Colorado Rockies: Free agent predictions from MLBTradeRumors.com
Recently, we looked at baseball insider Jon Heyman’s predictions for the top 131 free agents on the market, including those who played for the Colorado Rockies last season. Today, I’ll take a look at Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumor’s predictions for the top 50 free agent contracts.
The Colorado Rockies have two players from last season on this list — reliever Adam Ottavino (#21) and second baseman DJ LeMahieu (#33). Dierkes predicts Ottavino to sign with his hometown New York Yankees for three years and $30 million. He also says that if the Rockies decide to pass up on LeMahieu, he expects him to sign with the Detroit Tigers for two years and $18 million. That is well bellow the three to four years for $39-50 million deal predicted in Heyman’s article.
Other possible suitors listed by MLBTR for LeMahieu were the Washington Nationals and the Minnesota Twins.
When I covered Heyman’s predictions, I weighed the pros and cons of resigning LeMahieu and Ottavino and you can see that here. While It still appears the Rockies are moving towards more youth at the position, it’s worth noting that if LeMahieu signs a two year deal for $18 million, it is much more likely he’ll be back in purple than if he ends up with three-plus years and $50 million.
Of the top 50 free agents on Dierkes’ list, only one was predicted to sign with the Rockies –Houston Astros’ Gold Glove catcher Martin Maldonado for two years and $8 million. This is an intriguing possibility but not a blockbuster move. Maldonado is regarded as among the best defensive catchers in the game, particularly when it comes to pitch framing and throwing runners out.
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Maldonado’s bat isn’t much of a threat, but he had a higher average, more RBI, and only two fewer home runs than Chris Iannetta did last year. He would also be much cheaper than several of the other available catchers on the market this offseason.
While only Maldonado was expected to sign with the Rox, several other players were listed as possible fits, including All-Star catchers Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos, super utility man Marwin Gonzalez, and second baseman Jed Lowrie.
Grandal and Ramos would go a long ways towards filling an offensive void behind the plate, but only Grandal would be considered a notable defensive upgrade. Gonzalez is an interesting consideration. He fits the mold of versatility the Rockies seem to be looking for and won the World Series with Houston in 2017, hitting .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI. However, his offensive numbers took a dip in a 2018 season that was closer to the kind of production he’s generated throughout his career.
Lowrie’s career year was an important piece of Oakland’s shocking 2018 season, but I don’t think the Rockies are looking to add a mid-30s player who has been mediocre-to-somewhat-good across inconsistent playing time until last season. Especially not with the logjam of top prospects they already have at second base, not to mention the still-looming LeMahieu question.
But, who knows? The Rockies have definitely surprised us before. We’ll just have to wait and see what General Manager Jeff Bridich has in mind this winter.