Colorado Rockies – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Tauchman Pushing For Roster Spot]]> 2018-03-18T01:31:14Z 2018-03-18T01:31:21Z
  • Rockies outfielder David Dahl is likely to begin the year in the minors, thus opening up a spot on Colorado’s bench for fellow outfielder Mike Tauchman, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post explains. The 27-year-old Tauchman brings minimal major league experience (32 plate appearances, all of which came last season), but he has performed well in the minors and could make more sense for a reserve role than Dahl, 23. While Dahl’s a former high-end prospect who impressed as a rookie two years ago, a rib injury kept him from the majors last season, and there’s no obvious path to playing time for him in Colorado at the moment. As such, he’s likely to begin the year as a full-time player at the Triple-A level.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Re-Sign Carlos Gonzalez]]> 2018-03-16T19:03:21Z 2018-03-16T19:00:49Z March 16:’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Gonzalez is actually guaranteed just $5MM on his deal with the Rox, though he can earn $3MM of incentives quite easily (Twitter link). Per Crasnick, Gonzalez will earn a $1MM bonus for accruing 125, 150 and 175 days of Major League service time this season. In other words, as long as he’s on an active roster or disabled list (be it the Rockies’ or another team) for that number of days, he’ll receive those bonuses. In effect, he’ll get that $3MM so long as he isn’t released.

    March 12: The club has announced the signing.

    March 9, 12:23pm: Gonzalez will be guaranteed $8MM on his deal with the Rockies, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link).

    9:44am: The Rockies are reportedly set to bring right fielder Carlos Gonzalez back to Denver. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the two sides are merely working through the final language details of the contract, and’s Jon Morosi adds that there’s an agreement “in principle” on a one-year pact. Heyman reported last night that the two sides were close to an agreement on a one-year deal. Gonzalez is represented by the Boras Corporation.

    Carlos Gonzalez | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    A reunion between the two sides has been reported to be a possibility for much of the offseason, but CarGo remained on the market well into Spring Training as he explored all opportunities. He’ll now return to the team with which he broke out as a star-caliber player back in 2010 and the team which he has thrice represented at the All-Star Game over the past nine seasons.

    Gonzalez, 32, picked a poor time to struggle through one of the worst seasons of his big league career. The slugger posted a .262/.339/.423 slash and 14 home runs in 2017 — his lowest total in a full season at any point in his career. While he rebounded in the season’s second half and finished out his 2017 campaign with a torrid .327/.401/.553 batting line in his final 227 plate appearances of the season, that apparently didn’t prove convincing enough to garner a multi-year deal on the open market. (Gonzalez did sport a ridiculous .401 BABIP during that turnaround.)

    He’ll now look to carry as much of that production as possible into a full season and rebuild his stock in an effort to land a longer-term pact next winter. Bryce Harper, of course, headlines the 2018-19 crop of free-agent outfielders, and CarGo will also face competition in the form of Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones and longtime teammate Charlie Blackmon.

    Gonzalez was one of baseball’s most feared hitters from 2010-13, when he batted .311/.370/.556 in nearly 2200 plate appearances with the Rockies. Since that time, he’s been more good than great, posting a collective .272/.332/.484 line, which translates to a 103 OPS+ after adjusting for Coors Field. To be fair, he’s turned in two fairly strong seasons — including a 40-homer 2015 campaign — against two weak seasons in that time, and his 2014 season was ruined by a knee injury that has not sent him back to the disabled list since.

    As far as 2018 goes, Gonzalez will likely supplant Gerardo Parra as the primary right fielder. His return will present Rockies brass with a similar outfield quandary to the one they faced last spring, as the team will now have Blackmon and Gonzalez as outfield regulars with Parra, Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and a (hopefully) healthier David Dahl all in the mix for the remaining outfield at-bats. It’s possible that Gonzalez could be platooned to an extent, and there’s previously been talk of him eventually getting some occasional looks at first base, where Desmond also has experience. Extra time at first base for Desmond could take some time away from top prospect Ryan McMahon, but McMahon also has experience at second base and third base, giving skipper Bud Black plenty of opportunities to get creative with his lineup.

    Regardless of how the team divides the playing time, the added depth should serve as a boon to the on-field product, and CarGo’s return should also go over well in the clubhouse. Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado recently lauded his longtime teammate in an interview with the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, and the Post’s Nick Groke tweeted this morning that the clubhouse seems energized by the news, with Blackmon stating that he “would love to have CarGo back.”

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[CarGo's Return Could Push McMahon To Minors]]> 2018-03-14T04:03:03Z 2018-03-14T02:14:16Z
  • Carlos Gonzalez’s return to the Rockies will lead to more time at first base for Ian Desmond, which clouds prospect Ryan McMahon’s role with the big league club, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. McMahon, who has had a strong Spring Training thus far, was perhaps in line to receive a fairly lengthy look at first but could instead be ticketed for Triple-A to get regular at-bats rather than occasional playing time in a limited role with the Rox. Manager Bud Black suggested to Saunders that the final two weeks of camp will be especially important for McMahon, as he’ll be facing higher-quality pitchers as teams begin to narrow their rosters. “That gives you a good gauge, the last couple of weeks, of what you are seeing,” said Black. “Not so much the first couple of weeks — for me.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Made Prior Offers To CarGo, Lucroy]]> 2018-03-10T21:13:18Z 2018-03-10T05:41:31Z
  • Three prominent players have reportedly agreed to terms in recent days, all settling for much less in dollars and years than had been expected. Reports also suggest that those players could have had greater earnings had they taken offers available previously. Though agent Scott Boras says Mike Moustakas never received a multi-year contract offer before returning to the Royals, two sources tell Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star that the Angels dangled a three-year pact in the range of $45MM. Meanwhile, the Rockies are said to have offered slugger Carlos Gonzalez an extension in the realm of three years and $45MM this time last year, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. And the Rox also were willing to go to three years, at a $21MM guarantee, to catcher Jonathan Lucroy earlier this winter, Nightengale adds on Twitter. (Lucroy is reportedly in agreement on a one-year deal with the Athletics, though terms are not yet known and the deal is not finalized.) Of course, in each case it’s easy to understand why the player in question might have elected against jumping at the reported opportunity at the point at which it was presented.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies “Close” To Deal With Carlos Gonzalez]]> 2018-03-09T03:49:41Z 2018-03-09T02:11:12Z The Rockies are “close” to reaching a deal to bring back free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). If finalized, the deal would be for a one year term, per the report.

    The possibility of a reunion has existed to some extent all winter, but whispers have picked up steam of late. His former teammates have pined for a return for the long-time Colorado star and GM Jeff Bridich has suggested all along it was at least a possibility.

    Of course, there have long been some practical reasons to think that Gonzalez’s time with the Rox would come to a close. Though the team did pursue an extension with him last winter, the current roster composition does not exactly scream out for a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder.

    At present, the Colorado outfield already features at least two lefty-hitting options in Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra. Two of the club’s most intriguing young outfielders, Raimel Tapia and David Dahl, also hit from the left side. While it has previously been suggested that Gonzalez could slide into first base, the Rockies have a talented left-handed-hitting youngster slated to see time there in Ryan McMahon.

    Notably, Gonzalez has struggled particularly against left-handed pitching in recent seasons. He has not posted even league-average production against southpaws in a given campaign since back in 2013.

    If the Rockies can figure out a way to spread the playing time in a sensible manner, there’s certainly still reason to hope that Gonzalez can produce at the plate. He limped to a .262/.339/.423 slash last year, with just 14 home runs in his 534 plate appearances. But he did carry a personal-best 10.5% walk rate and likely shouldn’t be counted out for at least a partial power recovery. Over the prior two seasons, he swatted 65 long balls and posted solidly above-average overall batting lines even after accounting for the boost from playing at Coors Field.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[CarGo In Contact With Multiple Clubs; Rox Still A Possibility]]> 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z
  • Heyman also writes that there’s still a chance the Rockies could bring Carlos Gonzalez back to Denver. The Rox have remained in touch with Gonzalez and Scott Boras, though Gonzalez is talking with “a couple” of clubs as he looks to find an offer to his liking. There hasn’t been much in the way of injuries to starting outfielders among contending clubs thus far in Spring Training, so no new opportunities for Gonzalez have really arisen.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Uehara, Lincecum, Senzatela, Hoffman, Kohn]]> 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z Reliever Koji Uehara says that he is open to considering offers from teams in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, as the Japan Times recently reported. That’s something of a reversal from the 42-year-old reliever, who had indicated he did not intend to play again in his homeland. After preparing for the MLB season, but finding interest scant, Uehara now says he has changed his mind and would consider pitching once again in the NPB. It’s at least a bit surprising that Uehara has not generated more pursuers among major-league clubs. He continued to produce declining results in 43 innings last year, finishing with a 3.98 ERA, but still ended with 10.5 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and generated a strong 15.8% swinging-strike rate.

    Here are a few more pitching notes from around the game:

    • While it’s clear the Rangers intend to utilize new pitching addition Tim Lincecum in the bullpen, just how he’ll be deployed isn’t yet clear. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram posted a video of the former ace discussing his new club. It seems that Lincecum is intrigued by the possibility of closing but is largely open to fitting in wherever the team prefers. “They see that,” Lincecum says of working in the 9th. “I feel like I could do that. I’ve done that in the Cape and at the college level. It’s going to be, obviously, different, but I feel like I could tap into that mentality.”
    • The Rockies elected this offseason to make a number of bullpen additions but not to pursue outside acquisitions for the rotation. That decision was no doubt as much about the team’s assessment of its internal options as it was about a need to maximize resources. In a pair of articles, here and here, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports on two key staff members. Antonio Senzatela is said to be hard at work on his secondary offerings, with a new change-up in the works alongside continuing work on a curve. Meanwhile, fellow young righty Jeff Hoffman dealing with a shoulder issue. There’s no indication its a serious injury, but Hoffman is still going to rest for at least a week or more before he resumes throwing. As things stand, the Rox may be lined up to utilize a five-man unit that does not include either of these hurlers, as the current Roster Resource depth chart projects, but both are important parts of the near-term and future picture in Colorado.
    • When the Twins brought in righty Michael Kohn last fall, the hope was that he could rebound from a rotator cuff problem and get his career back on track. Unfortunately, he’ll now require an absence of four to six months to recuperate from a “nerve issue,” per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). The 31-year-old Kohn has a 3.52 ERA in 115 career innings in the majors, though that has come with a 111:79 K/BB ratio. It’s hard to read much into his results last year, as they were mostly accumulated in the low minors, but Kohn was able to make it through 13 solid innings late in 2017, over which he racked up 18 strikeouts against just four walks while permitting two earned runs on eight hits.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Nolan Arenado Doesn’t Expect Rockies Extension This Season]]> 2018-03-04T18:22:10Z 2018-03-04T18:20:01Z The prospect of an extension between the Rockies and star third baseman Nolan Arenado doesn’t seem likely in the near future, as Arenado tells’s Thomas Harding (Twitter links).  “I don’t think anything is going to happen until after the season. We have a good team and our focus is on winning — as it should be,” Arenado said.  He also added “and that’s what everyone wants,” which could indicate that both he and the Rockies are content to table negotiations for the time being.

    There has been some inevitable speculation about Arenado’s future as he gets closer to free agency, and Colorado GM Jeff Bridich said in December that “there definitely are conversations that will happen” between the team and the player about a potential extension.  That said, there also isn’t yet any pressing need for talks between the two sides given that Arenado is controlled through the 2019 season.  The third baseman will earn $17.75MM in 2018 as per the terms of a two-year deal signed in January 2017 that covered two years of Arenado’s arbitration eligibility.  He is eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before hitting the open market in the 2019-20 offseason.

    The Rockies have historically shown a willingness to spend big to keep star players in-house, as evidenced by past extensions for Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Carlos Gonzalez.  It is worth noting that all of those deals were made during the tenure of former general manager Dan O’Dowd, though Bridich has certainly been behind his own share of hefty contracts (i.e. Ian Desmond, Wade Davis) in his time running Colorado’s front office.

    An Arenado extension certainly projects as the largest contract in franchise history given the third baseman’s durability, youth (he turns 27 in April) and outstanding play both offensively and defensively.  Given the huge money that would be involved in locking Arenado up, one can’t blame the Rockies for wanting one more season of information before fully exploring a $200MM+ deal.  The Rox also have Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu scheduled for free agency next winter, and re-signing either could be difficult if a huge future commitment has already been made to Arenado.

    From Arenado’s own perspective, he has already achieved enough financial security that he may not feel much urgency to complete a long-term deal.  He has already banked $5MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility, $29.5MM via that two-year agreement, and he’ll be in line for a salary worth $20MM in his final arb-eligible season.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Reynolds, Valaika, O’Malley, Dodgers]]> 2018-03-03T20:44:41Z 2018-03-03T20:44:41Z The Rockies “remain in contact” with free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds, Jon Morosi of tweets. Reynolds, who hit 30 homers for Colorado in 2017, is the best free-agent first baseman available on the market, and a reunion between the two has long seemed like a solid fit in theory. However, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently contacted Reynolds’ agent, Jeff Boris, who tells him that the Rockies haven’t made any type of offer to Reynolds this winter.  The 34-year-old carries a .274/.354/.471 slash line across two seasons with Colorado, but graded poorly among first baseman in quality of contact statistics like hard contact rate, average exit velocity and barrels per plate appearance last season.

    Other small news items out of the NL West…

    • In other Rockies news, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes that the team is in a bit of a bind following news of injuries to utilitymen Pat Valaika and Shawn O’Malley. Valaika is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with an oblique strain, while O’Malley is expected to be out 4-6 weeks due to a broken right hand that will require surgery, according to Groke. He also notes that Desmond is capable of playing multiple infield positions, while top prospect Ryan McMahon has experience at second and third base. Beyond that, Colorado’s best options are minor-leaguers Daniel Castro, Garrett Hampson and Brian Mundell, and none of those players are on the club’s 40-man roster.
    • The Dodgers aren’t in a rush to add a pitcher following the news that right-hander Tom Koehler could miss “extended time” with an anterior capsule strain. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register quotes president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who says that the team is “no more likely” to add a pitcher through trade or free agency in the wake of Koehler’s injury. “I don’t think it necessarily changes the thought process in terms of deals that made sense 3 days ago will still make sense,” says Friedman. “And I don’t think the opposite is true. I don’t think something is going to make more sense right now than it did 3 days ago.” The Dodgers reportedly like their in-house options and the depth they have in spring training camp.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Samardzija, Padres, Rockies]]> 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z Giants righty Jeff Samardzija held an interesting chat with’s Jon Morosi. In large part, it’s a lengthy discussion of Samardzija’s multi-sport background and decision to pursue baseball professionally — which, he says, was driven more by interest than any considerations of the health implications of playing in the NFL. The San Francisco hurler likens the game of baseball to a “big painting you put together” and hints he could still have some masterpieces in his brush. He also suggests he’s not yet thinking about the end: “Where’s the end of the wick? Who knows? Let’s find out. That’s the fun of it all.”

    More from the NL West:

    • As the Padres consider roster options, the club is looking to squeeze some added utility out of certain players. Infielder Christian Villanueva, in particular, will be tried out as a backup option at short, per’s AJ Cassavell (via Twitter). The 26-year-old, who’s out of options, has played all of 14 innings at short as a professional. But after he posted a .296/.369/.528 slash at Triple-A last year, the Pads seem to be looking for ways to hang onto Villanueva.
    • In other Padres news, the organization is seeing promising signs from injured hurlers Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, per Cassavell. The Tommy John recoverees are certainly interesting players to watch this spring, as both have shown their talent at times in the past. Erlin, it’s worth noting, is well ahead of Rea in the rehab process, though both are well over a year removed from their procedures. Both are part of a long list of pitching possibilities in Padres camp, as reflected in the current organizational depth chart over at Roster Resource.
    • It seems one area of focus this spring for the Rockies is finding a way to swipe a few more bags. As Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports, the club is particularly interested to see whether the fleet-footed Raimel Tapia can learn to translate his speed into stolen bases. Just as interesting as the efforts on the bases, it seems there’s at least some hope that Tapia could hold down a spot at the top of the lineup. That seems a bit of a questionable fit, as the young outfielder doesn’t walk much and is therefore quite reliant upon maintaining a lofty batting average on balls in play to get on base. While lineup construction is hardly the most consequential issue facing the Rox, it seems worth noting that second baseman DJ LeMahieu has led the club in OBP in each of the past two seasons and would seem to be a sensible fit in the leadoff spot.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Pomeranz, Frazier, Ellsbury, Parra, Norris, Koehler]]> 2018-03-02T23:18:54Z 2018-03-02T23:18:54Z Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz exited today’s Grapefruit League start with tightness in his left forearm, though he told reporters after the game that he’s not concerned about the possibility of a serious injury (link via’s Jen McCaffrey). Obviously, caution is called for all the more at this stage of spring, so it’d be wise not to leap to any conclusions — particularly given Pomeranz’s comments. The 29-year-old, who is coming off of back-to-back seasons in which he posted a 3.32 ERA in over 170 frames, is a key piece of the Boston rotation. He’ll be further evaluated on Saturday.

    Here’s the latest on the health front from around the game …

    • The division-rival Yankees are also facing some injury issues, as’s Bryan Hoch was among those to report (Twitter links). Of particular concern is prospect Clint Frazier, who required an MRI because he is still not recovering as hoped from a concussion. Surely the organization will exercise quite a lot of caution with the talented young player. Meanwhile, fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been diagnosed with a mild oblique strain. There’s no indication of just how limiting the injury will be — and for good reason, as oblique problems rarely seem to progress in a predictable manner. Fortunately for the Bronx Bombers, there are still four quality players ahead of this duo on the outfield depth chart.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra, who is recovering from hamate surgery on his right hand, took batting practice on Friday, tweets Nick Groke of the Denver Post. He’s slated to face live pitching for the first time since the operation on Monday, and manager Bud Black estimated that Parra could be in a game in eight to nine days, which should still give him ample time to ramp up for the regular season. It remains to be seen just how the Rox will distribute playing time in the outfield, though Parra seems to be slated for rather extensive action so long as he remains on an upward trajectory.
    • An injury forced newly signed Cardinals right-hander Bud Norris out of today’s spot start, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Norris, filling in for Carlos Martinez (who had a personal matter to attend to, per the report), exited due to hamstring spasms after allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. At this point, it’s not clear whether this issue is simply an early-spring blip or something that will cause some problems for the hurler, who recently inked a one-year, $3MM deal to join the St. Louis organization.
    • If there’s a hurler whose injury sparks some immediate cause for concern, it may be Dodgers righty Tom Koehler. It was announced he’d require an MRI on his shoulder not long after he was pulled in the middle of an inning, as’s Ken Gurnick was among those to tweet. Shoulder bursitis caused problems for Koehler last year, when he struggled to a 6.69 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. The Dodgers have planned to move the long-time starter into a full-time relief role after promising him $2MM for the 2018 season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Upton, Archer, Realmuto, Holland, Lynn]]> 2018-03-02T17:21:47Z 2018-03-02T06:09:17Z Over at The Athletic, Pedro Moura held a fascinating conversation with Angels slugger Justin Upton. (Subscription link.) There’s plenty of interest in the chat, though Upton’s comments on free agency are of particular interest and relevance. The thrust of his sentiment is that teams seem to be looking to score free-agent value rather than identifying and “courting” players they actively wish to employ. “Teams don’t value players as people anymore,” says Upton. “They value them as a number on a sheet of paper.”

    Of course, Upton forewent a chance at returning to the open market by agreeing to a deal with an organization he was comfortable with. Here’s the latest on the unusually high number of quality free agents still not in camp and other market notes:

    • The likelihood remains that the Rays will enter the season with Chris Archer on the staff, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports among other notes. That’s due in no small part to the team’s lofty asking price; one rival executive suggests that the Tampa Bay front office “wanted our whole farm system” to move Archer. The club has given that impression publicly, too. Senior VP of baseball ops Chaim Bloom reiterated that the expectation is to hang onto Archer and others in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). He added that the internal expectation is that it will begin to reap the rewards of an effort over recent years to bolster the farm depth while still trying to compete at the MLB level.
    • It has remained interesting to consider whether the Nationals might pry catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. But there isn’t much recent indication of serious talks, and Heyman indicates that’s due to what seems to be a big gulf in the sides’ valuations. Washington won’t give top prospects Victor Robles and Juan Soto, per the report; while the club might part with young infielder Carter Kieboom or outfielder Michael Taylor, it seems Miami was asking for too much additional talent to be included in a package.
    • The outfield market has certainly delivered some surprises thus far. Heyman says Jarrod Dyson spurned an early two-year, $14MM offer, though a source tells MLBTR that is not accurate. Dyson ultimately signed for $7.5MM with the Diamondbacks. It remains to be seen what’ll happen with players such as Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Jay, each of whom were rated among the fifty best free agents this winter by MLBTR. Heyman says the Indians are still looking at right-handed outfield bats, though it would surely be a surprise for the team to plunk down any meaningful money to make an addition. Perhaps the trade route could still hold some surprises, though that’s pure speculation on my part.
    • Veteran reliever Greg Holland might have overplayed his hand in spurning the Rockies earlier in the winter. Colorado was willing to give him something approaching the three-year, $51MM deal the team ultimately inked with Wade Davis, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests in an appearance on the podcast of Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. It’s premature, perhaps, to declare that Holland won’t be able to top that number, though it’s frankly difficult to see where that level of interest might come from — as MLBTR’s Steve Adams has recently explained.
    • Holland’s list of suitors is in question at the moment. One thing that seems clear, per Heyman, is that the Cubs aren’t planning on making a surprise run at the closer. Rather, Chicago seems largely committed to utilizing Brandon Morrow in the ninth inning and is likely to hold back its remaining payroll reserves for potential mid-season additions.
    • So, how low could the remaining pitchers go? Presumably there’s a point at which some bidding would occur. But it’s notable that, per ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson (podcast link), the Twins expressed interest in Lance Lynn in the range of just $10MM to $12MM over two seasons. Just how that level of interest came about and was expressed isn’t clear. The team has also made some fairly notable recent commitments and may just not have much more payroll flexibility. And it certainly shouldn’t be taken as evidence of Lynn’s current market value. Still, it’s interesting to learn that’s the current extent of Minnesota’s interest.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Ohtani, CarGo, Scott]]> 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z As Shohei Ohtani settles into his first MLB camp, the Angels are keeping close tabs on his workload, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s all still being sorted on the fly, but there are also some “objective” standards in place, including limits on the volume and timing of Ohtani’s swings of the bat. There are dichotomies aplenty for the hurler/slugger, including the impressions of team personnel such as hitting coach Eric Hinske (“uncharted waters”) and manager Mike Scioscia (“don’t know it’s anything that isn’t happening with other players”).

    • The Rockies miss Carlos Gonzalez “really badly,” third baseman Nolan Arenado tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Gonzalez’s presence in the clubhouse was clearly seen as a big positive by Arenado and others. Indeed, the young star was not shy in advocating for a reunion with the veteran former star. That has long seemed a possibility, but not a priority, and there’s no indication at this point that there’s any movement toward a deal. Coming into the winter, Gonzalez seemed likely to command a fairly sizable commitment on a one-year term, reflecting his streaky recent track record but also his long-recognized status as a high-end hitter. But the market has been particularly unkind to non-premium position players, so it’s really anyone’s guess at this point what kind of guarantee CarGo will be able to secure and what team it will be with.
    • Rangers righty Tayler Scott lost out on the race to be the first African-born person to play in the majors when fellow South African Gift Ngoepe hit the bigs last year. But Scott tells’s T.R. Sullivan that he still has his sights set on “the title of being the first South African pitcher.” The dedication certainly seems to be there. Baseball obviously remains a niche sport in his homeland, so Scott and his family relocated to the United States while he was in high school. Now 25, Scott has yet to master the upper minors but will be jockeying for position in camp with the Texas organization, which acquired him as part of last summer’s Jeremy Jeffress swap.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Bryan Shaw]]> 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z
  • Bryan Shaw’s decision to join the Rockies was helped by an endorsement from his former Indians manager Terry Francona, Shaw tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila.  “I talked to Tito a little bit about the teams that had interest in me.  I got his opinion of the organizations — the managers and others with roles within those organizations.  He had nothing but good things to say about Bud Black and the guys who are here,” Shaw said.  Cleveland’s front office also offered help with any questions Shaw might’ve had about other teams, a further sign of the good relationship between the right-hander and his former team.  Shaw said that he and the Tribe had talks about a possible contract extension midway through last season, “but from a numbers standpoint it never got there.”  In December, Shaw signed a three-year deal with Colorado worth $27MM in guaranteed money, plus a potential vesting option for the 2021 season that would pay him $7MM in additional salary.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Bridich On Free-Agent Market]]> 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z
  • The slow-moving free agent market at least prompted the Rockies to reassess the available options recently, GM Jeff Bridich told Nick Groke of the Denver Post, but Bridich didn’t sound like he was itching to make further additions to his club. “Nothing prompted us or sparked any sort of action because we feel if we’re healthy, we have a strong position group,” said Bridich. The GM did note that Carlos Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds are both players whom the Rockies “have spent a decent amount of time staying in touch with,” though both still remain available in free agency. Bridich also said that the team is open to in-season extension talks for Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, both of whom are set to hit the open market after the current season. The same holds true of Nolan Arenado, though he’s controlled through 2019.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Rockies, Giants, Lewis]]> 2018-02-20T16:01:47Z 2018-02-20T16:01:47Z After making several bullpen moves and addressing their catching situation, the Rockies have had a quiet run-up to camp. It has long been wondered, though, whether the organization might yet add another player, particularly given the ongoing lack of clarity at first base. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports on the state of affairs as camp opens. Ian Desmond says he has been left with the impression he’s “mostly” going to be utilized in left field, seemingly leaving youngster Ryan McMahon with the inside track to commanding regular time at first. But the market still includes quite a few other possibilities, so it certainly seems premature to count the club out from another move. Saunders notes that the Rox have not had recent discussions with Mark Reynolds, it’s worth noting. Perhaps it is also still possible to imagine the addition of an outfielder, with Desmond then being asked to slide back to first, though it’s all still guesswork at this point.

    Here are some more links from the western divisions:

    • With so much trade chatter surrounding the Giants over the winter, several players now in camp with the organization saw their names circulated in rumors over the winter. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the winter of uncertainty with second baseman Joe Panik and a few other players. As for Panik, a phone call from GM Bobby Evans in the midst of the Giancarlo Stanton saga helped put his mind to ease, though he also notes that he and his wife would have been devastated to leave San Francisco and the Giants organization.
    • Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis recently underwent an unexpected second knee surgery, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The hope is that the 22-year-old, who was taken 11th in the 2016 draft, will be ready to begin preparing for the season in earnest before the end of April. GM Jerry Dipoto emphasized that this particular surgery is only a clean-up, expressed some hope that it’ll be “the final step to getting him healthy,” and credited Lewis for his hard work. Of course, it’s also the latest in a long line of problems with the joint, as Divish documents in a post that’s essential reading for fans of the Seattle organization.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Still In Touch With Carlos Gonzalez's Agent]]> 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z
  • The Rockies have continued to keep in touch with Scott Boras in regards to free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, general manager Jeff Bridich told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sunday (Twitter link). Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra and David Dahl rank as the Rockies’ most prominent corner outfielders at the moment, but all three come with question marks. Desmond was subpar last year, Parra is out several weeks after undergoing hand surgery (and hasn’t been particularly good as a Rockie) and Dahl didn’t play in the majors at all in 2017 on account of a rib cage injury. Meanwhile, Gonzalez posted the worst season of his career – which helps explain why he’s still available – though he went on a tear in September (.377/.484/.766 in 93 plate appearances) to end on a high note.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Reynolds, Parra]]> 2018-02-27T20:56:07Z 2018-02-17T19:07:03Z Both the Giants and Rangers came away impressed after watching free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Unsurprisingly, Giants brass has a fondness for Lincecum stemming from his mostly incredible run with the franchise from 2007-15. On whether they’ll try to reunite with Lincecum, general manager Bobby Evans said: “It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet. It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.” The Rangers, meanwhile, are likely to continue pursuing the 33-year-old, according to Grant.

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

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

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

    Some other notes from around the game…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

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

    National League Central

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

    National League East

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

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

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

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

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

    Charlie Blackmon | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

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

    Earlier updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bryan Shaw

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

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

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

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

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.