than its productive ’17 outfit.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Greg Holland, Mark Reynolds Still In Mix To Return To Rox]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111232 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z
  • MLB.com’s Thomas Harding answers several offseason-focused questions in his latest Rockies Inbox column. In Harding’s estimation, Greg Holland “remains the favorite” to return as the Rockies’ closer in 2018, though he notes there are other options if the Rockies are ultimately outbid. A low-cost look at Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t seem likely with Ryan McMahon on the horizon, per Harding, who also notes that the Rockies remain in contact with Mark Reynolds about a potential reunion, which could further crowd the team’s list of first base options. Harding also opines that a trade of Trevor Story is unlikely, even with Brendan Rodgers looming in the minors, and he looks at the team’s pitching staff for the ’18 season as well.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Not In Contact With Adrian Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111141 2017-12-25T04:20:13Z 2017-12-25T04:18:30Z
  • The Rockies haven’t been in touch with Adrian Gonzalez, GM Jeff Bridich tells MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.  The just-released veteran could be signed for just a league-minimum salary, as the Braves are on the hook for the remainder of the $21.5MM Gonzalez is owed for the 2018 season.  Gonzalez was still an above-average hitter as recently as 2016, though it remains to be seen how productive or healthy he can be next year after a serious back injury severely limited him last season.  Colorado has been linked to some first basemen this winter, though they also have internal options like rookie Ryan McMahon, who Harding profiles in the piece.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/23/17]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111036 2017-12-24T01:33:06Z 2017-12-24T01:33:28Z We’ll use this post to keep track of teams’ minor moves throughout the day…

    • Infielder Matt Dominguez has agreed to a one-year deal with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, Steve Adams of MLBTR reports (on Twitter). Once a highly regarded prospect, the 28-year-old Dominguez hasn’t panned out in the bigs since debuting with the Marlins in 2011. He spent all of last year with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate and hit .264/.295/.425 with 16 home runs in 451 plate appearances.

    Earlier updates

    • The Rockies have agreed to terms on a minor-league pact with Dante Bichette Jr., whose father was a four-time Rockies All-Star. News of the pact was originally reported by Matt Kardos at Pinstripe Prospects, and later confirmed by the elder Dante Bichette (via Thomas Harding of MLB.com). Bichette Jr. began his career in promising fashion after the Yankees made him a supplemental first round pick in the 2011 draft; the third baseman hit .342/.446/.505 with the Yankees’ Rookie league affiliate. However, he’s never quite managed to replicate that success at any other level of the minors. As such, Bichette Jr. has yet to reach Triple-A. Most recently, he hit .262/.352/.352 with the Trenton Thunder (Double-A affiliate of the Yankees) in 2017.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Reportedly Talking With Addison Reed]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110873 2017-12-21T03:52:02Z 2017-12-21T03:52:02Z The Rockies have already re-signed Jake McGee and landed Bryan Shaw (both on three-year deals), and they’re now talking with free-agent righty Addison Reed, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (on Twitter). They’re also still “in touch” with Greg Holland and former Cubs closer Wade Davis, per Heyman.

    Suffice it to say, the bullpen is a clear point of focus for a Rockies front office that watched Holland, McGee and Pat Neshek all hit the open market as free agents this offseason. At one point, the Rox were reportedly in advanced talks about a deal to bring Holland back to Denver (even after agreeing to sign both Shaw and McGee), but there’s been very little information on that front in the past week. As of last Wednesday, the Rox had reportedly made what they felt to be a “strong” offer to Holland (per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post), but to date it doesn’t seem to have been enough to sway Holland and agent Scott Boras.

    Pivoting to Reed could give the Rox a potentially more affordable late-inning option that is actually coming off a superior year to the one Holland just completed. In 76 innings split between the Mets and Red Sox, Reed worked to a 2.84 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9 and a 40.8 percent ground-ball rate. The spike in home runs allowed was something of an anomaly for Reed, who entered the 2017 campaign with just 0.9 HR/9 in his career.

    Reed won’t turn 29 until next week, making him one of the youngest available free agents on the market — certainly the most youthful among established relievers. He’s worked as both a closer and a setup man throughout his big league tenure with the White Sox, D-backs, Mets and Red Sox, compiling an overall 3.40 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.3 percent ground-ball rate in the Majors. MLBTR ranked him third among relievers (in terms of earning power) and 16th overall, ultimately predicting that he could secure a four-year deal on the open market.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Shawn O'Malley To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110526 2017-12-17T00:17:10Z 2017-12-17T00:14:21Z
  • The Rockies have signed utilityman Shawn O’Malley to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, Bob Dutton of Baseball America reports on Twitter. The switch-hitting, 29-year-old O’Malley has collected 305 major league plate appearances since debuting in 2014, batting a combined .231/.315/.317 with the Angels and Mariners and playing all over the diamond (every outfield spot, second base, shortstop and third). An appendectomy and arthroscopic shoulder surgery helped keep O’Malley out of the majors last year and limit him to 120 PAs between Seattle’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Bryan Shaw]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109719 2017-12-16T21:26:34Z 2017-12-16T19:12:28Z Dec. 16: Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports breaks down Shaw’s contract in a tweet, noting that the right-hander will earn $7.5MM in 2018, $8.5MM in 2019, and $9MM in 2020. The contract comes with a $9MM vesting option for 2021, which will vest if Shaw either makes 60 appearances or finishes 40 games in 2020. Alternatively, the option vests if he makes 110 appearances combined from 2019-2020. If Shaw doesn’t hit those marks, however, the option has a $2MM buyout. The deal also offers the righty $4MM in incentives.

    Dec. 15: The Rockies have formally announced the signing of Shaw to a three-year deal.

    Dec. 13: Shaw is expected to command a $27MM guarantee over three years, Heyman tweets.

    Dec. 12: The Rockies have agreed to a deal with free agent righty Bryan Shaw, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports (Twitter link).  Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier tonight (Twitter links) that talks between the two sides are “advanced” and “nearly done.”  The deal is a three-year contract that will pay Shaw in the area of $9MM per season, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, who also tweeted earlier today that teams believed Shaw and fellow right-hander Tommy Hunter already had agreements in place.  Shaw is a client of Rowley Sports Management.

    Bryan Shaw

    Shaw has posted strong numbers during his seven seasons with the D’Backs and Indians, with a career 3.13 ERA, 2.64 K/BB rate and 8.0 K/9 over 446 1/3 relief innings.  The durable righty has never spent any time on the disabled list and leads all pitchers with 442 appearances between 2013-17.  He owns a 50.6% career ground ball rate, which will serve him well at Coors Field, though Shaw has also been known to have been hurt by the home run ball.  His 0.6 HR/9 in 2017 was his lowest such number in the last four seasons, however.

    Shaw has 11 saves in his career but has never really worked as a closer, rather primarily serving as Cody Allen’s setup man in Cleveland.  It would seem as if the Rockies may also intend to use Shaw in a setup role, as the team has been connected to such established closers as Wade Davis and former Rockie Greg Holland on the rumor mill.  Bullpen reinforcement was a stated goal for Colorado this winter, with Holland, Pat Neshek (who has signed with the Phillies), and Jake McGee all hitting the free agent market.

    Several teams had interest in Shaw this winter, and he was weighing multiple three-year offers, including one from the Mets.  Newsday’s Marc Carig recently speculated that Shaw could have waiting to see if he landed a deal from a team (like the Rockies) that holds its Spring Training in Arizona, where Shaw and his family have a home.

    MLB Trade Rumors ranked Shaw 25th on our list of the winter’s Top 50 Free Agents, predicting him for a three-year deal worth $21MM.  Landing a deal with a rough average annual value of $9MM is a nice get for Shaw’s representatives, and another sign of how heavily teams are valuing relief pitching this winter.  Neshek’s two-year deal with the Phillies guarantees him $16.25MM, while Brandon Morrow found two years and $21MM from the Cubs and Luke Gregerson two years and $11MM from the Cardinals.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Re-Sign Jake McGee]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109811 2017-12-16T04:18:06Z 2017-12-15T19:27:17Z The Rockies have officially agreed to bring back free agent lefty Jake McGee with a three-year deal that guarantees $27MM. McGee is represented by Wasserman.

    McGee’s guarantee comes in the form of consecutive salaries of $7MM, $8.5MM, and $9.5MM. He’s then promised a $2MM buyout on a 2021 vesting/club option that’s priced at $9MM. The extra year vests if McGee appears in sixty games in 2020, finishes forty games in that year, or makes 110 total appearances over the 2019-20 campaigns. There’s also a health requirement for the option to vest, though details remain unclear. It seems the contract also contemplates incentives of up to $4MM annually; while the milestones aren’t known, that leaves some earning upside in McGee’s pocket.

    Jake McGee | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s not surprising to see a multi-year deal with a strong guarantee based both on McGee’s quality efforts in 2017 and an aggressive market for relievers thus far. McGee will become the latest in a line of high-quality relievers to come off the board and joins right-hander Bryan Shaw at the back of the Colorado bullpen nw that their deals are finalized.

    The 31-year-old McGee struggled in his initial season with the Rockies (2016) after coming over from the Rays in the Corey Dickerson swap, but he largely righted the ship with a solid 2017 season. In 57 1/3 innings, the hard-throwing McGee posted a respectable 3.61 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and a 40.5 percent ground-ball rate.

    McGee’s 37 percent hard-contact rate is certainly higher than one would like to see, though it’s worth pointing out that much of that hard contact came on grounders; Statcast indicates that McGee’s average exit velocity on balls in the air was among the lowest in baseball (as is borne out in his 0.63 HR/9 rate), but he ranked considerably higher in terms of exit velocity on grounders.

    It’s been an up-and-down ride for McGee both in terms of health and bottom-line results since he established himself as a big league regular back in 2012. But the overall body of work is impressive, as he’s logged a combined 3.06 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 329 2/3 innings over that six-year span.

    At present, it’s not clear how the Rockies view the back of their bullpen taking shape. McGee has served as a closer in the past and could be asked to take the ball in the ninth inning most often for the Rox in 2018 and beyond. Shaw, who also has agreed to a three-year deal, is no stranger to high-leverage innings himself, having served as an eighth-inning setup man in Cleveland for several years.

    Colorado GM Jeff Bridich and his staff may not yet be done adding to the bullpen, either. The Rockies have been linked to Zach Britton, Wade Davis and Greg Holland over the past few weeks, and while they’ve certainly spent aggressively to bring McGee and Shaw into the fold, they’re still somewhere in the vicinity of the payroll mark at which they opened the 2017 campaign. If ownership is willing to spend a bit more with a playoff berth in the rear-view mirror, the Rox could yet make further additions to the ’pen or elsewhere on the roster.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the signing (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had tweeted that rivals anticipated the move. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links) and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (links to Twitter) had contract details.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Still Waiting On Offer To Greg Holland]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110258 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z
  • The Rockies haven’t yet received a response to the “nice” offer they made free agent righty Greg Holland, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.  Colorado is hoping to quickly polish off a deal with the closer, who obviously impressed the club in the 2017 campaign.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Rockies, Greg Holland]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109852 2017-12-13T18:48:09Z 2017-12-13T18:33:25Z 12:33pm: Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets that the Rockies have put a “strong offer on the table,” with Heyman tweeting there’s “strong optimism” a deal will be finalized.

    11:48am: The sides are “just talking” and are not nearing agreement, a source tells MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).

    11:27am: The Rockies are “closing in” on a pact to re-sign closer Greg Holland, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). If completed, the deal would leave Colorado with a stunning three-part free agent relief haul from these Winter Meetings.

    Within the last twenty hours or so, the Rox have reportedly lined up pacts with righty Bryan Shaw (link) and lefty Jake McGee (link). If all of these deals are finalized, those two hurlers would represent high-quality setup options, with Holland slated to lock up victories for the team.

    Clearly, the Rockies’ brief taste of the posteason in 2017 has left the club hungry for more. With a host of young starters and a lot of talent on the position-player side, Colorado turned to the pen as a priority — especially after spending relatively little to add Chris Iannetta behind the dish, rather than committing to a bigger outlay to bring back Jonathan Lucroy.

    Creating this would-be late-inning triumvirate won’t come cheap. Details on a possible Holland deal aren’t known, but he’s expected to out-earn the other two handily. And Shaw and McGee appear each to have commanded three-year commitments of about $27MM apiece. Needless to say, the Rockies figure to have quite a pricey relief corps.

    While the organization is still in need of bolstering the first-base mix and could tinker in a few other areas, it’s possible it’ll depart the Winter Meetings with most of the boxes checked — and without having parted with any young talent. The Rockies may also reasonably anticipate finding solid value at first, since Coors Field ought to be quite a draw for the many sluggers still floating around the open market.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Rockies, Royals In On Mark Reynolds]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109788 2017-12-13T12:15:20Z 2017-12-13T12:15:20Z It seems as though the Rockies are “strong contenders”  to re-sign Mark Reynolds, who played first base for the club in the majority of their 2016-2017 games. The insight comes via a tweet from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, who also notes that the Royals are looking at Reynolds as a backup plan in case Gold Glove-winner Eric Hosmer signs elsewhere.

    The 34-year-old Reynolds has been worth about one win above replacement over the course of 1,034 plate appearances with the Rockies. His .274/.354/.471 batting line with the club has earned him a 103 wRC+ mark during that time, while his defense grades out as slightly below average.

    Reynolds has long been known for his all-or-nothing approach at the plate. The right-handed slugger has blasted 281 career home runs, and they go a long way. In fact, his average home run distance was the longest in all of baseball at 419 feet (minimum 15 home runs). However, his whopping 1,806 career strikeouts already rank 18th-most all-time among MLB players. He’s got a 15.6% swinging strike rate for his career; for reference, that’s the number a 2017 league-average hitter would have posted if he faced Cy Young-winner Corey Kluber in every at-bat of the season. Reynolds has toned down the strikeouts a bit in recent years, but he’s still a good bet to whiff around 30% of the time.

    Reynolds, then, would be a stark contrast to the type of player the Royals have generally rostered in recent years: high-contact, low-strikeout players with good baserunning ability. Then again, the Royals may enter a rebuilding phase if they can’t re-sign any of their veteran free agents (including Hosmer), and Reynolds would be among the cheaper first base options on the free agent market. You can see where Reynolds’ skills rank among the top eight free agent first basemen here.

    As for the Rockies, they’ve been linked to Carlos Santana during the winter meetings, but it’s been said that their top priorities are not at first base. As such, it makes sense that they’re a strong contender for the inexpensive Reynolds.

     

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Bridich: Rockies Not In On Ozuna, Hosmer, JDM]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109675 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich poured cold water on some speculation surrounding his team, telling Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (all Twitter links) and other reporters that the Rox aren’t involved in trade talks for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna.  Bridich also said that the club doesn’t have the payroll capability to shop at the very top of the free agent market for players like J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer.  One player Colorado is involved with is Wade Davis, as Bridich confirmed that the team is still talking to the free agent closer.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Carlos Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109628 2017-12-12T20:52:51Z 2017-12-12T20:47:22Z 2:47pm: Other clubs with some level of interest include the Astros, Orioles, and Rockies, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Colorado GM Jeff Bridich has previously indicated a desire to “continue conversations” with CarGo, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post tweeted yesterday, though he did not commit to anything beyond that.

    12:46pm: Though Carlos Gonzalez hasn’t drawn a huge amount of headlines coming off a down season in the final campaign of his seven-year deal with the Rockies, he’s generating a fair bit of interest from clubs looking to take a flyer on the former MVP candidate, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Gonzalez is likely to sign a short-term deal to rebuild his value, and Crasnick notes that the A’s, Blue Jays, Rays, Giants and Royals are among the clubs that are “believed” to be keeping tabs on him.

    Gonzalez, 32, struggled to a ghastly .221/.299/.338 slash in the season’s first half before erupting with a .314/.390/.531 slash, 21 doubles and eight homers in the second half. That surge was fueled largely by a mammoth spike in CarGo’s BABIP (.390 following the All-Star break). While that level isn’t sustainable over a full season, the fact that Gonzalez’s hard-contact rate spiked by nearly eight percent from the first half to the second half suggests that there was more than mere good fortune at play in his late rebound.

    Defensively, Gonzalez hasn’t graded out as an elite right fielder by any means in recent years, but he’s been a bit above average per Defensive Runs Saved and a bit below average in the estimation of Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast rated him one out above average in the outfield this past season.

    Of the teams listed, the A’s are a bit of a surprise, given their desire to add a controllable right-handed-hitting corner bat. However, they do have outfield space to spare, and Gonzalez could be a nice value play for them on a short-term deal. From a hitter’s standpoint, the Coliseum isn’t necessarily a great place to go try to put up big numbers, though Gonzalez is plenty familiar with the setting from his days in Oakland early in his career.

    The Rays are an even more curious fit given their payroll crunch, though if the team sheds a significant amount of salary and looks to rebuild, they could reallocate some resources to a one-year pact for Gonzalez with the intent to flip him at the nonwaiver deadline. It’s a similar story in Kansas City, where they have space in the outfield but are reportedly on the path to a rebuild.

    The Jays have been eyeing left-handed bats and some outfield help, so there’s certainly a reasonable match there. San Francisco, of course, just missed out on Giancarlo Stanton and will be looking to bolster its offense in other manners now. Depending on the price point at which Gonzalez and agent Scott Boras ultimately settle, other teams could well jump into the mix and hope to sign the Gonzalez that hit 65 homers from 2015-16 as opposed to the one that struggled in 2017 and 2014.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[6 To 8 Teams Interested In Marcell Ozuna]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109506 2017-12-12T20:27:46Z 2017-12-12T16:42:00Z TODAY: The Rockies and Blue Jays are also among the interested teams, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

    YESTERDAY, 7:45pm: The Marlins are telling teams Ozuna would be easier to acquire than outfield mate Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. That’s not surprising, as the 26-year-old Yelich is controllable by way of a team-friendly contract through 2022 and carries a more consistent track record than Ozuna.

    7:01pm: Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is drawing interest from six to eight clubs, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Along with the Cardinals, whose interest was already known entering Monday, the Giants and Nationals are among the teams in on Ozuna, per Frisaro. The Athletics are also still considering Ozuna, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slussser first reported their interest in Ozuna in early November.

    Two of these clubs – the Cardinals and Giants – have spent a large portion of the offseason engaging with the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and they even had deals in place to land the 2017 NL MVP. But Stanton nixed those trades before accepting a deal to the Yankees over the weekend, sending the Cards and Giants scrambling for other options. Ozuna makes for an appealing Plan B, then, as he’s coming off a season in which he slashed a career-best .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and a 4.8 fWAR over 679 plate appearances.

    In terms of production, last year was an outlier for Ozuna relative to the rest of his career – which began when he debuted in 2013 – but he has still accounted for at least 2.5 fWAR in three of four full seasons. At worst, Ozuna seems to be a solid regular, and the 27-year-old doesn’t come with an onerous, Stanton-esque contract. He’s controllable for two more years via arbitration and will earn a projected $10.9MM in 2018. That’s certainly an affordable figure, though it should also help the Marlins land a quality return for him. They’re obviously educated on both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ farm systems thanks to the Stanton talks.

    The Nationals, meanwhile, share a division with the Marlins, but that shouldn’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to a payroll-cutting Miami team whose primary goal in an Ozuna trade should be to bolster its weak system. Washington’s prospect pool is only the majors’ 18th best, per Baseball America (the outlet ranks the Cards’ 13th and the Giants’ 27th), but it seems that’s primarily because of a lack of depth. The top of the Nationals’ system is impressive, according to BA, and that could help pave the way for an Ozuna swap.

    With the Nationals at risk of losing Bryce Harper to free agency in a year, Ozuna might somewhat help cover for his potential exit in 2019. In the meantime, the Nats could perhaps use a left fielder to complement Harper in right and Adam Eaton in center. They do, however, have other in-house options in Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin. Taylor was particularly strong in 2017, yet the Nats may not be content with him functioning as a regular in 2018, if their interest in Ozuna is any indication.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers, Padres, Rockies Join Indians, Others In Pursuit Of Carlos Santana]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109304 2017-12-12T13:43:16Z 2017-12-12T13:42:36Z TUESDAY, 7:42am: Santana and his representatives are weighing offers from several teams, Hoynes reports, though it isn’t certain if he is close to accepting a deal.

    MONDAY, 5:04pm: The Padres have indeed discussed Santana, but “it seems they’re still focused on” Hosmer, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).

    1:51pm: The Rockies are also showing some interest in Santana, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Colorado has a clear opening at first base, though the team has indicated its top priorities lie elsewhere.

    10:27am: Cleveland’s top extension offer to Santana was three years and $36MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, and the organization would “likely go higher” now that he’s on the open market.

    SUNDAY, 9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable.

    6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest this offseason, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds the Rangers and Padres to the list of other teams (including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mariners) already linked to Santana on the rumor mill.

    Texas is known to be focusing on adding pitching this winter, though the team’s offense also lacked some of the well-rounded attack of past years.  Santana would clearly be a big upgrade in the first base/DH hole left behind by free agent Mike Napoli, who struggled last year in a sub-replacement level season.  Santana’s arrival would bolster the Rangers’ lineup against the possible departure of Adrian Beltre after the 2018 season.

    Installing Santana at first base would have a ripple effect throughout the Rangers’ lineup.  Joey Gallo would have to return to left field, with Nomar Mazara shifting to right and Shin-Soo Choo being limited to DH duties.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun had been mentioned as a possible candidate for regular DH or corner outfield duty, though Texas might want to give him a bit more seasoning rather than expect Calhoun to immediately contribute to a team that hopes to contend.

    Previous reports seemed to downplay San Diego’s possible interest in Santana, though it could be that the Padres have since considered Santana for what seems to be an increasing desire to sign a first baseman.  The Padres have also had interest in Eric Hosmer, with the logic being that the 28-year-old Hosmer is young enough to still be productive in a few years when San Diego is theoretically finished with its rebuild.  Santana, by contrast, turns 32 in April, and while the slugger hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down, he wouldn’t have the luxury of the occasional DH rest day while playing for a National League team.

    Adding a first baseman would necessitate shifting Wil Myers into a corner outfield role, though the Padres may see that as an acceptable tradeoff for adding offense.  The Padres finished at or near the bottom of most major offensive categories last year, so a proven above-average hitter like Santana (who hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers over 667 PA last year and has posted a 123 wRC+ over his career) would add some much-needed pop to the lineup.

    Santana rejected the Indians’ qualifying offer, and thus the Rangers and Padres would each need to surrender some compensation to sign the first baseman.  Texas would give up their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international signing bonus money, while San Diego would only have to surrender its third-highest draft pick.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Interested In Mark Reynolds]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109564 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z
  • The Rockies are interested in re-signing Mark Reynolds, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  GM Jeff Bridich has suggested that first base (or any type of bat) isn’t necessarily a priority for the team, though that hasn’t stopped the Rox from checking in on the likes of Carlos Santana or Jay Bruce.  Reynolds would be a more affordable and familiar option for Colorado at first base, returning for a third year at Coors Field after hitting .274/.354/.471 with 44 homers over 1034 PA in 2016-17.  Despite those slightly above-average hitting numbers, however, Reynolds has only been worth a total of 1.0 fWAR over those two seasons due to his strikeouts and lack of defensive or baserunning value.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Could Add Multiple Relievers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108525 2017-12-12T05:00:15Z 2017-12-12T04:59:15Z 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.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets, Rockies, Mariners, Jays Showing Interest In Jay Bruce]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108286 2017-12-12T01:55:01Z 2017-12-12T01:49:33Z Dec. 11: The Blue Jays are also interested in Bruce, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Of course, the Jays nearly traded for Bruce when he was a member of the Reds in February 2016, and they went on to show interest in him again last offseason.

    While the Mariners are reportedly in on Bruce, Greg Johns of MLB.com doesn’t see a match in the wake of their acquisition of newly minted outfielder Dee Gordon (Twitter link). Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times is similarly skeptical, noting that the Mariners would have to trade away a corner outfielder to make it possible. He doesn’t completely rule that out, though, considering GM Jerry Dipoto’s affinity for making deals (via Twitter).

    Dec. 1: The Mets are interested in Bruce on a three-year contract, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. Bruce is still seeking a five-year deal according to Puma, indicating that despite a stagnant free-agent market, he hasn’t gotten anxious and lowered his early-November asking price (at least in terms of years).

    Nov. 30, 6:46pm: Other organizations with some level of interest in Bruce include the Rockies and Mariners, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

    It’s not known just how the Rockies view Bruce, but it’s conceivable they’d consider him as a first base target. Colorado was willing to roll the dice on utilizing Ian Desmond at first last year, but ended up using him mostly in the outfield and will likely keep him on the grass in 2017. That leaves first as the team’s most evident need in the field, though perhaps the club could instead view Bruce as a direct replacement for outgoing free agent corner outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

    Seattle evidently has its eye on a lefty outfield bat, as it has also been linked with Jon Jay (who is, of course, otherwise quite a different hitter than is Bruce). The M’s current outfield mix is more proficient in the defensive and baserunning departments, so Bruce could add a different skillset that might allow for greater situational flexibility.

    5:28pm: The Mets share mutual interest with free agent slugger Jay Bruce, according to a report from Marc Carig of Newsday. Bruce, of course, opened the 2017 season in New York but was dealt in the middle of the year to the Indians.

    It’s far from clear at this point whether the sides match up, but obviously they are plenty familiar after Bruce played 153 games with the Mets between his mid-2016 acquisition and the subsequent trade. Though he struggled initially, Bruce gave the Mets 448 plate appearancs of .256/.321/.520 hitting and 29 home runs in the most recent season — numbers that he largely maintained (.248/.331/.477) upon heading to Cleveland.

    The time that Bruce spent with the Indians may actually have helped link him back to the Mets. Carig’s source notes that Bruce has a positive relationship with new Mets skipper Mickey Callaway, who just came over from the Cleveland organization.

    It’ll be interesting to see how serious the Mets are about adding a player like Bruce, who only is even under contemplation owing to problems with two youngsters the organization had hoped to rely upon. Outfielder Michael Conforto is recovering from major shoulder surgery while first baseman Dominic Smith is coming off of a poor initial showing in the majors while facing some front office scrutiny for his conditioning. There are some generally positive signs for Conforto. And Smith at least seems to be taking the concerns to heart with a stepped-up effort to trim up, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to report (Twitter links).

    Bruce has not spent much time at first, but was used there briefly by the Mets in 2017. Evidently, the team is comfortable with the idea of giving him significant time there. Unlike another rumored possibility, free agent Carlos Santana, Bruce would also provide an option in the corner outfield, where he has spent the bulk of his career.

    Of course, what Bruce cannot do is offer any kind of solution to some of the Mets’ other pressing needs. Signing him, naturally, would draw resources that otherwise might be dedicated elsewhere, which is particularly notable given that Bruce is expected to command a long-term contract. (MLBTR predicts he’ll net $39MM over three years, but it’s certainly possible he could garner more.)

    Notably, per Carig, the Mets are having some difficulty finding traction with potential second base targets. New York’s middling slate of upper-level prospects is “a barrier” in dialogue with the Tigers regarding Ian Kinsler, Carig reports, while the Mets have yet to engage in earnest with the Marlins on Dee Gordon.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109497 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z The latest free agent rumors…

    • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
    • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
    • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com).
    • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
    • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com).
    • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
    • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
    • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
    • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Cardinals, Rockies “Aggressively Pursuing” Alex Colome; Mets Also Have Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109362 2017-12-11T15:51:02Z 2017-12-11T15:49:38Z 9:49am: The Mets and possibly also the Cubs are engaged on Colome, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, it seems most teams with clear late-inning needs appear to have shown at least some level of interest in the youthful, controllable hurler.

    6:56am: The Cardinals and Rockies have their sights firmly set on Alex Colome. Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that both teams are “aggressively pursuing” the Rays closer.

    Though the Cardinals signed Luke Gregerson to a one-year pact only yesterday, it seems they’re not done adding to a bullpen that saw former closer Trevor Rosenthal tear the UCL in his throwing elbow this past season and then watched Zach Duke, Juan Nicasio and Seung-Hwan Oh depart in free agency. Earlier this offseason, Jeff Todd mentioned Alex Colome as a potential trade target when he examined the Cardinals’ search for a closer. Notably, the Rays have room for improvement in left field, whereas the Cardinals have an abundance of young outfield talent.

    The Rockies have plenty of young players to offer as well, though their strength comes mostly in the form of starters. They are, of course, looking to replace closer Greg Holland. Holland signed a one-year pact with Colorado last offseason and had a strong bounce back season, saving 41 games for the Rockies. Ultimately, he rejected both his player option and a qualifying offer, leaving Colorado with a hole to fill in the back end of their bullpen.

    Colome will enter the 2018 season at the age of 29. He’s spent his entire career with the Rays, and though he came up as a starter, he transitioned to a relief role during the 2015 season. Early in the 2016 season, Colome took over as Tampa Bay’s closer and has been solid for them ever since. The right-hander led all of baseball with 47 saves last season, and sports a 2.64 ERA to go with a 48.4% ground ball rate and 9.43 K/9 since taking over the closer role. Colome projects to earn $5.5MM in arbitration this year, and comes with two more years of team control beyond that.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Rockies Interested In Logan Morrison]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109236 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z
  • Free agent first baseman Logan Morrison has drawn interest from the Rockies, per Cafardo. Signing Morrison, who MLBTR projects will land a three-year, $36MM payday this offseason, would presumably send Ian Desmond to the outfield full time as Carlos Gonzalez’ replacement. It could also give the Rockies a significant offensive boost, with the 30-year-old Morrison having slashed .246/.353/.516 with a personal-high 38 homers in 2017.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Chris Iannetta]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109067 2017-12-10T12:49:07Z 2017-12-10T12:48:56Z SUNDAY: Iannetta’s option for 2020 is actually worth $4.25MM, per Heyman (Twitter link).

    FRIDAY: The Rockies have announced a two-year deal with veteran catcher Chris Iannetta, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported (Twitter link). Iannetta will receive a $8.5MM guarantee, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.

    Iannetta will get a $300K signing bonus plus successive salaries of $3.45MM and $4MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The contract also includes a vesting/club option with a $5.25MM price and $750K buyout. It will vest if Iannetta starts at least 220 total games over the next two seasons

    With the agreement, Iannetta becomes the second backstop to take home a multi-year deal this winter. Welington Castillo previously wrapped up a two-year, $15MM arrangement with the White Sox. Unsurprisingly, Iannetta settles for somewhat less, but still gets a large bump over last year’s $1.5MM salary.

    Oct 1, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Chris Iannetta (8) runs to third against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    The Rockies got a good look at Iannetta last year, as he appeared in 89 games for the division-rival Diamondbacks. Iannetta thrived in that half-time role, posting an excellent .254/.354/.511 batting line and launching 17 home runs in his 316 plate appearances. He continued to draw walks at a solid clip (11.7%) and made up for a career-worst 27.5% strikeout rate by posting a personal-high .257 isolated slugging mark.

    Of course, Iannetta will also turn 35 just days into the 2018 season. And some regression is almost surely in the cards, though it’s fair to note that he has produced at the same level as recently as 2014 — though he also oversaw two mediocre seasons at the plate in the interim. Iannetta’s framing numbers have ridden much the same roller coaster in recent years.

    The move represents a return to where it all began for Iannetta, who was drafted and developed by the Rockies. He now figures to occupy a significant portion of the organization’s playing time behind the dish. Perhaps the move does not fully eliminate the Rox as a suitor for Jonathan Lucroy, but it does make it quite a bit less likely that Lucroy will return to Colorado. The team could choose to pair Iannetta with one of its existing catchers, Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy, leaving some untapped resources free to pursue upgrades in other areas.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jeff Bridich On Rockies’ Offseason Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108826 2017-12-06T04:30:51Z 2017-12-06T04:30:51Z 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.”
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