Colorado Rockies: Preview of the 2018-19 offseason and free agency
On to the pitchers! I can’t say enough for what Kyle Freeland and German Márquez have done, but the Rockies have had an up and down year in terms of pitching. Jon Gray has not been an “Ace” type for most of the season, but performed well as of late, Tyler Anderson has been much too inconsistent for my liking, and there has been some problems on the back end of the rotation, although Antonio Senzatela has had a bit of a resurgence and pitched very well in his last few starts of 2018, but the Rockies could look to add a back end starter to sure up the rotation for 2019.
The Bullpen has been, shall I say, weird? After spending a combined $106 million on Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw, you’d think the team wouldn’t need to add much, and while Davis has been lights out most of the second half, McGee and Shaw have largely been busts, and while expecting both of them to be better next year isn’t far-fetched, help is still needed. Righty Seunghwan Oh‘s 2019 salary became fully guaranteed after appearing in his 70th game last week, thus triggering his vesting option for 2019, paying him $2.5 million, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
Right-handed stud, Adam Ottavino is a free agent and he should be a priority to be brought back, given that he’s been one of the best set-up men in baseball. I should mention that the emergence of Scott Oberg would soften the blow of losing Otto, but keeping him wouldn’t be a bad idea. And going outside of the organization would be positive, given that there are many solid arms that will be out there.
The Options: Starters
Nathan Eovaldi: RHP
2019 Opening Day Age: 29
After missing the back half of 2016 and all of 2017 recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, Nathan Eovaldi has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in 2018 pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox after being traded in July.
Eovaldi’s pitched to the tune of a 6-7 record with a 3.81 ERA in 111 innings, while striking out 101 and only walking 20 batters. He has a career 46.8% ground ball rate, which is a little low for the classic Coors Field hurler, but the fact that he throws strikes and had a very good season pitching in the tough American League East makes him an interesting free-agent candidate.
Wade Miley: LHP
2019 Opening Day Age: 32
A pitcher that the Rockies are familiar with from his days in Arizona (and from his start in Game 3 of the NLDS against them), Wade Miley enjoyed a good season for Milwaukee, albeit in limited time. In 16 starts for the Brewers he has a 2.57 ERA, 50 strikeouts, and 27 walks.
Not a great K/BB ratio, but the bottom line is that he’s gotten guys out, and he’s been a very big help to a surging Brewers team. He’s pitched alright at Coors Field (in the regular season) during his career, 4.47 ERA in 28.1 innings, and could be a viable 5th starter option for the Rockies in 2019.
Matt Harvey: RHP
2019 Opening Day Age: 30
Here’s a name that three years ago you wouldn’t think would pop up on a list like this. Earlier this week Harvey said he was open to anything during his free agency, but “There’s only one team I would not sign with, that’s about it.” Obviously Harvey is referring to the New York Mets, his former squad, and with that statement, the last I checked the Rockies are among the 29 other teams.
Prior to his injury plagued 2016 and 2017 seasons, Matt Harvey was straight up and down dominant. From 2012-2015, minus his 2014 season where he had Tommy John surgery, Harvey was a combined 25-18 with a 2.53 ERA including 449 strikeouts to just 94 walks in 427 innings.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel has struggled since then, going 16-26 with a 5.39 ERA, 286 strikeouts, 109 walks, in 340.1 innings, and battling numerous injuries playing for the Mets and Cincinnati Reds. He’s been better this season with the Reds, and a taking a flyer on a guy like Matt Harvey could end up paying dividends for Colorado, even if he’s just half of his former self.
Peter Lambert: RHP
2019 Opening Day Age: 22
Regardless of whether or not Peter Lambert is in the 2019 Opening Day rotation, Rockies fans should be excited about the future of the young right-hander. He entered 2018 as the Rockies number two overall prospect, and number 83 in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. At double-A Hartford in 15 starts, he had a 2.23 ERA, 75 strikeouts and just 12 walks.
He was roughed up a little bit after getting called up to Triple-A, but still finished the season a combined 10-7 with a 3.28 ERA, 106 strikeouts, and 26 walks in 148 innings. He profiles as a middle of the rotation guy, but could develop in to a solid number two.I wouldn’t expect him to be in the rotation on opening day, but I thought the same thing about Kyle Freeland in 2017, and we all know how that went.
Other Starter Options: Gio Gonzalez, Lance Lynn, Clay Buchholz