Who will (and who should/could) be the Colorado Rockies closer

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DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Colorado Rockies battery
DENVER, COLORADO – JUNE 29: Pitcher Wade Davis and catcher Tony Wolters #14 of the Colorado Rockies confer in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on June 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Davis possibility

There are arguments for why either pitcher (Oberg or Davis) could win the closer’s role. The Davis argument hinges on the idea that his 2019 was so bad that it must have been a fluke. Don’t forget, he’s been pretty darn reliable for most of his career and is still only one season removed from leading the National League while setting the team record in saves.

Davis’s decline maps pretty closely onto an oblique injury that he suffered in May. He actually started out the year phenomenally, going 7-for-7 in save chances with a 2.45 ERA before he went on the injured list. After his return, however, things did not go so smoothly.

Davis’s post-injury numbers are almost too horrific to print, yet here we go: 0-5 record with an 11.89 ERA. This includes unsustainable marks of 6.1 BB/9 and 2.2 HR/9 and a gaudy opponent’s slash line of .325/.426/567. In short, Davis turned every hitter he faced into Anthony Rendon. That’s not good.

Perhaps an offseason to get healthy and re-focus is what Davis needs in order to recover his former effectiveness. This would certainly be the best-case scenario for the Rockies, especially given how much of the team’s payroll Davis eats.

Davis will make $17M next season, and – fair or not – that may play a role in him getting a shot to earn the closer’s job back. That amount is a lot for just another arm out of the bullpen and team management would love it if he could return anything even halfway approaching that investment.

Part of the equation may also be a clause in his contract that gives Davis a $15M player option for 2021 if he finishes 30 or more games. The Rox may not want to be on the hook for that much money with a guy who just posted an 8.65 ERA, though one might also argue that Davis finishing 30 games implies that he’s taken the closer’s role back over, which then could theoretically make the $15M worth it. Theoretically.

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