Who will (and who should/could) be the Colorado Rockies closer
By David Sharp
The Oberg option
You could also argue that the closer’s job should go to the pitcher that pitched the best. Radical, I know.
Oberg was unquestionably Colorado’s best reliever last year, and may have even been their best pitcher overall. He led the team in ERA (2.25), ERA+ (232), FIP (3.54), WHIP (1.107), H/9 (6.3), and HR/9 (0.8).
This was good enough for the team to offer the 29-year-old a new three-year, $13M contract. While hardly the massive haul that the Rox had to offer in order to lure Davis to Denver, it does seem to signal a certain amount of faith in the right-hander.
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Black mentioned in his press conference that Oberg is in a “really good spot physically” and that “the doctors are extremely happy with where he is.” While Black did not say so explicitly, Oberg is thought to be on track for Spring Training. Black did not mention the specific role that he’ll be filling, calling Oberg “the right kind of guy” and “organizationally a good fit,” which could be interpreted a number of different ways.
It seems that Oberg is a closing option, but that he is far from guaranteed the job. You could even make a case that the Rockies would be a better team with Oberg as a high-leverage any-inning reliever (a la 2016 Andrew Miller) and with Davis as a traditional ninth inning-only guy. This would allow the team to get more value from Oberg overall while still justifying (somewhat) Davis’ price tag.
Black has shown a preference for using a traditional closer model in the past, so maybe he would be open to this kind of arrangement. On the other hand, traditionalists also tend to prefer that the ninth-inning guy is the best guy, so Oberg may have the inside edge on Davis as of right now.