MLB Trade Rumors » » Colorado Rockies 2017-11-24T23:38:43Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles To Acquire Konner Wade From Rockies For International Bonus Money]]> 2017-11-24T13:22:34Z 2017-11-24T13:22:37Z Nov. 24: The Rockies are receiving $500K worth of international bonus money from the Orioles in the trade, tweets Rich Dubroff of

As Matt Eddy of Baseball America points out, the O’s have now made eight trades sending away their international bonus pool funds since the signing period opened on July 2. The other 29 teams in the league have combined to make 13 trades involving international money in that time.

Nov. 21: The Orioles have added an arm in a swap with the Rockies, picking up righty Konner Wade in exchange for an unknown amount of international bonus pool money. Roch Kubatako of first reported the prospective swap, with Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeting that it has in fact gone though.

Wade, who’ll soon turn 26, repeated Double-A last year and showed strides against his 2016 performance. Over 109 1/3 innings, split nearly evenly between starting and relieving, Wade pitched to a 4.28 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.

It seems reasonable to expect that the O’s might ultimately consider Wade as a swingman option, though there’s also not much cause to believe he’ll factor in the team’s plans to open the 2018 season. Wade is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and can no longer be protected, but that fact doesn’t seem to have dissuaded the Orioles from pursuing him — suggesting that the O’s don’t expect he’ll be taken.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Scott McGough To Minors Deal]]> 2017-11-23T22:35:51Z 2017-11-23T22:34:24Z
  • The Rockies signed righty Scott McGough to a minors contract, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports.  McGough was a fifth-round pick for the Dodgers in the 2011 draft and was sent to the Marlins as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade in July 2012.  The 28-year-old has a 3.48 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 2.43 K/BB rate over 325 2/3 minor league innings (almost entirely as a reliever) with the Dodgers, Marlins and Orioles.  McGough’s only MLB experience is a six-game stint with the Marlins in 2015.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles, Rockies Nearly Completed Minor Trade]]> 2017-11-21T15:55:47Z 2017-11-21T14:33:00Z
  • The Orioles nearly swung a trade last night with the Rockies, Roch Kubatko of reports. The organizations were discussing a deal in which Baltimore would pick up righty Konner Wade in exchange for international pool funds. Though nothing ended up getting done, Kubatko suggests it could still be a possibility. He also goes on to discuss the O’s decisions on protecting players from the Rule 5 draft, including a few names that could be targeted by other organizations.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Added To The 40-Man Roster]]> 2017-11-21T01:48:28Z 2017-11-21T00:47:42Z As detailed earlier this morning at MLBTR, the deadline for Major League clubs to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight. Because of that, there will be literally dozens of moves between now and 8pm ET as teams make final determinations on who to protect and who to risk losing in next month’s Rule 5 draft. This process will lead to smaller-scale trades, waiver claims and DFAs, but for some clubs the only necessary moves will simply be to select the contracts of the prospects they wish to place on the 40-man roster. We’ll track those such moves in this post…

    Click to check in on other teams that have selected players to their 40-man rosters …

    Read more

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Interested In Brandon Kintzler]]> 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z
  • The Cardinals and Rockies are among teams with interest in reliever Brandon Kintzler, whose experience as a closer has executives wondering if a club will sign him to handle that role, according to Morosi. Both the Cardinals and Rockies need more than ninth-inning help, as each team has seen multiple key relievers hit free agency this month. The 33-year-old Kintzler has overcome a paucity of strikeouts to ride a low-walk, high-grounder combination to success throughout his career, including in a 2017 campaign that saw the righty amass a career-high 29 saves between Minnesota and Washington (28 with the Twins).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[All 9 Recipients Reject Qualifying Offer]]> 2017-11-16T22:16:08Z 2017-11-16T22:16:03Z THURSDAY: Officially, all nine players have rejected their qualifying offers and become free agents, the MLBPA has announced (h/t Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter).

    MONDAY: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes. Each of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Carlos Santana will turn down that one-year opportunity in search of a multi-year pact in free agency.

    In doing so, that group of nine will also subject themselves to draft-pick compensation and position their former clubs to recoup some value in next year’s amateur draft should they sign elsewhere. Last offseason’s new collective bargaining agreement altered the specifics of that compensation, tying the draft picks received and surrendered largely to the luxury tax threshold, revenue sharing and the size of the contract signed by the free agent in question.

    MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained which draft picks each of the six teams that issued a qualifying offer would receive, should their free agents sign elsewhere, as well as which picks all 30 teams would be required to surrender if they are to sign a qualified free agent. Prior to that, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk provided a more comprehensive and in-depth overview of the new QO system, for those that are unfamiliar or would like a refresher on the finer details.

    It’s been reported for quite some time that Kansas City will make a strong effort to retain Hosmer. Heyman added over the weekend that the Royals will also push to keep Moustakas but feel that Cain is almost certain to land elsewhere on the open market. The Rockies are known to have interest in re-upping with Holland on a multi-year deal, and Heyman notes within today’s column that the Rays “understand [Cobb] is out of their reach financially” and will sign elsewhere. He also adds that Davis seems to be likelier than Arrieta to return to Chicago.

    It’s unlikely that there will be any formal announcements just yet. Among the changes to the QO system under the 2017-21 CBA was that QO recipients would have 10 days, rather than seven, to determine whether to accept or reject the offer. The deadline to issue QOs was last Monday, so the recipients still technically have until this coming Thursday to formally declare their intention. But, barring a last-minute freak injury it seems that each of the nine will go the widely expected route and enter free agency in search of the most substantial contracts in their respective careers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Bridich On Rockies' Bullpen Needs]]> 2017-11-14T13:38:00Z 2017-11-14T13:32:22Z
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich discussed his team’s offseason plans yesterday with reporters including’s Thomas Harding and AJ Cassavell. Understandably enough, the focus was on the bullpen. While Bridich said the club is hoping its young relievers can “either retain roles or step up into new roles,” he acknowledged that outside acquisitions will be needed. Outgoing closer Greg Holland is certainly one possibility, says Bridich, but he says that his front office staff is “keeping our eyes and earns open to just about everything.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Colorado Rockies]]> 2017-11-10T22:34:43Z 2017-11-10T15:58:43Z MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here to read the other entries in this series.

    The Rockies made their triumphant return to the postseason, but bowed out after dropping the Wild Card play-in game. Overcoming the Dodgers in the NL West will be a tall order, and the Rox face several roster questions.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    • Ian Desmond, 1B/OF: $62MM through 2021 (includes buyout of club option for 2022)
    • Nolan Arenado, 3B: $17.75MM through 2018 (also controllable via arbitration in 2019)
    • Mike Dunn, RP: $15MM through 2019 (includes buyout of club option for 2020)
    • Gerardo Parra, OF: $10MM through 2018
    • Adam Ottavino, RP: $7MM through 2018


    Arbitration-Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via MLBTR & Matt Swartz)

    Free Agents

    [Colorado Rockies Depth ChartColorado Rockies Payroll]

    There are some needs here, but also some resources. Colorado’s payroll has ramped up rather noticeably in the past three seasons, going from $97MM to $112MM and then up to $127MM. As things stand, the team’s 2018 guarantees plus anticipated arb costs add up to about $90MM. Thus, even if there’s no further boost — that’s still unclear — GM Jeff Bridich could have nearly $40MM of open payroll to play around with.

    Where, then, do the needs lie? The most noticeable hole, perhaps, is at the back of the bullpen. Greg Holland proved a worthwhile free agent acquisition last winter, though incentives drove his one-year cost up to a healthy $15MM (from an initial $6MM salary). He gave up the chance at another $15MM payday and is expected to decline a $17.4MM qualifying offer, preferring instead to return to free agency. With live-armed lefty Jake McGee and midseason acquisition Pat Neshek also reaching the open market, the Rox will lose a large portion of the their late-inning firepower.

    Aug 18, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy (21) and relief pitcher Greg Holland (56) celebrate the win over the at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Colorado could pursue some or all of its own free agents, and perhaps it’s reasonable to anticipate that to a point. It certainly seems that both Holland and the team are fond of one another, but he’s going to cost a bundle and comes with all the risks one might imagine would accompany a soon-to-be 32-year-old reliever that recently underwent elbow surgery. The Rockies have a few power arms on hand, including Adam Ottavino and youngsters such as Carlos Estevez, but it’s difficult to imagine any being entrusted with the ninth inning. If Holland can’t be had, then, it’s possible to imagine Bridich checking into the trade market or shopping from among a variety of late-inning arms. Some free-agent hurlers have significant closing experience, such as Addison Reed and Steve Cishek, while others have arguably shown enough to deserve such an opportunity. Among the interesting names on the market are the veteran control artist Neshek, former Rockies hurler Juan Nicasio, and Brandon Morrow. Even if the club lands a big closer, it could consider those and other options as it seeks additional setup options. The team has two southpaws with Mike Dunn and Chris Rusin, but another righty late-inning arm would be welcome.

    The fact that there are some openings shouldn’t be read as a suggestion that the pitching staff isn’t in a good place. In fact, the rotation looks solid enough that it could distribute some spare arms to the ’pen if the team enjoys good health fortune. Though Tyler Chatwood is on his way out, the Rockies have compiled a group of solid hurlers behind staff ace Jon Gray. German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, and Chad Bettis are all but certainties for rotation spots so long as they are healthy. Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman faded late, while Tyler Anderson struggled early and closed strong, but all three could compete for the final job out of camp. Those that fall shy will bolster the relief corps or remains stretched out at Triple-A for depth. It’s conceivable that the Rockies could add another veteran pitcher to this mix, but hardly necessary; it’s more likely, perhaps, that the club will sign a swingman type for the pen and/or add a veteran or two on low-commitment minors deals.

    One way to squeeze value out of an existing pitching staff is to improve the catching situation, and that figures to be an area of focus for Colorado. Tony Wolters slid offensively last year, while Tom Murphy struggled through an injury-limited campaign. Mid-season acquisition Jonathan Lucroy shored things up once he arrived and looks to be a strong candidate for a return. Lucroy is already 31 years of age and comes with some questions after lagging at the plate and in the framing department in the first half of 2017. But he has been one of the game’s best receivers for some time now and rebounded upon his arrival in Colorado. Now, he’s a known quantity who would fill a clear need. Other open-market options include Alex Avila and Welington Castillo.

    Otherwise, half of the lineup is fixed. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, shortstop Trevor Story, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, and center fielder Charlie Blackmon are all everyday players. The only offseason questions facing this group relate to the possibility of new contracts. Blackmon and LeMahieu are each entering their walk years, while Arenado is just one season behind them. It’s possible to imagine the Rockies exploring long-term arrangements with any of these players, but getting something done will likely require an uncomfortable contractual commitment — especially with Arenado and Blackmon, who are among the very most productive players in the game. The former is still just 26 and could reasonably point to the Giancarlo Stanton extension as a comp; the latter is already 31, thus limiting his contractual upside, but could legitimately seek a four-year promise at a premium rate of pay to forego a shot at free agency. Story, meanwhile, seems safe in his job for now but doesn’t look like an extension candidate at this point given his strikeout problems and the presence of the fast-rising Brendan Rodgers.

    That brings us to the potential moving parts on the position-player side of things: first base, the corner outfield, and the bench. There are options here, though it’s also possible the Rockies will take a fairly simple path to rounding things out.

    Ian Desmond was supposed to slot in at first last year, a quizzical decision from the start that only looked worse as the season wore on. Desmond struggled at the plate upon returning from injury and ultimately ceded first base to Mark Reynolds, who is now again a free agent. Ultimately, Desmond played mostly in the corner outfield, and it seems likely the versatile veteran will be penciled in there to open the year. Colorado can do little but hope that he follows the path of Gerardo Parra, who surged after a disappointing first season after joining the club as a free agent. Those two could serve to occupy a major portion of the time flanking Blackmon. Meanwhile, the Rockies have a slate of other outfield possibilities on hand. Left-handed hitters Raimel Tapia, Mike Tauchman, and David Dahl are all on the 40-man. Each has shown quite a bit of promise at times but also comes with questions of varying kind and degree. The righty-swinging Noel Cuevas was also just placed on the 40-man and could compete for a job.

    Put it all together, and it’s certainly possible that the Rockies already have compiled their outfield unit. Viewed that way, the offseason path is simple: salute former star Carlos Gonzalez on his way out the door and think about a plan to account for the loss of first baseman Mark Reynolds, who provided sufficient production at a bargain rate in 2017. With Pat Valaika on hand to function as a utility option, there really isn’t much to do but settle first base.

    At first, there are a multitude of options. Colorado could plan to rely upon youngster Ryan McMahon, who has little to prove at Triple-A. (He has also spent time at second and third, which increases his roster utility now and in the future.) The lefty hitter might be complemented with a right-handed-hitting addition, which could come in the person of Reynolds. Despite tallying thirty home runs, it is worth noting that the 34-year-old’s overall batting productivity remained in the realm of league average, as it has been for most of the past six seasons. With quite a few other slugger types floating around in free agency, Reynolds likely won’t require a major outlay to bring back. Alternatively, the club could look to players such as Mike Napoli or Danny Valencia to join McMahon.

    That is the most straightforward and cost-effective way for things to go, but hardly the only one. It’s plenty arguable that the Rockies can and should pursue a more aggressive approach — particularly with an imposing Dodgers team still dominating the division. Colorado pursued Jose Abreu as a free agent and might see a lot to like in his contractual rights. Abreu is one of the game’s better hitters; while he’s not cheap with a projected $17.9MM arbitration salary in his second-to-last arb year, that’s a cost level that won’t break the bank. And the Rockies likely have sufficient prospect depth to entice the White Sox without bankrupting their future. You can probably squint and see high-priced free agent Eric Hosmer as a fit here, particularly given Colorado’s track record of seeking reputed high-character types, and free agency also comes with a variety of other quality first basemen (most notably, the switch-hitting Carlos Santana). Conceivably, the Rockies could also even revert to their original plans with Desmond, putting him in some sort of first base/super-utility role while adding a bigger corner outfield piece instead of a first baseman.

    It’s possible to imagine quite a few scenarios, really. Investing in a veteran position player, for instance, might free the Rockies to utilize young position-player assets to acquire a quality young reliever. It’s an exciting time to be a Rockies fan — though that also means expectations will be high for Bridich and his staff.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Will Try To Re-Sign Holland On Multi-Year Deal]]> 2017-11-10T01:49:27Z 2017-11-09T22:22:29Z Though Greg Holland turned down his $15MM player option and will also reject his $17.4MM qualifying offer, it’s not yet a foregone conclusion that his Denver days are in the past, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Rockies “believe that Holland is the right leader” for their young pitching staff and will seek to re-sign him to a more lucrative multi-year offer, per Heyman. They will, of course, face a fair bit of competition in that pursuit. Heyman lists the Cubs and Cardinals as teams that will possibly be in the market for Holland this offseason as well.

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Examining Draft Pick Compensation For The 6 Teams That Could Lose Qualified Free Agents]]> 2017-11-09T00:53:16Z 2017-11-08T22:30:35Z Six different teams made qualifying offers to free agents this winter.  Assuming the nine players turn down the one-year, $17.4MM offer, here’s what each of those teams stands to gain in draft pick compensation.

    [Related: Offseason Primer: The New Qualifying Offer Rules]


    The Cubs made qualifying offers to right-handers Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis.  The Cubs were neither a revenue sharing recipient nor a competitive balance tax payor.  Therefore, regardless of the size of the contracts Arrieta and Davis sign, the Cubs will receive draft pick compensation after Competitive Balance Round B, which takes place after the second round.


    The Cardinals made a qualifying offer to starter Lance Lynn.  Like the Cubs, they were neither a revenue sharing recipient nor a competitive balance tax payor.  Regardless of the amount Lynn signs for, the Cardinals will receive draft pick compensation after Competitive Balance Round B.


    The Royals made qualifying offers to center fielder Lorenzo Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer, and third baseman Mike Moustakas.  The Royals were a revenue sharing recipient.  If any of their three free agents sign for a guarantee of $50MM or more, the Royals get draft pick compensation after the first round.  For any of the three that signs for less than $50MM, the Royals get draft pick compensation after Comp Round B.  MLBTR projects all three players to sign for well over $50MM, so the Royals should have a very favorable draft pool in 2018, potentially adding three picks in the top 35 or so if all three sign elsewhere.


    The Rays made a qualifying offer to right-hander Alex Cobb.  They were a revenue sharing recipient and are subject to the same rules as the Royals, Rockies, and Indians.  However, Cobb is a borderline free agent when it comes to a $50MM contract, in our estimation.  The team will be rooting for him to reach that threshold, as the Rays would then net a compensatory pick after the first round.  If Cobb falls shy of that total guarantee, the Rays will receive an extra pick after Comp Round B.


    The Rockies made a qualifying offer to closer Greg Holland.  They were a revenue sharing recipient and are subject to the same rules as the Royals, Rays, and Indians.  Holland, too, is a borderline $50MM free agent, though he certainly figures to aim higher than that in the early stages of free agency.  If he reaches $50MM+, the Rox will get a pick after the first round.  If not, they’ll receive a pick after Comp Round B.


    The Indians made a qualifying offer to first baseman Carlos Santana.  They were a revenue sharing recipient and are subject to the same rules as the Royals, Rays, and Rockies.  Santana is another borderline $50MM free agent in our estimation, but it’s certainly possible he clears that threshold and nets Cleveland a pick after the first round.

    So, the Cubs and Cardinals already know where their draft-pick compensation will land if their qualified free agents sign elsewhere: after Competitive Balance Round B, which currently starts with pick No. 76.  The Royals, Rays, Rockies, and Indians will all be rooting for their free agents to sign for at least $50MM, granting them compensation after the first round, which begins with pick No. 31.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 11/7/17]]> 2017-11-07T14:36:10Z 2017-11-07T14:36:10Z After a busy transactional day yesterday, let’s catch up on some of the latest minor moves:

    • Catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Alex Presley have elected free agency from the Tigers, Evan Woodberry of reports on Twitter. Each of the veterans was outrighted recently, though Woodberry hints that Detroit has interest in bringing both back on minors deals. Holaday will enter the pool of catchers that are looking for opportunities to compete for reserve jobs in camp. The 32-year-old Presley should also draw attention from other organizations; he turned in 264 plate appearances of .314/.354/.416 hitting in 2017.
    • The Rockies selected the contract of outfielder Noel Cuevas, per a club announcement. Acquired from the division-rival Dodgers in the trade that sent Juan Nicasio to Los Angeles, Cuevas blossomed at Triple-A Alburquerque in 2017. Across 528 plate appearances, he posted a .312/.353/.487 slash with 15 long balls and 16 steals.
    • Two players were also added to the Yankees 40-man roster, the club announced. Outfielder Jake Cave is one of them; the one-time Rule 5 pick won’t be eligible for the draft again this year. He turned in a compelling season in the upper minors, including a robust .324/.367/.554 batting line with 15 long balls in 297 Triple-A plate appearances. Joining him is righty Nick Rumbelow, who returned from Tommy John surgery with aplomb last year. Over 40 1/3 innings, he allowed just five earned runs on 21 hits while racking up a 45:11 K/BB ratio.
    • The Indians selected the contract of Eric Haase, per the transactions page. The 24-year-old backstop knocked around Double-A pitching to the tune of a .258/.349/.574 batting line and 26 homers through 381 plate appearances.
    • Cuban catcher Lorenzo Quintana is joining the Astros for a $200K bonus, per’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). The 28-year-old is not subject to international signing restrictions. Quintana was long one of the most productive receivers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, carrying a lifetime .310/.377/.438 batting line, but he last played there in the 2014-15 season.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Decline Club Option Over Alexi Amarista]]> 2017-11-06T16:14:55Z 2017-11-06T16:14:55Z The Rockies have declined their $2.5MM club option over utility infielder Alexi Amarista, reports’s Thomas Harding. Amarista will receive a $150K buyout and head back into the free-agent market this winter. Harding also notes that Greg Holland’s player option has now been formally declined — an outcome that had been previously reported upon.

    Amarista inked a one-year pact with the Rox last winter after spending the majority of his career with the division-rival Padres. Amarista’s role in Colorado was a limited one, as he appeared in just 96 games and totaled 176 plate appearances. While he gave first-year Rox skipper Bud Black some versatility on the defensive end of the spectrum — Amarista saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in all three outfield spots — the 28-year-old wasn’t able to provide any value at the plate.

    In his 176 PAs, Amarista batted just .238/.269/.351 with three homers and 10 doubles. Defensive versatility with questionable offensive output has been the norm for Amarista throughout his career, however. In parts of seven big league seasons, he’s a career .231/.275/.323 hitter in 1901 plate appearances. He’ll likely draw interest from clubs looking to add veteran depth options that can compete for a bench spot next spring, but his struggles at the plate in one of the game’s premier offensive environments make it likely that Amarista will have to settle for a minor league deal this time around.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Greg Holland Declines Player Option]]> 2017-11-07T01:36:17Z 2017-11-06T15:55:34Z NOV. 6: Holland has formally declined his option, reports’s Thomas Harding. The Rockies are expected to attempt to re-sign him to a multi-year pact, per Harding, and a $17.4MM qualifying offer is a virtual certainty. (Holland already rejected a one-year deal at $15MM by declining his option, after all.)

    OCT. 12: Rockies closer Greg Holland will decline his $15MM player option and re-enter the free agent market in search of a more lucrative multi-year deal, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman.

    Once the option is formally declined, the Rockies will have the opportunity to make Holland a qualifying offer of a $17.4MM. Presumably, Holland will again reject that figure, thus setting up the Rox to recoup some draft pick compensation if he ultimately signs elsewhere.

    Greg Holland | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    This decision from Holland was largely expected, though his shaky second half at least created a marginal sense of doubt after an opt-out looked to be a virtual lock as late into the season as the non-waiver trade deadline. Set to turn 32 this offseason, Holland posted a brilliant 1.56 ERA through 40 1/3 innings from Opening Day to Aug. 4, but he limped to the finish line with a ghastly 8.47 ERA in his final 17 regular-season innings before serving up another pair of runs in the NL Wild Card game. In his defense, he did pitch quite well in September; the damage was primarily confined to one abysmal eight-game stretch in August.

    Holland was legitimately dominant for the season’s first couple of months, although as Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron pointed out during his August swoon, there were red flags about his performance long before his ERA eventually reflected a decline. Holland’s velocity dipped partway through the season (though it did bounce back even in the midst of his ugly finish), and he began to struggle with his control as early on as June. Not only was Holland struggling with walks, but he was also unable to command his fastball within the strike zone, Cameron observed, throwing an abnormal number of middle-middle fastballs.

    That said, it’s perhaps not entirely surprising that Holland would fade a bit down the stretch. The 2017 season was his first effort back after missing the entire 2016 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Agent Scott Boras will undoubtedly chalk some of Holland’s late dip in performance up to that fact, staking the claim that he’ll hold up better now that he’s had a full year to rebuild some arm strength. There’s likely some truth to the argument, though it’s of course nearly impossible to determine how much of Holland’s late struggles are attributable to the surgery.

    Even with Holland’s end-of-season woes, though, his overall numbers on the year look solid. He wrapped up the 2017 season with a 3.61 ERA and an impressive 11.0 K/9 mark through 57 1/3 innings. While he averaged 4.1 BB/9, Holland averaged 1.1 HR/9 despite the league-wide uptick in homers and despite playing half his games at Coors Field. Of the seven homers he allowed, five came in that dreadful August slump.

    Holland will be hitting the open market at roughly the same age that Mark Melancon did before scoring a then-record-setting four-year, $62MM contract with the Giants. Holland’s late slide and relative proximity to Tommy John surgery could put that contract out of reach, but it’s sure to be a talking point for Boras this offseason when negotiating with interested parties. And even if Holland comes up shy of that sum, it still stands to reason that he’s all but certain to considerably out-earn the one year and $15MM he’s leaving on the table to again test free agency.

    [Related: Colorado Rockies depth chart and payroll outlook]

    For the Rockies, Holland will be just one of multiple relievers departing for the open market. He’ll be joined by two of the team’s top setup men: lefty Jake McGee and righty Pat Neshek. Beyond that, the Rox also stand to lose right-handed starter Tyler Chatwood to free agency, leaving GM Jeff Bridich no shortage of work to do when it comes to rounding out his team’s pitching staff.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Holland, Bullpen, Amarista]]> 2017-10-30T12:24:50Z 2017-10-30T02:18:24Z
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has said that he’ll in touch with Greg Holland’s representatives about a return in 2018, though Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post breaks down the Rockies’ options at closer next season with or without Holland in the mix.  Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez or Carlos Estevez could be internal options to take the ninth-inning job, or the Rockies could acquire another closer via trade or free agent signing.  Re-signing Holland is also an option, though that carries the usual risks in committing big money and dollars to a veteran reliever, particularly one with Holland’s injury history.
  • In another piece from Saunders, he opines that bench depth will be a need for the Rockies in the offseason.  Pat Valaika brought some nice pop and versatility last year, though youngsters Ryan McMahon and Mike Tauchman don’t have much experience.  Saunders doesn’t think the Rockies will exercise their $2.5MM club option on Alexi Amarista, given the utilityman’s poor hitting and overall fielding numbers in 2017.  One internal bench option could be David Dahl, if the former top prospect is healthy after missing virtually all of last season due to a rib injury.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Rox Still Deciding On CarGo's Future]]> 2017-10-28T18:08:05Z 2017-10-28T18:08:05Z
  • The Rockies are still deciding whether to give impending free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez a qualifying offer, per Cafardo. It’s difficult to imagine the Rockies taking a $17.4MM chance on Gonzalez, though, considering he’s fresh off the worst year of his career. Despite playing his home games at Coors Field, the 32-year-old Gonzalez hit just .262/.339/.423 with unspectacular power numbers (14 home runs, .162 ISO) across 534 trips to the plate. As has typically been the case, the lefty-swinger struggled against same-handed pitchers and away from Colorado.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Assessing Rockies' Bullpen Options]]> 2017-10-19T05:07:27Z 2017-10-19T04:58:41Z
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post breaks down the Rockies bullpen options entering the offseason. With Greg Holland, Jake McGee, and mid-season acquisition Pat Neshek all set to hit the open market, there are plenty of questions despite the generally promising performance of the unit in 2017. So long as Colorado is willing to spend near last year’s level (around $130MM), there ought to be some space to fit some reasonably significant salaries to fill out and improve the pen.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Saunders On Rockies' Offseason]]> 2017-10-18T02:11:25Z 2017-10-18T02:11:25Z Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tackles a number of topics pertaining to the Rockies’ offseason in his latest Rockies Mailbag column. Among the more interesting items of note, Saunders opines that Carlos Gonzalez’s days in Colorado are through, noting that it’s unlikely that he’ll receive a qualifying offer. Saunders also notes that the ascension of prospect Ryan McMahon, who has been working out at second base, could also cloud DJ LeMahieu’s future with the club. LeMahieu is a free agent after the 2018 season, and McMahon has little left to prove in the minors. McMahon cut his teeth as a corner infielder, however, so it seems possible that the Rox could yet view him as an option at first base, where they’re currently a bit unsettled. Ian Desmond, of course, is an option there, though he could also be utilized in the outfield or elsewhere on the diamond (perhaps even at second base, speculatively speaking, though he has hasn’t played there since 2009 with the Nationals).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Expected To Pursue Reunion With Jonathan Lucroy]]> 2017-10-17T23:57:06Z 2017-10-17T23:54:17Z Jonathan Lucroy has already openly expressed interest in returning to the Rockies, and’s Thomas Harding writes today that the Rox are “expected” to pursue a reunion with the 31-year-old backstop. As Harding points out, the Rockies will return a very young pitching staff in 2018, and the team could benefit from an experienced handler of that youthful group.

    Lucroy, of course, exercised his contractual right to veto a trade from the Brewers to the Indians last summer after being informed by Cleveland that he’d likely see significant time at first base. Soon after, he was flipped to the Rangers, who utilized him as their primary catcher following last year’s non-waiver deadline and for much of the first half of the 2017 season. Lucroy took Texas by storm in 2016, mashing at a .276/.345/.539 pace with 11 homers and seven doubles in just 168 trips to the plate.

    Unfortunately for both Lucroy and the Rangers, he struggled through the worst half-season of his career to open the 2017 campaign, batting just .242/.297/.338 with only four homers in 306 PAs. The two-time All-Star began to cede playing time to Robinson Chirinos in Texas and was eventually traded to the Rockies for a player to be named later (young but well-regarded outfield prospect Pedro Gonzalez). With the Rox, Lucroy’s season turned around, as he slashed .310/.429/.437 with a pair of homers, six doubles and three triples in his final 175 plate appearances.

    Certainly, Lucroy’s overall line of .265/.345/.371 pales in comparison to the .292/.355/.500 output he managed in 2016, but the solid finish to the season helped to salvage some free-agent value. With a solid run to close out the year and an impressive track record, Lucroy still looks like a candidate to earn a multi-year deal in free agency, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently explored at length.

    The Rockies and other interested parties will need to determine exactly what to make of Lucroy’s defensive skills. After throwing out a career-high 39 percent of opposing base thieves in 2016, Lucroy returned to his career norm in 2017, throwing out a solid-but-unspectacular 27 percent of runners. His framing metrics, meanwhile, once rated among the best in baseball. In 2017, Baseball Prospectus ranked him last among MLB receivers in that category. That doesn’t necessarily make him a poor defensive backstop — Salvador Perez routinely rates poorly but is generally regarded as a plus overall defender, for instance — but the deteriorated framing numbers certainly won’t do Lucroy any favors when negotiating with suitors this winter.

    Even if the Rockies and Lucroy are ultimately unable to agree on a price point, Colorado seems likely to pursue some form of catching help this offseason. Outside of Lucroy, the Rockies received virtually no offensive production from the combination of Tony Wolters (.240/.341/.284 in 266 PAs), Tom Murphy (.042/.115/.083 in 26 PAs), Ryan Hanigan (.267/.324/.347 in 112 PAs) and Dustin Garneau (.206/.260/.353 in 74 PAs). Garneau has since been claimed off waivers by the A’s and the veteran Hanigan is a free agent, further thinning out the herd.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Seager, Rockies, Padres]]> 2017-10-16T03:53:54Z 2017-10-16T03:51:54Z Dodgers phenom Corey Seager feels “normal-ish”, according to manager Dave Roberts (via an article by Ken Gurnick of Seager was injured while sliding into second base during the game in which the Dodgers clinched the NLDS series victory, and hasn’t done any baseball activity since then. Roberts adds that Seager won’t be traveling with the team to Chicago, though that could change under certain circumstances. Regardless, Seager can’t be added to the NLCS roster at this point unless someone on the current roster gets injured. In that case, the player Seager replaces would be ineligible for the Dodgers’ World Series roster, should the team advance that far. The 23-year old Seager batted .295/.375/.479 with 22 home runs during the regular season, and ranked first among all NL shortstops in fWAR. His situation will certainly be worth monitoring closely.

    More from baseball’s NL West division…

    • In a mailbag article for, Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding points out that Colorado used only eight total starting pitchers this past season, which was incredibly lucky considering they averaged 12 starters per season from 2011-2016. Seven of those eight starters are set to return in 2018, and while they have youth on their side, Harding wonders how the organization will adapt if their luck with pitcher injuries regresses to the mean. The Rockies playoff hopes for the next few years will rest largely on the health and development of their young starters, including Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland.
    • Speaking of mailbag articles for, Padres beat writer AJ Cassavell suggests that San Diego’s bullpen-related offseason plans will largely hinge on whether any teams will meet GM A.J. Preller’s asking price on lefty Brad Hand. If Hand is traded, the Padres’ bullpen will likely need a significant overhaul, including some spending on established major leaguers. However, if he isn’t moved and the club is able to retain Craig Stammen, their relief corps may only need a few tweaks for 2018. To say that Hand essentially was the Padres’ bullpen in 2017 isn’t an exaggeration; his 3.89 Win Probability Added (WPA) ranked fourth-best among all relievers in baseball. All other Padres relievers combined for -1.76 WPA, and Stammen was the only other arm in their ’pen to exceed 0.20.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Will Have To Address Bullpen For Second Straight Offseason]]> 2017-10-15T03:27:38Z 2017-10-15T03:27:38Z
  • For the second straight offseason, the Rockies will have to work on shoring up their bullpen, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post observes. The Rockies signed Greg Holland and Mike Dunn to sizable contracts last winter, but Holland’s now set to opt out of his deal and head to the open market again. Colorado probably won’t be able to re-sign the closer, Saunders writes, and the fact that Holland isn’t the team’s only key reliever who could exit in free agency only worsens matters. Jake McGee and July trade acquisition Pat Neshek are also unsigned entering the offseason. Holland, McGee and Neshek were among the best options in a bullpen that made big strides from 2016 to ’17, jumping from 23rd in fWAR to sixth and last in ERA to 20th.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch: Jonathan Lucroy]]> 2017-10-14T14:27:11Z 2017-10-10T17:47:08Z Generally, of course, Jonathan Lucroy’s stock is down on the heels of a disappointing season. He entered the year with a chance at earning Russell Martin-type money — $82MM over five years — but now won’t scrape that stratosphere.

    That said, there’s still a lot of value in the veteran. Just how much? Let’s take a look.

    Sep 22, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy (21) at bat during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    First and foremost, it’s important to note just how good Lucroy was from 2012 through 2016. After all, there’s a reason that folks thought he could meet or exceed that Martin contract. In 641 games over that span, Lucroy posted an excellent .291/.353/.465 batting line that rated about twenty percent above the league-average output. For a catcher that also was regarded among the best at defending his position, those are monster numbers.

    That five-year run serves as a notable backdrop for what happened in 2017. Lucroy struggled badly out of the gates, slashing just .242/.297/.338 in his 306 plate appearances with the Rangers. He hit just four home runs in that stretch after drilling 24 in the prior season in 544 trips to the plate. Just as suddenly, though, Lucroy bounced back upon his summer trade to the Rockies. In his 175 turns, the veteran posted a .310/.429/.437 mark while drawing 27 walks against just 19 strikeouts. The power did not fully return — he hit only two more long balls — but clearly Lucroy was again an above-average offensive performer, even after accounting for the altitude boost.

    So, how does one frame the recent years? Was the first half of 2017 just a detour? Or should we figure in Lucroy’s tepid 2015 season and isolate his excellent 2016 season as the outlier? What about that waning power?

    In all likelihood, clubs will land somewhere in the middle on all of this. It’s certainly quite promising that Lucroy has restored his plate discipline nearly to the levels it stood in 2014, when he walked (10.1%) nearly as often as he struck out (10.8%) over 655 plate appearances. But his isolated slugging mark has now sat below the league average in two of the past three seasons. Plus, Lucroy managed only an anemic 22.3% hard-hit rate in 2017 while his groundball rate soared to over fifty percent for the first time in his career.

    Of course, there’s still the matter of Lucroy’s work in the field to be accounted for. There was a time when his mastery of the dark arts behind the dish significantly bolstered the 31-year-old’s value. When he posted 6.2 fWAR in 2014, that was arguably an understatement, as it failed to account for Lucroy’s otherworldly framing skills and management of the pitching staff over a 153-game grind.

    Now, the picture seems quite a bit different. Framing metrics panned Lucroy’s work over the first half of 2017. Though he ticked upward in Colorado, it’s still a far sight from the days when Lucroy was the poster child for the newly illuminated art of strike gathering. Still, he drew positive grades as recently as 2016, and it would be rather surprising for such a remarkable degradation in skill to occur so suddenly, so perhaps there’s a bounceback (or another explanation) here. And it’s worth noting that Lucroy has drawn plaudits for his presence on the defensive side from Rockies skipper Bud Black.

    All told, the signals leave quite a lot of room for interpretation. No doubt many organizations will feel differently than others about what to expect from Lucroy. All will value the fact that he has been one of only four catchers to top three thousand plate appearances since the start of 2012 (and one of only three to post more than twenty WAR in that span). He seems clearly worthy of being awarded a regular job, but guessing at an earning range is more difficult. And that depends, too, on market factors.

    Obviously there’s reason to expect that the Rockies could be interested in a return. The team has indicated satisfaction with Lucroy’s work and could use him just as much next year as this, though there are also internal options to be considered. Lucroy himself has made clear he’d welcome a chance to return. Beyond that, the possibilities are a bit more difficult to suss out. Few contenders have really clear needs behind the plate, though contending organizations such as the Diamondbacks, Angels, and perhaps Nationals could consider a move.

    Other possible suitors could yet emerge. But Lucroy will face some competition. It helps that Kurt Suzuki has decided to remain with the Braves. But Welington Castillo is likely to decline his player option and Alex Avila will return to the open market. Chris Iannetta had a strong year, and he’s one of several solid veterans that may represent more cost-conscious options for organizations that prefer a timeshare at the position rather than paying more to land a heavily-used regular.

    Recent comps are of limited utility, too. Big dollars have gone to Martin and Brian McCann (five years, $85MM), but as noted at the outset that seems highly unlikely here. Looking at other significant, multi-year deals, though, there’s a big gulf between those larger contracts and the three-year pacts signed by Jason Castro ($24.5MM) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia ($21MM). Lucroy has a strong argument to out-earn that pair, so it seems reasonable to anticipate at least a three-year arrangement with some possibility for a fourth.

    Perhaps Francisco Cervelli’s three-year, $31MM extension represents a more noteworthy marker in this case. It’s telling, too, that Matt Wieters was guaranteed $21MM over two years despite a clearly inferior record to that of Lucroy, perhaps further suggesting that Lucroy ought to command an eight-figure annual commitment. Ultimately, it’s easy to imagine pursuit by two or more determined organizations pushing up the guarantee past the Cervelli level. Demand is less than crystal clear, so there’s some downside risk here as well, though it helps that Lucroy will not be subject to a qualifying offer since he was dealt in the middle of the season. Regardless of how it all shakes out, two things are clear after Lucroy’s 2017 campaign: he won’t be paid like the top-flight player he was for the prior five seasons, but he’ll still earn a hefty commitment when he hits the open market for the first time.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[How The Rockies Could Use Their Payroll Space]]> 2017-10-08T17:46:40Z 2017-10-08T17:46:40Z
  • The Rockies have almost $54MM in payroll coming off the books this winter in the form of Carlos Gonzalez’s salary and over $33MM in “dead money” paid to players no longer on the roster, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes.  Between that large sum and another $24MM being freed up by other impending free agents, Colorado has plenty of cash to spend this winter, though some of those funds could go towards re-signing some of those players, perhaps Greg Holland and Jonathan Lucroy.  Saunders also wonders if the Rockies could look into extensions for Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu (free agents after 2018) or Nolan Arenado (after 2019).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Redmond, CarGo]]> 2017-10-08T17:26:40Z 2017-10-08T03:09:53Z Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond is drawing interest from two manager-needy teams, the Phillies and Tigers, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports. Redmond isn’t far removed from managing the Marlins, who went 155-207 on his watch from 2013-15. The former big league catcher played with the Marlins from 1998-2004, giving him familiarity with Tigers general manager Al Avila. The executive was in Miami’s front office for a portion of Redmond’s tenure as a player there.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Greg Holland Has Yet To Consider Future]]> 2017-10-06T22:43:36Z 2017-10-06T22:08:53Z
  • Greg Holland says he hasn’t yet thought at all about whether he’ll return to the Rockies, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. He is seemingly still unhappy with his appearance in the team’s Wild Card loss, which represented a disappointing end to an otherwise quality bounceback season. Holland didn’t quite max out his contract incentives — he needed to finish two more games to earn an extra $2MM — but did tack another $9MM on top of his $6MM base. His mutual option became a $15MM player option along the way, but the expectation remains that Holland will choose instead to enter the open market. While he wasn’t exactly back to his prior form as one of the game’s best relievers, Holland turned in 57 1/3 innings of 3.61 ERA ball with 11.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 while pacing the NL with 41 saves. He’ll soon turn 32 and hasn’t regained his prior fastball velocity since his return from Tommy John surgery, but Holland did sustain an outstanding 15.2% swinging-strike rate on the year and ought to draw quite a lot of interest on the open market.
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    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[How They Were Acquired: Colorado Rockies Wild Card Roster]]> 2017-10-05T00:42:37Z 2017-10-05T00:32:15Z Entering the 2016-17 offseason, the Rockies were viewed by many as an organization that could position itself for contention with the right moves. While the club’s biggest splash (the signing of Ian Desmond) hasn’t really panned out thus far, the addition of closer Greg Holland surely did, helping lead the club to an 87-win regular season.

    Of course, the bulk of the talent on hand in Colorado wasn’t just added last winter. The team’s two best players — Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado — are homegrown stars. Most of the other regulars have been around for some time and the rotation has largely come through the farm system. More recently, the Rox took advantage of the summer trade market to add two important pieces in catcher Jonathan Lucroy and reliever Pat Neshek. Here’s how the Rockies’ Wild Card roster was compiled by the front office, which is currently led by GM Jeff Bridich …

    [Related: Colorado Rockies Depth Chart and Payroll Outlook]

    The Rox will say goodbye to CarGo at the end of the year, along with Mark Reynolds, with Holland likely to decline his option and reenter the open market as well. But the team still has another year in which it can pair Blackmon and Arenado, retains most of its other key players, and can anticipate further strides from its youthful rotation. Plus, there are several intriguing prospects who may be ready to make full contributions at the game’s highest level as soon as 2018.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Who Will Win The World Series?]]> 2017-10-01T18:01:08Z 2017-10-01T18:01:08Z Aside from Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s pursuit of 60 home runs, the final day of Major League Baseball’s regular season won’t bring much drama. Colorado on Saturday became the last team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot and will be one of 10 clubs vying for World Series glory over the next month-plus. Here’s a rundown of the participants by league and seeding:

    National League

    1.) Los Angeles Dodgers (record: 103-58; most recent title: 1988): The Dodgers are loaded with stars and depth, which explains how they easily exceeded the 100-win mark despite enduring a 1-15 stretch from Aug. 26 through Sept. 11. They recovered from that nightmarish 16-game showing over the season’s final couple weeks and once again look formidable entering the postseason. While the Dodgers have scored the second-fewest runs of this year’s playoff teams, they’ve still managed to pace all NL clubs in position player fWAR. Plus, with a Clayton Kershaw-fronted rotation and a Kenley Jansen-led bullpen, their staff is atop the NL in pitching fWAR.

    2.) Washington Nationals (record: 97-64; most recent title: never): The Nationals cruised to an NL East crown this year despite losing center fielder Adam Eaton in April and having to go without arguably their best player, right fielder Bryce Harper, from mid-August until late September. Harper suffered a knee injury that looked like a season-ender when it happened, and while the missed time derailed his MVP chances, he’s back to lead a lineup that also includes other standouts in Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman. On the pitching side, it seems ace and Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer avoided a serious hamstring injury during his start on Saturday. If that’s the case, Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez could be the premier starting trio in the playoffs. They’ll hand off to a bullpen that has featured offered plenty of shaky performances in 2017, though midseason additions Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler have helped stabilize the Nationals’ relief corps.

    3.) Chicago Cubs (record: 92-69; most recent title: 2016): At this time a year ago, Chicago was putting the finishing touches on a 103-win regular season and preparing to enter the playoffs as the odds-on favorite. Ultimately, the Cubs lived up to the billing last fall and broke a 108-year title drought in an unforgettable World Series against the Indians. They haven’t been as sharp this year, owing in part to worse performances from their pitching and defense, but are still laden with talent. There’s no shortage of quality position players on hand, including reigning MVP Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, but the Cubs will need more from their staff – particularly Jake Arrieta, who’s dealing with a hamstring issue right now, and Jon Lester.

    4.) Arizona Diamondbacks (record: 92-69; most recent title: 2001): One of this year’s surprise teams, the Diamondbacks rode an underrated starting staff and a top 10 offense (by runs scored) to a playoff berth. Starters Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker have all turned in good to great seasons, which is why the D-backs’ starters lead the NL in fWAR. They also have a pair of offensive superstars in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, though he had a horrid September that likely ruined his MVP chances, and outfielder J.D. Martinez. The latter has been a revelation since coming over from the Tigers in a July trade, having smashed 29 home runs in 61 games and batted .304/.369/.746 in 255 plate appearances. If you’re looking for a potential Achilles’ heel, no playoff entrant has a worse wRC+ (84) against left-handed pitchers than Arizona. That doesn’t seem to bode well for a team that will face the Dodgers, whose southpaws include Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson, if it wins the NL wild-card game.

    5.) Colorado Rockies (record: 87-74; most recent title: never): Primarily on account of NL MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies are near the top of the league in runs scored, which is what you’d expect from a team that plays half its games at Coors Field. The Rockies managed to break a seven-year playoff skid this season largely because of an improved pitching staff that sits eighth in the majors in fWAR. Still, despite the presence of Jon Gray, their rotation doesn’t look particularly imposing relative to other playoff teams’ staffs. They do, however, feature a few highly capable relievers in Greg Holland, Chris Rusin, Pat Neshek and Jake McGee.

    (Poll link for app users)


    American League

    1.) Cleveland Indians (record: 101-60; most recent title: 1948): At 48-45, the reigning AL champions were a mere three games above .500 on July 18. Since then, they’ve run roughshod over the rest of the league en route to a 53-15 mark, including a historic 22-game winning streak from Aug. 22 to Sept. 14. The Indians lost a meaningless game to the White Sox on Saturday, but that was just their fourth defeat in the past 35 contests. Needless to say, they’re heading into the playoffs on a roll. As you’d expect, Cleveland’s roster is chock-full of excellence. MVP hopeful Jose Ramirez and all-world shortstop Francisco Lindor are at the helm of a talent-rich offense, one that supports what could be an all-time great pitching staff from top to bottom. Ace/Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber, righty Carlos Carrasco and super reliever Andrew Miller, one of the faces of last year’s postseason, deservedly grab the most headlines, but good luck finding any weak links among the other pitchers the Tribe will use in the playoffs.

    2.) Houston Astros (record: 100-61; most recent title: never): With a league-high 892 runs and a 121 wRC+, it’s a wonder how anyone gets the Astros out. Much of the damage has come from AL MVP front-runner Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the latter of whom missed significant time earlier this season, but ancillary pieces such as Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman, Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel have all been no worse than very good at the plate. And then there’s the one-two pitching punch of recently acquired ace Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, not to mention a deep starting staff/bullpen behind them. If there’s one big concern here, it’s that Houston may be the worst defensive team in the playoffs.

    3.) Boston Red Sox (record: 93-68; most recent title: 2013): This year’s Red Sox have deviated from past Boston teams that used the likes of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to pound opponents into submission. In fact, this is the first playoff-bound Red Sox club since 1995 to qualify for the postseason without scoring at least 800 runs. Nevertheless, they have several especially well-rounded position players (Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and the banged-up Dustin Pedroia, to name a few) who have done enough in the field to make Boston an elite defensive outfit. That defense supports the AL’s foremost southpaw, Chris Sale, and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston is entering the playoffs with some concerns in its rotation, though, including the recent struggles of Sale and the yearlong issues 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello has had. Fortunately for the Sox, starter Drew Pomeranz quelled some late-season concerns with an encouraging start against the Astros on Saturday.

    4.) New York Yankees (record: 90-71; most recent title: 2009): Baby Bombers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have more than lived up to the hype this season, combining for 85 home runs and 11.7 fWAR in 1,203 PAs. Fifty-one of those long balls have come from Judge, an OPS machine and an AL Rookie of the Year shoo-in whose 8.2 fWAR leads the majors. The rest of the Yankees’ offense isn’t exactly subpar, either, as a laundry list of their other hitters have notched above-average seasons at the plate. And New York’s pitching staff could be built for October, with an incredibly strong bullpen and a rotation that features perhaps the AL’s third-best starter, Luis Severino. One of the major questions regarding the Yankees is which versions of Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka will show up in the postseason – if the team gets by the wild-card game, that is. Gray allowed between four and six earned runs in three of five September starts, while Tanaka was a mixed bag throughout the regular season. He did conclude the slate with a seven-inning, 15-K shutout against the Blue Jays on Friday, though.

    5.) Minnesota Twins (record: 84-77; most recent title: 1991): In terms of teams, there probably hasn’t been a better story during the regular season than the Twins, who were 103-game losers and owners of the majors’ worst record a year ago. Adding to the improbability of their Cinderella run to the playoffs, the Twins were sellers at this year’s trade deadline, when they dealt starter Jaime Garcia to their wild-card opponent, the Yankees, and Kintzler to the Nationals. However, Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer & Co. were undeterred in the face of those deals and the late-summer absence of slugging third baseman Miguel Sano, who missed over a month with a left shin injury but just returned this week. Given its relatively underwhelming pitching staff, Minnesota is obviously a long shot to claim its first World Series in 26 years. For now, the Twins are focused on the Yankees, who have historically owned Minnesota in the playoffs. But New York’s past triumphs came during series. The wild-card round is a one-off, increasing the odds of an upset. The Twins’ No. 1 starter, Ervin Santana, allowed two or fewer runs in 20 of 33 starts during the regular season. If he’s that stingy against the Yankees on Tuesday – an admittedly tall order – an upset could be in the offing.

    (Poll link for app users)


    And now for the most important question (poll link for app users)…

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Jonathan Lucroy Still Likely To Land Multi-Year Deal]]> 2017-09-24T23:25:13Z 2017-09-24T22:46:59Z
  • After playing under an extremely team-friendly contract for the last six seasons, Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy is heading into free agency on a down note, having batted just  .258/.328/.353 this season (although it’s perhaps worth noting he’s posted a .390 OBP since heading to Denver in late July). Still, Lucroy is only 31 and will likely get a multi-year deal, given his track record and his reputation for terrific work behind the plate. “He’s a solid receiver and he handles a pitching staff well. Those are the two most important things,” a scout tells Cafardo. “The offense is baffling because he’s always been one of the best at his position. You have to take the leap that part will come back.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Chatwood Reclaims Rotation Spot]]> 2017-09-18T17:56:38Z 2017-09-18T17:52:56Z
  • Right-hander Tyler Chatwood tells Nick Groke of the Denver Post that he wasn’t pleased when the Rockies demoted him to a relief role earlier this summer, but he used the frustration as motivation to reclaim his rotation spot. The 27-year-old acknowledged that his mechanics had been off, specifically when it comes to his two-seam fastball — his best pitch. Chatwood made clear that he views himself as a starting pitcher, which is notable for an impending free agent that looks to be finishing the season strongly. He’s allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings since moving back into the rotation and has an overall 1.54 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 60 percent ground-ball rate over his past nine appearances (23 1/3 innings).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ian Desmond Struggling In Year 1 Of Contract]]> 2017-09-17T16:54:46Z 2017-09-17T16:54:46Z Rockies outfielder/first baseman Ian Desmond has shown troubling signings in the first season of a five-year, $70MM contract, Manny Randhawa of notes. Along with a .273/.319/.367 batting line that’s 35 percent worse than league average (per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric), Desmond’s groundball rate and exit velocity have trended in the wrong direction. His 63.1 percent grounder mark is nearly 12 percent worse than his yearly average and ranks last among hitters with at least 300 PAs. At the same time, Desmond’s exit velo has dropped from 90.5 mph last season to 87.4 mph this year. But health issues have likely contributed to Desmond’s drop-off, as the soon-to-be 32-year-old has been on the disabled list three different times. Indeed, Desmond told Randhawa that the injuries – including the fractured left hand he suffered in spring training – have made it difficult for him to establish himself this season. Based on his track record, Desmond expects to return to form. “Line drives and hard contact. For me, that’s my game,” Desmond said. “I’ve got to utilize my speed, and I think there’s complete validity in hitting the ball in the air and launch angle and all that stuff, but at the same time, my swing and the results I’ve been able to produce over the years is plenty for me. And I think that game plays anywhere. The thing is just a matter of getting the swings off and timing.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2018 Vesting Options Update]]> 2017-09-14T17:10:09Z 2017-09-14T17:10:09Z We previously checked in on the vesting option scenarios playing out around the game. In the interim, though, we learned of a previously unreported clause and also gathered quite a bit more information about which options will and will not vest.

    Here’s where things stand with just two weeks to go:

    Already Vested

    • Greg Holland: It didn’t take long for the Rockies closer to finish thirty games, which triggered a clause that turned his $10MM mutual option into a $15MM player option. All indications are that Holland will spurn that payday (and the qualifying offer that will surely follow in close succession) to test the open market, but it affords him injury protection the rest of the way. Holland has already earned $9MM in bonus money. With six more games finished over the final two weeks of the season, he’d tack on another $2MM.
    • Gio Gonzalez: After topping 180 frames in his most recent start, Gonzalez is now under contract for 2018 at $12MM. While he has hit a bit of a wall of late, that still looks like quite an appealing price for a pitcher that has worked to a 2.68 ERA on the year.

    Open Questions

    • Ian Kinsler: It was learned recently that Kinsler’s 2018 option actually has a somewhat convoluted vesting provision. He’s guaranteed to earn $11MM upon reaching 600 plate appearances. And if he takes home another Gold Glove award, he’ll earn another $1MM in 2018. The option is going to be picked up regardless, but the 35-year-old can make things official if he strides to the plate 49 more times between now and the end of the season. He’ll likely get there if he plays more or less every day over the next two weeks.

    Will Not Vest

    • Ricky Nolasco: It’s still theoretically possible that Nolasco can reach the 202 1/3 innings he needs to transform a $13MM club option into a player option, but with over forty to go that’s just not happening as a practical matter. Instead, he’ll likely receive a $1MM buyout on the option.
    • Matt Cain: Cain is even more certain to receive a buyout; he’ll get a cool $7.5MM when the Giants say no to the alternative of paying $14MM more to keep him for another season. The veteran has compiled 119 1/3 innings of 5.66 ERA ball to this point, far shy of the volume or quality needed for that option to come into play. (It would have vested at 200 frames.)
    • Hisashi Iwakuma: Though he needed only 125 innings for his $15MM vesting provision to be triggered, Iwakuma has managed just 31 to date and is still on the DL. Instead, the M’s will likely pay him a $1MM buyout rather than picking up his option at $10MM.
    • Andre Ethier: Though he made it back from the DL, it was far too late for Ethier to lay claim to a $17.5MM salary for 2017. Since it’s impossible for him to make it to 550 plate appearances, he’ll instead receive a $2.5MM buyout when the Dodgers all but certainly decline the club option.
    • Matt Garza: Garza will be controllable via a $5MM club option. He was not able to reach 110 total starts from 2014-17, so his option did not vest at $13MM. But he also did not miss 130 or more days of action on the DL this year, so he avoided a provision that would’ve left the Brewers with a $1MM option for 2018.
    • J.J. Hardy: Also now back from the DL, Hardy returned far too late to reach the 600 plate appearances he’d have needed for a $14MM club option to become guaranteed. Instead, he’s destined to receive a $2MM buyout from the O’s this fall.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jonathan Lucroy Interested In Returning To Rockies]]> 2017-09-13T15:42:21Z 2017-09-13T15:42:21Z Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy, acquired just six weeks ago at the deadline, has fit in well with his new team, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. With the open market beckoning at season’s end, Lucroy says he’d “absolutely” have interest in re-joining the organization as a free agent.

    The 31-year-old Lucroy noted that he’s not yet thinking in earnest about his next contract. But he also emphasized that he intends to consider quite a bit more than salary in making his choice. “As a free agent, you look at a lot of things,” he tells Saunders. “I look at things even more than money. I want to know what teams are going to be in there. …  I want to contribute to a playoff team.”

    Lucroy has turned things around at the plate somewhat after a rough stretch to open the year with the Rangers. He’s batting .274/.388/.400 through 116 plate appearances in Colorado, which equates to roughly league-average production when ballpark effects are taken into account. While the power hasn’t quite come around, Lucroy has recorded more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) since changing uniforms.

    It seems Lucroy has had an even greater impact with the catching gear on. Manager Bud Black and members of the pitching staff credit his overall impact as a defender and leader behind the plate. Lucroy has also shown much-improved framing numbers, though it’s still quite a small sample and he remains below-average in an area he once excelled.

    Understandably, neither Lucroy nor the Rockies are thinking too hard about the future at the moment. The club is busy fending off challengers to its hold on the second National League Wild Card slot, though it remains in solid position with just over two weeks left in the regular season. Like Lucroy, GM Jeff Bridich says the team isn’t “focused on that right now,” but also expressed satisfaction with the veteran backstop.

    When he does hit free agency, Lucroy figures to represent an interesting player to watch. Entering the year, it seemed possible he’d challenge for a five-year contract of the sort that Russell Martin landed a few years back with the Blue Jays. Expectations have certainly trended down, though Lucroy still figures to command a solid, multi-year deal. He’ll face market competition from players such as Welington Castillo and Alex Avila.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Acquire Jon Keller To Complete Miguel Castro Trade]]> 2017-09-07T17:09:47Z 2017-09-07T17:09:47Z The Rockies have acquired minor-league righty Jon Keller from the Orioles, per an official announcement. He’ll become the player to be named later in the April swap that sent right-hander Miguel Castro to Baltimore.

    Keller, 25, has yet to move past the Double-A level through five seasons in the minors. Though he has had some intriguing moments at times in the lower minors, he has stalled out with command issues at Bowie. Over 53 total frames there since 2015, Keller owns a 7.13 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 51 walks.

    Meanwhile, Castro — once seen as an intriguing prospect — has produced for the O’s this year. The 22-year-old carries a 2.65 ERA through 54 1/3 innings spread over 33 appearances. Those innings alone make the deal worthwhile and Castro won’t reach arbitration eligibility until at least 2020.

    Of course, while he’s averaging 96 mph with his fastball and generating swings and misses at a solid 10.1% rate, Castro is also averaging just 4.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 on the year. There’s little chance that he will sustain his current .201 BABIP moving forward, so he’ll need to find a way to put away big league hitters to keep his earned run average anywhere near its current levels.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[David Dahl Won't Swing Bat Again Until December]]> 2017-09-03T03:27:56Z 2017-09-03T03:27:56Z The Padres fired hitting coach Alan Zinter on Friday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Zinter lasted less than two seasons in the position, having taken the job in November 2015. The Padres’ offense ranked toward the bottom of the majors during Zinter’s run, but he didn’t exactly have a world of proven talent at his disposal. Manager Andy Green explained to Lin that he’s seeking a “different voice” for the role. Meanwhile, GM A.J. Preller told AJ Cassavell of that the Padres will begin searching for a successor immediately, but he indicated there’s no rush to hire a replacement (Twitter link).

    Here’s more from the National League:

    • The Brewers’ rotation was rife with question marks entering the season, but it now appears the surprise contenders have at least three legitimate building blocks in Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observes. The emergence of that cost-controlled trio has been especially important to a team that’s not able to spend big on free agents, and Haudricourt points out that the Brewers may even have a couple more promising young starters on hand (Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader). It’s possible they’ll go into 2018 with those five comprising their rotation, Haudricourt notes.
    • Rockies outfielder David Dahl is resigned to the fact that he won’t be able to contribute this year, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Dahl hasn’t appeared in a major league game this season, and he hasn’t played in a minor league contest since July 31, thanks to the rib injury he suffered during spring training. Now, Dahl doesn’t expect to swing a bat again until December, according to Saunders. “The thing I really need is rest, to let it heal completely, because every time I would start swinging, I would start feeling it again,” said the 23-year-old Dahl, who excited the Rockies last season with a .315/.359/.500 batting line in a 237-plate appearance rookie campaign.
    • A partial UCL tear in Wei-Yin Chen’s left elbow has kept him from taking the mound since May 1, but he’ll return to the Marlins in the coming days, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. While Chen will finish 2017 as a reliever, the Marlins expect to slot him back into their rotation next season. After this fall’s World Series, Chen will be able to opt out of the remaining three years and $52MM left on the five-year, $80MM contract he signed with the Fish in January 2016. That’s obviously not going to happen, though, as the ex-Oriole has struggled with injuries and turned in mediocre results during his two years in Miami.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Holland Still Planning To Opt Out At Season's End]]> 2017-08-31T17:40:07Z 2017-08-31T16:19:45Z
  • Even with his recent struggles, Rockies closer Greg Holland still plans to decline his $15MM player option at season’s end in order to retest the free agent market. Holland looked unhittable for the season’s first two months before showing some red flags in June and July (as Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron recently pointed out). Those troublesome trends have caught up to Holland in August, as he’s been torched for 14 runs on 14 hits (four homers) and six walks with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings this month.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies To "Navigate" Ninth Inning For Now]]> 2017-08-27T19:32:33Z 2017-08-27T19:32:33Z
  • Rockies manager Bud Black gave slumping closer Greg Holland a vote of confidence earlier this week, but after another rough outing Saturday, his hold on the ninth-inning job seems weaker. Black told reporters, including Thomas Harding of, on Sunday that the Rockies will “navigate” the ninth while Holland works to fix his slider and “simplify some things when it comes to basic pitching mechanics.” Holland allowed two earned runs in a third of an inning Saturday, the fifth time in 10 appearances this month that he has yielded multiple ER. His ERA is now up to 4.05 after sitting at 1.56 on Aug. 4, and failing to turn things around over the next several weeks would seemingly increase the likelihood of Holland exercising his $15MM player option for 2018 in the offseason.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Carlos Gonzalez On Rockies' Offseason Extension Offer]]> 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z
  • While the Rockies did offer outfielder Carlos Gonzalez a contract extension during the offseason, the reported four-year term is “not true,” according to the player. “They offered me an extension, but it was not a four-year deal,” Gonzalez told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “I was looking for something bigger, for more years.” Without knowing the details of the offer, it’s tough to say whether Gonzalez erred to a significant degree in declining it. Regardless, it’s clear his stock has tanked thanks to an uncharacteristically poor year – one likely to be his last in Colorado, Saunders notes. Known for his bat, the 31-year-old CarGo has hit a meek .240/.308/.359 in 432 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Holland, Bullpen, CarGo]]> 2017-08-25T15:24:20Z 2017-08-25T15:24:20Z Despite Greg Holland’s recent struggles — he’s allowed 12 earned runs in five innings, en route to three blown saves — manager Bud Black intends to keep him in the closer’s role, as Thomas Harding of writes. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him, and he’s going through a bit of a tough stretch as far as making pitches,” said Black. The skipper suggests that Holland has been “one strike away” from escaping trouble and sealing down a victory in each of his three blown saves. Holland was indeed utterly dominant for much of the season, though it’s worth wondering if he’s experiencing at least some degree of fatigue in the late stages of his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. Holland has a $15MM player option that seemed like a veritable lock to be rejected a few weeks ago. And while it still seems likely to me that he’ll opt to reenter the open market, the recent struggles at least slightly open the door for a possible change of course.

    A couple more notes on the Rox…

    • Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron takes a more analytical look at Holland’s woes and points out that his struggles are hardly isolated to the month of August. Rather, Holland has actually struggled since June 1, beginning with a dip in velocity and a spike in walks. While he’s since regained some of the velo, Holland’s command within the zone has completely eroded, as he’s left 10 percent of the fastballs he’s thrown this month directly down the heart of the plate (in addition to several other poorly placed pitches). More problematic for the Rockies, Cameron concludes, is that several of their other relievers (e.g. Jake McGee, Adam Ottavino) are also struggling, leaving Black with few palatable options other than hoping that Holland can return to form.
    • The Rockies did indeed offer Carlos Gonzalez a contract extension this spring, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes in his latest Rockies Mailbag, but CarGo spurned their offer with free agency just six months away. It now looks as if the Rox dodged a significant bullet, as Gonzalez has batted just .240/.308/.360 and, unfathomably, played at an overall clip that is two wins below replacement level (-2.0 fWAR, -1.7 rWAR). Saunders notes that Gonzalez will quite likely be forced to settle for a short-term deal to rebuild his value this winter — a one-year deal seems quite likely — and he goes on to write that he’s “pretty certain” that CarGo will be signing elsewhere in free agency. Saunders’ column is full of Rockies topics, ranging from playoff odds to some promising young players that have had disappointing 2017 campaigns, so Rox fans will want to check it out in full.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Desmond Beginning Rehab Assignment, Could Play SS Upon Return]]> 2017-08-24T14:07:08Z 2017-08-24T14:00:06Z
  • Rockies infielder Ian Desmond will begin a minor league rehab assignment today, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. He’ll likely play four games before being activated from the disabled list on Monday (assuming all goes well), but more interesting than that is the fact that Saunders adds that Desmond could play shortstop upon his return from the DL. Desmond had a “high-intensity” workout on Wednesday that included taking grounders and performing fielding drills at his natural position. Manager Bud Black didn’t commit to the notion that Desmond would oust the struggling Trevor Story at short, but Saunders notes that Desmond could see time at first base, shortstop and in left field upon returning.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Pedro Gonzalez To Complete Jonathan Lucroy Trade]]> 2017-08-24T00:23:53Z 2017-08-24T00:17:52Z The Rangers announced that they’ve acquired minor league outfielder Pedro Gonzalez from the Rockies as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy to Colorado.

    Gonzalez, 19, ranked as the Rockies’ No. 14 prospect per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen rated him as highly as fourth among Colorado farmhands on his updated summer ranking of Rockies prospects.

    Callis and Mayo note that Gonzalez has the type of power that scouts can dream on, noting that he has “considerable” bat speed and has grown three inches and added 15 pounds of muscle since signing as a 16-year-old. Longenhagen calls his upside “immense,” though he notes that strikeouts are an issue for the shortstop-turned-outfielder.’s report notes that while he has the present range for center field thanks to improved speed, he could be destined to play a corner in the bigs.

    Through 209 plate appearances, Gonzalez is batting an excellent .321/.388/.519 with three homers, 16 doubles and six triples against older competition. He’s swiped 11 bases in 17 tries on the season as well. He’ll report to the team’s short-season Class-A affiliate in the Northwest League, per the Rangers’ announcement.

    Gonzalez looks to be a nice add to the Rangers’ farm system, even if he’s a ways from the Majors and obviously won’t eliminate the sting of surrendering Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Ryan Cordell to acquire Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress in the first place.

    As for the Rockies, they have to be rather pleased with the way the trade has played out to date, as through his first 16 games in Colorado, Lucroy has slashed a resurgent .313/.443/.458. He’s yet to connect on his first Rockies homer, but he’s chipped in five doubles and a triple since joining his new club.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Greg Holland On Recent Struggles]]> 2017-08-23T13:49:20Z 2017-08-22T16:45:42Z
  • Struggling Rockies closer Greg Holland says he’s just not throwing enough “quality pitches,” as Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Manager Bud Black suggested there’s no cause for broader concern, while Holland noted that he has “been getting beat with mistakes in the middle of the plate.” The veteran righty was carrying a 1.56 ERA entering play on August 6th, but that number has more than doubled over his last five appearances. Assuming he can figure things out, Holland figures to be a key part of the Rockies’ hopeful run to and through October — and quite an interesting free agent to watch once the season ends.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jonathan Lucroy Discusses Impending Free Agency]]> 2017-08-20T17:01:04Z 2017-08-20T17:01:04Z
  • Set to become a free agent in the offseason, Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy explained to Adam McCalvy of what an ideal situation for him would look like going forward.  “I’m hoping to be somewhere where I can contribute on an everyday basis and help the team win, where I can go out and be depended on to do the job,” Lucroy said. “That’s what I’m looking for. Whether that is here [with the Rockies] or somewhere else, I don’t know what’s going to happen with all that. I do love it here, though. I like it a lot. It’s a great place.” Lucroy, whom the Rockies acquired from the Rangers last month, posted a meager .635 OPS in 306 plate appearances with Texas this year but has hit a much-improved .333/.473/.452 in 51 PAs with his new club. The onetime pitch-framing demigod’s newfound struggles in that department have continued with the Rockies, however, according to Baseball Prospectus.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Rockies Option Jeff Hoffman]]> 2017-08-19T17:18:17Z 2017-08-19T17:18:17Z
  • The Rockies have announced that they’ve optioned righty Jeff Hoffman and third baseman Ryan McMahon to Triple-A Albuquerque. Taking their places on the active roster are righty Scott Oberg and outfielder Mike Tauchman. The Rockies say they’re optioning Hoffman in order to give him a bit of rest, as’s Max Gelman notes. Hoffman has struggled in the second half, with a 7.13 ERA and just 5.9 K/9, and his velocity has been inconsistent of late. “That’s a sign to us. ’Hey, is your arm fine?’” says pitching coach Steve Foster. “’Yeah, I feel great. I’m healthy.’ OK, well then let’s give you a little break.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Sam Moll]]> 2017-08-16T20:05:48Z 2017-08-16T17:02:27Z The Athletics have acquired lefty Sam Moll from the Rockies, per an announcement from the Colorado organization. Cash considerations or a player to be named later will make up the return for Moll, who had been designated for assignment recently.

    Moll, a 2013 third-rounder, showed enough to earn a 40-man spot but had yet to receive a major league promotion. He carries a 4.18 ERA over 47 1/3 innings on the year at Triple-A, with 7.4 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 along with a healthy 50.3% groundball rate.

    Those numbers don’t tell the full story on Moll, who was generally regarded as one of the organization’s top thirty or better prospects entering the season. He brings mid-nineties heat from the left side with a slider and even a change that can be effective at times.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Bettis, Granderson, Familia, Baker, Roberts, Davis]]> 2017-08-15T03:47:08Z 2017-08-15T03:47:08Z Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis made his return to the major league hill tonight after a long road back following treatment for testicular cancer. To call it a success would be an understatement: Bettis, 28, scattered six hits over seven scoreless frames. MLBTR congratulates him on an inspiring return to the game’s highest level of competition.

    Here’s more from the National League:

    • While there has been at least some chatter surrounding the idea that the Nationals could have interest in Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, that’s not the case, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (via Twitter). While the Nats’ original starting outfield trio is shelved on the DL, it seems the organization feels good enough about the health outlook to forego pursuit of a player such as Granderson. The hope remains that both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth will be able to return in time to gear up for the postseason, with a variety of other players — including Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, and just-acquired veteran Howie Kendrick — slated to cover for the longstanding absence of Adam Eaton, who is not expected to play again this year.
    • Mets closer Jeurys Familia is set to begin a rehab assignment tomorrow, as James Wagner of the New York Times reports on Twitter. Familia will open in the Gulf Coast League as he begins to move back toward the majors following surgery for a blood clot in his shoulder. It’s obviously too late for his return to impact the Mets’ long-lost hopes of contending, but the 27-year-old will still presumably be aiming to get some work in late this year to set the stage for a rebound in 2018. The coming campaign will be his final year of arbitration control; with only 9 1/3 innings on his ledger to date in 2017, Familia will likely only be able to earn a relatively modest raise on his $7.425MM salary.
    • While the Nationals and Dodgers hold the two best records in the National League, each team’s manager — Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts, respectively — currently lack long-term job security. In Baker’s case, per Janes, it seems unlikely that his future will be addressed until after the season (when his contract will expire), though it seems the general expectation in the organization remains that something will be worked out. There’s a similar tone with regard to Roberts, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. Roberts says he’s not thinking about a new deal in the middle of the year, but did say he hopes to continue his “dream job” beyond his current term (the three-year deal runs through 2018 and includes a club option for one more season).
    • Shaikin also takes a look in at the interesting transition to the mound currently being attempted by Ike Davis and the Dodgers. The former Mets first baseman — and one-time Arizona State closer — has already earned plaudits for his outstanding attitude in heading down to Rookie ball, and there are some reasons to think he could have a new future in the game at thirty years of age. “The early reviews have been really good,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.