Colorado Rockies Wise to Keep Checkbook Shut on Melancon
As the second day of winter meetings unfolded near our nation’s capitol on Monday, one thing was made quite clear. The Colorado Rockies aren’t going to outspend other teams to get free agents who might help the team reach the postseason in 2017.
It’s not like that is a newsflash for anyone who has followed the Rockies for some time. Since the Rockies made monstrous contract offers to Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton at the start of this century, it’s certainly been frowned upon for Colorado to make a huge splash with a huge contract when a potential free agent comes up on the bidding blocks.
So where does that leave the Rockies at the moment? Really, in the same position they were in a week or month ago. A team with a solid lineup and young rotation but still some holes to fill at first base and in the bullpen.
That bullpen help won’t come from Mark Melancon, who was a dream match for many of the Rockies fans, especially when word came out that he and the Rockies had “mutual interest.” However, mutual interest and being from the area can only when you’re trying to land someone who is due for the payday Melancon knew was coming. On Monday, the payday came from the San Francisco Giants in the form of a four-year, $62 million deal. That’s a record for a reliever … and one that could be blown away by week’s end by what Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman are expected to net.
Were the Rockies ever going to pay that much for a reliever? No, especially when a healthy Adam Ottavino is ready to once again assuming the closing duties in 2017.
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But would the Rockies pay that much for a first baseman? If you’re one of the folks wanting the Rockies to sign Mark Trumbo, the price tag could be in the range of Melancon’s or even more.
It’s unlikely that the Rockies are going to spend that much on Trumbo. Again, the price tag (and the years of the contract) simply appears too high. It’s one of the four bold predictions for the winter meetings we made in this article.
At the end of Day 2, Colorado fans find themselves in a position that they can see division rivals San Francisco (Melancon) and Los Angeles (Rich Hill) spending big dollars on pitching while Colorado sits back to see who fits in the budget. It’s a tough place for a small market team to be and, as much as we may not like the tag, Colorado is a small market team with a small market checkbook.
It’s also a small market team with some big decisions ahead. When the time comes, will Colorado management spend the money needed to keep Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado as a part of the team for the foreseeable future? Both are due big paydays in the next couple of years, and opening up the checkbook to a Trumbo or Melancon means that it’s less likely the dollars are going to be there when the time comes to negotiate with CarGo or Nolan.
Next: Do the Rockies Need Another Quality Starter?
Colorado is built to win now and the fans want to win now. It’s very possible that this team can do just that in 2017. Can it do it without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Sure, it’s a roll of the dice to bypass on the biggest names out there but, based on Day 2, Colorado seems willing to take that chance in order to sustain success for the long term rather than just a one-year window.