The Hot Stove League has been pretty tepid for the Rockies. Throughout the offseason, Colorado hasn’t been very active, watching as other teams sign players, make trades and go about improving their roster. Meanwhile, Jeff Bridich and Company seem content to stand pat, despite the fact that the team finished 71-91 in 2019.
The lack of activity isn’t just a perception. It’s a fact. According to national writer Bob Nightengale, the Rockies are in an exclusive group when it comes to offseason spending.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 9, 2020
Since the end of last season, the Rockies haven’t spent a single dollar to upgrade their roster. Not one.
That’s borderline hard to believe, given that teams usually make some moves by default. They have to fill out a roster, replacing players who departed, retired, etc., so there’s inevitably an addition or two.
But not in Colorado. They’re trotting out the exact same roster that fell flat last season.
Apparently, Bridich believes last year was an aberration. He expects players to bounce back in 2020, which will ultimately lead to a better result on the field for the team.
For that to happen, the Rockies are going to need better performances from their highest-paid players. With a top-heavy roster, Colorado can’t afford to have these guys underachieve.
1. Nolan Arenado = $35,000,000
2. Charlie Blackmon = $21,000,000
3. Wade Davis = $17,000,000
4. Ian Desmond = $15,000,000
5. Trevor Story = $11,500,000
6. Jake McGee = $9,500,000
7. Bryan Shaw = $9,000,000
8. Daniel Murphy = $8,000,000
The bullpen trio of Davis, McGee and Shaw really have to improve. All three struggled last year, with Davis losing his job as the team’s closer, while McGee and Shaw went long stretches where they seemingly couldn’t get an out.
In terms of position players, Desmond and Murphy are the players who need to show the biggest improvement. Murphy hit .279 with 13 home runs and 78 runs batted in, not what the Rockies need from their first baseman. And Desmond hit just .255 with 20 homers and 65 RBI, not the kind of production that Colorado was looking for in centerfield.
Unable to part ways with any of this dead weight, Bridich decided to stop the bleeding on the spending front. Currently, the Rockies payroll for 2020 is just above $148 million; that’s the 11th-highest in baseball. Based on their offseason of inactivity, Colorado isn’t willing to get in any deeper.
So if this season is going to be any different from last year, the “Underachieving Five” are going to have to be much, much better in 2020.
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