When the Colorado Rockies report to spring training in 2018, one of the team’s strengths from this season could have a completely different look and feel next year.
Colorado’s bullpen was one of the most talented in franchise history this season. However, the chances of it being the same when February rolls around are very slim.
Greg Holland had an All-Star season after battling back from Tommy John surgery. He set the franchise record for saves in a single season, converting on 41-of-45 save opportunities while opponents hit just .193 against him. Except for a brutal stretch in August where he went 1-4 with a 13.50 ERA and closed out just 3-of-6 chances, Holland was solid for the Rockies in the closer role.
However, with the great performance comes a great price. As Nick Groke of The Denver Post pointed out in this article, Holland’s $7 million base deal for 2017 had at least $9 million in bonuses lumped on top of it after his what some would call surprising bounceback after a year out of Major League Baseball.
Additionally, that success caused a $10 million mutual option for 2018 to morph into a $15 million player option. Those numbers may not only make the Rockies hesitate to bring Holland back, but also tempt the 31-year-old right-hander enough to test the open market.
Jake McGee is another Rockies player who may or may not return next season. He signed a one-year, $5.9 million contract before the start of the 2017 season and the 31-year-old southpaw is an unrestricted free agent heading into 2018 after posting an 0-2 mark with a 3.61 ERA and three saves in 2017.
At the age of 37, Pat Neshek was paid $6.5 million this season and was one of Colorado’s biggest acquisitions at the trade deadline. Will he be back with the Rockies next season? It’s likely he will test the free agent market as well.
Those are the three biggest question marks for the Rockies bullpen next season. They also represent 44 of the 47 saves compiled by Colorado last season. Chris Rusin with two saves (who is eligible for arbitration and should get a nice pay increase) and Tyler Chatwood with one save (who is a free agent as well heading into the 2018 season) were the only other Rockies to log a save in 2017.
So who could be Colorado’s closer next season? If the Rockies don’t resign any of the three players above (and decide to stick within the organization), here are some other options…