There is no question that Adam Ottavino’s departure will leave a large hole in the Colorado Rockies bullpen. There is also no question that someone (or more than just one pitcher) will need to step up for the Rockies trying to fill the shoes of the man who should have earned an All-Star Game invitation last season.
A number of names could be that person for the Colorado Rockies, ranging from Scott Oberg or Seunghwan Oh (the best bets) to Bryan Shaw or Jake McGee (the best candidates for a potential rebound season) to Yency Almonte, Harrison Musgrave and/or D.J. Johnson (young guys who could fill the role).
It could even be someone like a Jeff Hoffman, who put together an impressive highlight clip on social media that shows some solid velocity and pitch placement.
There are plenty of people who could step up and fill the role … but will someone actually do it? That’s the biggest bet that general manager Jeff Bridich and the Rockies are making this offseason … and Bridich has admitted as much to making the bet in comments he made to Rox Pile and other media members at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
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This is one of the two biggest bets the team is seemingly making heading into 2019, with the other being that Daniel Murphy and younger players will be able to jumpstart what was a stagnant Rockies offense at times last season.
The Rockies winning this bet could be one of the differences between making or missing their third consecutive postseason. Other National League teams have improved this offseason while Colorado seems content to see if its youth movement is ready for the spotlight.
Back to the bullpen, Oberg and Oh joined Ottavino to form a solid O-themed back end of the relief corps to get the game to Wade Davis last season. Shaw and McGee struggled in the first year of new three-year contracts. Musgrave showed some flash, as did Almonte and Johnson.
Solving this question of Ottavino’s replacement is actually one of the biggest things that Rockies fans should be watching in spring training. It’s also one of the issues to watch very early in the season. Ottavino’s shoes could well be filled by the “hot hand” at the moment, which could make for some stressful moments in the time between Colorado’s solid rotation and their record-setting closer being on the mound.