The Colorado Rockies seem to have missed out on another potential key free agent. Is it because of some of the ghosts associated with free agents of the past?
On Wednesday, it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year, $18.25 million deal. Not only did the Colorado Rockies miss out on a potential upgrade to their catching situation, but they also saw a team that knocked them out of last year’s postseason and will compete with them once again for this season’s race for October improve.
Certainly it was a bit of a stunner to see the Brewers swoop in and grab Grandal on a one-year deal, especially after Grandal had reportedly turned down a longer deal earlier in the offseason. Milwaukee seems to have pulled some magic to have a one-year deal accepted and it certainly made Rockies fans wonder if a one-year deal had been offered by Colorado … or even proposed?
A recent article discussing Grandal’s odds of landing with certain teams mentioned the Rockies … and also hinted that perhaps Colorado was “maxed out” on its payroll and what it was willing to spend. Certainly Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich would know for a fact whether his team has hit the threshold of spending this offseason with the Daniel Murphy signing. However, it’s very possible that, with Nolan Arenado‘s impending free agency and Bridich’s mantra of “responsible growth,” a one-year deal like Grandal’s was simply too rich for Colorado’s blood.
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I talked in this article earlier this week about some of the contracts that could impact Arenado’s re-signing next offseason. Among them are some contracts that have simply not paid off (but hopefully will in 2019 and beyond) for the Rockies. Included on that list is Ian Desmond (five years and $70 million), Bryan Shaw (three years and $27 million) and Jake McGee (three years and $27 million). Are these albatross contracts part of the reason why Colorado has watched other teams move forward with free agent signings that, on the surface, could have improved the Rockies?
We know that next season will once be a dogfight for Colorado to make the postseason. Oddsmakers are predicting plenty of other National League teams to win more games than the Rockies, including teams that have been very active this offseason. That list includes St. Louis (which dealt for Paul Goldschmidt), the New York Mets (which dealt for Robinson Cano and signed another catching target of the Rockies in Wilson Ramos) and Philadelphia (which signed Andrew McCutchen among other deals).
If Colorado is content with the roster it has and placing its bets on another stellar, injury-free season from its rotation and big impacts from players like David Dahl, Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon, it will have to have that bet come in in order to be in the postseason mix. It’s a gamble for sure, but it is seemingly one the Rockies are willing to make with disappointing contracts on the books and its star third baseman ready for a big payday.