The Colorado Rockies strategy, will it work?

In the midst of this trend in major league baseball that has seen teams spending big on relief help, more significantly middle relief help, the guys who provide the bridge between the starter and the closer are now being valued at a high rate, and looking at it the team that best represents that is the Colorado Rockies a team that achieved success this past year on the back of two great hitters and consistently good performances out of the majority of their pitching staff, no Cy Young candidates but a lot of career years.

They have now committed upwards of 100 mil for 3 years of Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw, more exactly 106 million dollars, which means those 3 will make a combined 35.3 per year over the next 3 years, and that’s ignoring any options included in Wade’s contract, vesting option, needs to finish 30 games in 2020, if not then is a mutual option with a 1 mil buyout, McGee has a vesting/club option for a possible fourth year at 9 mil.

A fact that should be noted, Wade is 32, Jake is 31, Shaw is 30, there is a lot of IP among those 3.

Talking specifically about the Wade Davis sign, it’s an interesting case, he had a season where he pitched in relief in 12, but after it, he started games for the Royals his first year it did not go well, turned back to relief in 2014, and is now coming off 4 years of dominance as a reliever, there are some concerns to be had for instance this is his Br WAR during such time span

2014: 3.7

2015: 3.4

2016: 1.8

2017: 1.9

Part of that is regression to average you just cannot expect a 0.94 ERA like the one he had in 2015 over multiple years, the past 2 years he still has been dominant, an ERA of 1.87 and 2.30, but his peripherals aren’t as good.

3.38 FIP this past year, seemed to gain some of his K% back in 2017, His K%

2014: 39.1

2015: 31.1

2016: 26.7

2017: 32.6

Had a higher than usual BB%, the good news is that his SwSt% was at a career high this year, and through this 4-year run has remained steady which means he still has his best stuff. His SwSt% 

2014: 14.3

2015: 11.6

2016: 13.1

2017: 15.4

We’ll have to wait and see how Coors will affecf him, but he should be fine and wasn’t really overpaid, don’t read too much into the highest paid reliever ever per year, it’s a product of the market, if Jansen was a FA this year he’d have gotten more, Kimbrel will get more when he becomes a Free Agent, he is the highest paid, because he’s one of the best and clearly the best available this year, it’s virtually a three year contract, the vesting option doesn’t allow for the possibility of him staying against Colorado’s wishes, and the 1 mil buyout is virtually insignificant. So, all in all, I’m fine with the contract.

There is something i want to talk about, a silver lining in the awful Ian Desmond contract, after paying him 8 mil his first season, the deal is now frontloaded, he gets 22, 15, 15 and 8 over the next 4 years, plus a 2 million buyout in 2022.

Why does that matter, because it won’t handcuff a potential Arenado/Blackmon extension, possibly making it difficult to keep both, but at least one can stay.

The Jake McGee contract i would not have offered, his K% plummeted as the season progressed, the projection systems do not like him, and that deal will not look good, i’d rather sign 2-3 low key 1 year options at 3-5 mil.

Bryan Shaw, i can maybe understand, but also don’t love, signings 30-year-old middle relievers to multi-year deals is just not a good idea, it might work out once in a while, but most often than not you’ll regret it.

The Colorado Rockies right now if i had to say will they make the playoffs or not, i’d say probably not, their success is dependant on a lot of things that i’m not sure about, can their young pitchers take that next step, will these 3 relievers work out, beyond Blackmon and Arenado there’s no one that you can trust, who knows on Story, Tapia, and McMahon. Iannetta is ok, LeMahieu around league average, Desmond was a disaster his first year, you could easily see things going south.

Around 30-40/60-70 on the over/under, to make the postseason

Their offense right now isn’t remotely good enough to carry the team and the staff is basically a bunch of young starters, and experienced fastball heavy relievers, it can work but is that a model you want for your team?

To sum it up, Davis was great the past 4 years, last 2 some peripherals went down, results as well a bit, but the SwSt% was consistent which is a great sign for future performance, also the decline in the past 2 seasons, was from all time unsustainable level of great, to among the best of his era, so don’t read too much into that.

McGee and Shaw represent concepts i don’t agree with, prefer buying low 1-2 year contracts on guys looking to bounce back

As for Colorado as a whole, they could very well succeed but the offense is just ok, 2 great players and a lot of league average, the starters are, talented, but unpredictable and not very well established so it’s a bit of an incognite.

The relievers. I like Rusin, but Dunn, Davis, McGee and Shaw, two never pitched 81 games at Coors, McGee had some success but struggled his first year, and Dunn was bad in 2017 his first season in Colorado.


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