There was some news about the Colorado Rockies, the hot stove, and one of their divisional rivals on Thursday of note.
The Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to signal that they are not going after one of, if not the biggest free agent, Bryce Harper, at least right now, as they decided to sign another free agent for their outfield.
They came to an agreement with former Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock on a deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Buster Olney of ESPN later reported that Pollock is “[s]lated to earn $55m in first 4 years, but could earn opt-out after Year 3 if he reaches set (number) of (plate appearances). 5th year player option for $10m, w/ $5m buyout.”
As you can see in this article on MLB Trade Rumors, the Dodgers, however, have been in contact with numerous teams about a possible trade involving Pederson so, perhaps, with the signing of Pollock, Pederson could be seeing his way out of Hollywood but, as of Thursday night, Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter that no deal is imminent.
Other Hot Stove Signings
The hot stove seemed to heat up a bit yesterday as, in addition to Pollock, there were more signings, including the Seattle Mariners signing former Giants reliever Hunter Strickland and the Chicago Cubs signing reliever Brad Brach, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (both via Twitter).
Strickland is still arbitration eligible in 2020 and 2021 but Brach was a traditional free agent and was signed for only 1 year and $4.35 million, per Rosenthal. Since 2012, he has pitched in 415 games (average of 59 games per year) with a 3.05 ERA (133 ERA+) with 449 innings.
For comparison, Bryan Shaw, before signing with the Rockies, between 2011 and 2017 (same span as Brach from 2012 to now), Shaw appeared in 442 games (27 more games than Brach) and 418 innings (31 less innings than Brach) with an ERA of 3.17 (133 ERA+, which is the same as Brach since 2012).
Granted, Shaw is nearly two years younger than Brach but, last offseason, he got 3 times the length of contract (3 years) and 39 million dollars, which is roughly 9 times the amount of Brach…for, essentially, the same production. Strickland had an ERA of 3.00 in the past four years (134 ERA+), averaging 61 games per season.
As Nick Groke of The Athletic said in this article (subscription required) yesterday about the Rockies offseason, though, it has been “an empty freezer more than a hot stove” because of the Rockies payroll constraints from their relatively fruitless bullpen buying spree last offseason so players like Strickland and Brach, who could help the Rockies, end up elsewhere.
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Arenado in arbitration
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported yesterday in this article (subscription required) that the Rockies and Nolan Arenado are likely headed to an arbitration hearing as negotiations have not as hoped thus far. This is not a good sign for the Rockies and Arenado staying together after the 2019 season as during arbitration, the Rockies will, essentially, have to tell Arenado, potentially to his face if he shows up at arbitration and some players do and some players don’t, and his agent why he is not worth the $30 million he asked for in 2019.
As Nick Groke of The Athletic noted on Twitter last night, the Rockies have only gone to arbitration with four players in their 25+ year history. If you can name the four (if you haven’t seen the tweet), it is an excellent trivia question that you can quiz your friends or family on.
The previous four players were reliever Dennys Reyes in 2002 who only spent half a season as a Rockie, Sun-Woo Kim in 2006, Brian Fuentes in 2008, and Wilin Rosario in 2015. So, if you got Dennys Reyes as the first Rockie ever to go to arbitration, you are a winner!
In all seriousness, though, as Groke noted, none of the four played for the Rockies the following season as they either were either traded or released. It does not bode well for the Rockies in retaining Arenado if they go to arbitration this winter as the process could burn some bridges and hurt some feelings that may never be rebuilt.