The 2017 Winter Meetings kicked off earlier this week in Orlando, Florida, and the Colorado Rockies have moved quickly to sign free agent relievers to fill holes left by Jake McGee, Greg Holland and Pat Neshek.
Within the past few days, Colorado was able to bring McGee back and ink former Indians reliever Bryan Shaw to similar 3 year/$27 million contracts. McGee’s contract also includes an option for a fourth season. Additionally, multiple reports say that the Rockies are, at the very least, in contract discussions with Holland.
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Shaw pitched very well in relief for Cleveland this season, posting a 3.52 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 76.2 innings. He struck out 73 hitters and only allowed 22 walks.
Shaw also brings valuable intangibles. First, he contributes an element of durability. Since his 2012 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he has pitched at least 59 innings every season. He has pitched at least 70 innings in three of the past five seasons, as well.
Shaw can also help the Rockies’ young pitchers, as he brings a veteran presence with proven postseason experience and success. In 19 career postseason appearances with Arizona and Cleveland, he has a 2.45 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 22 innings.
2018 outlook and further needs
The additions of McGee and Shaw will benefit the Rockies greatly, but they should not be done yet. Either could serve as closer in 2018 if needed, but the Rockies should remain in contact with free agents Holland and Wade Davis to try to land a proven, lockdown ninth inning closer.
Jeff Bridich and company should also be on the lookout for a impact corner IF/OF bat. The Rockies have been rumored to be in on former Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, which would be a great signing if they can land him.
Santana hit .259 with 23 home runs and 79 RBI last season for Cleveland, and if you’re a fan of advanced metrics, his wOBA was .350 and his WRC+ was 117. He would be the type of impact bat to kickstart a Rockies offense that, collectively, put up only a 91 OPS+ last season, good for sixth worst in baseball according to Baseball-Reference.
The Rockies are heading in the right direction, and already with the moves that have been made the club should be in good shape heading into the 2018 season. Of course, there are always more moves to be made to further improve the club. Look for Bridich to stay in contention for one more reliever and possibly an impact bat as well.