Much of the Colorado Rockies offseason and hopes for the 2020 season is built on the belief that players who had disappointing campaigns in 2019 (during a disappointing 71-91 season) will return to form or exceed expectations this year.
You can believe that or not, but that is one of the things that Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich made clear during his October press conference just after the 2019 season ended.
"“Our pitchers showed up last year (in the playoffs) against the Brewers, and it’s primarily the same group,” Bridich said. “Some of that group struggled and some got injured. And there was a different complexion to that group as early as May and June, in reality. “But we are always looking, but it doesn’t mean we can always do things in terms of bringing players in. We have in the past three or four years — I have. Some of it has worked, some of it hasn’t worked. But we’re always looking. That being said, I think there is still a foundation as long as certain guys bounce back.”"
Bridich doubled down on those comments during the Winter Meetings in December.
"“We feel like we have a lot of bodies in our bullpen mix and we have a lot of talented people. Some of those talented people need to do their jobs,” the Colorado GM said."
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Let’s not beat around the bush. Some of those “talented people” Bridich was alluding to are Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw. Once touted as a “super bullpen” with $106 million dedicated to those three players, there have been, at best, mixed reviews for the trio since signing those contracts.
There was talk that the Rockies might try to move one or more of them in the offseason. However, all three are still on the roster. All three still have plenty left to prove in their time in purple. All three will need to raise the level of their pitching this season if the bullpen is to be a strength rather than an albatross.
Davis has made the biggest impact, posting a National League-leading and Rockies record 43 saves in 2018. Make no mistake about it, he was a big part of Colorado once again reaching the postseason that season.
He was also just as much a part of the reason for Colorado’s plummet last year. An 8.65 ERA, including 11.10 at Coors Field, and dropoff in ERA+ from 115 to 60 were part of the reason why he lost the closer job in 2019.
Davis told Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post last week that the oblique injury that put him on the disabled list in May threw him off for the rest of the season. Manager Bud Black has already said Davis will be the closer on Opening Day in San Diego. The 34-year-old right-hander will have his 2021 option become a player option if he finishes 30 games this season and is healthy enough to be on the 2021 Opening Day roster.
There is a lot riding on Davis bouncing back in 2020. However, Scott Oberg, Carlos Estevez, and Jairo Diaz loom as closer options should Davis falter.