Moves Jeff Bridich Should Make This Off-Season
Sep 23, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (38) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
With the World Series in the rear view mirror, it’s time for Colorado Rockies fans to focus our attention on the offseason. Here’s a look at some moves Jeff Bridich should make in his first off-season as general manager.
Although the Rockies’ season ended a while back, it is now officially baseball’s off-season, which means baseball’s transaction season is about to start. With a team full of question marks, the Rockies should be active in the free agent market. Among possible holes could be the catcher position, a spot or two in the starting rotation, and we could also see a large turnover in the bullpen. The biggest move, though, could be a trade of one of the Rockies’ superstars. What moves should general manager Jeff Bridich make?
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First, let’s address the dreaded catcher position. We know Wilin Rosario isn’t the answer behind the plate, and we’re pretty sure Michael McKenry isn’t either. They have Tom Murphy in their system, but he’s not a surefire prospect and is still at least a year away. That means Bridich should look to the free agent market for a new catcher.
Unfortunately, the pickings are rather slim at the catcher position. The best option- by far- is Pittsburgh Pirate backstop Russell Martin. Unfortunately, the Rockies aren’t the only ones in the market for a catcher, and Martin’s going to get a large contract. While I’d love to see him in a Rockies uniform, I’m not sure it makes much sense to splurge a ton of money that could be used elsewhere on a catcher.
As a lower risk, lower profile option, I would like to see Jeff Bridich sign Geovany Soto. Soto isn’t the best catcher out there, but he’s a low cost option who plays good defense and can get on base. The former Cubs, Rangers, and Athletics catcher won’t be able to handle 500 plate appearances, but he could post a .330 on base percentage with plus defense in about 350 plate appearances, especially in the friendly confines of Coors field.
Besides the catcher position, the Rockies are pretty much set offensively. The pitching, though, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s in the rotation that I’d expect a bigger-money acquisition. Given that Bridich just declined Brett Anderson‘s $12 million option and given that Michael Cuddyer‘s cap hit is now off the books, the Rockies should be able to spend a decent sum on a starting pitcher or two.
A top-flight option like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer is surely out of the question, but Bridich should sign two starters in the second tier of free agents. As Nick Groke of the Post wrote, there are some options. To me, the ideal scenario would be acquiring both Brandon McCarthy (a Cheyenne Mountain High grad) and Justin Masterson. It would be unlike the Rockies to spend even the $20 million per year it would take to get both, but it would make sense.
McCarthy is probably the rare pitcher who wouldn’t mind pitching in Colorado given his upbringing, which is a big plus. He’s not a prototypical ground ball pitcher, but he pitched really well with the Yankees (2.89 ERA in 14 starts) and would fit in well with the Rockies. It would probably take a three year offer, but that would be worth it for a guy the Rockies could slot near the top of their rotation.
Meanwhile, Masterson is that prototypical ground ball pitcher. As a sinkerballer, he’s usually near the top in ground ball rate, consistently posting rates near 60%. He’s also not likely to expect a huge contract because he had a putrid 5.88 ERA last season. A one-year deal would probably suit both sides best, as the Rockies would get a low-risk option while Masterson would get a chance to prove he could be the pitcher he was in 2011 and 2013.
With Masterson and McCarthy, the Rockies rotation would likely include the two free agent signings, Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jordan Lyles, with Tyler Matzek and Eddie Butler waiting in the wings. It still wouldn’t be great, but at least the Rockies would have more depth.