With Bryan Shaw, there has been less for Rockies fans to put in the positive column during his time in Denver.
A 5.93 ERA in 2018 (80 ERA+) was followed by a slight improvement last season (5.38 ERA, 97 ERA+). However, Shaw’s FIP also rose last season from 4.92 to 5.19.
There have been stretches where Shaw has flashed the skills that made him such a valuable asset for the Cleveland Indians from 2013-17. However, Shaw’s inability to string together those stretches for long periods of time have kept him from being the asset that was envisioned when he was signed to his three-year, $27 million deal.
After posting 70 appearances last season, if Shaw has 40 appearances in 2020 and he is healthy for 2021 Opening Day, his $9 million option will vest, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
With that in mind, the Rockies have a decision to make. If Shaw can’t perform at a high standard early on, he could be a candidate for assignment.
The lone left-hander of the trio, Jake McGee, has a stipulation in his contract that is identical to Shaw. If he appears in 110 games between 2019 and 2020 and he is healthy on Opening Day 2021, his $9 million club option kicks in as well for 2021. Last season, the 33-year-old McGee appeared in 45 games (meaning he would need 65 appearances this year) and has never appeared in more than 62 in a Rockies uniform.
McGee ended 2019 with a thud, seeing action in just four September games and posting an 8.10 ERA in 3.1 innings of work. There were positives last season though. McGee had a 2.91 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 21.2 innings of action away from Coors Field in 2019 (5.95 ERA in Denver), and his pre-All-Star 1.35 ERA in 20 games before the All-Star break last year was a plus. However, that number ballooned to 7.17 after the All-Star Game.
All three of these “super bullpen” relievers have big question marks surrounding them heading into the 2020 season. However, after a quiet offseason by Colorado’s front office, all three must bounce back this year for the Rockies to have a chance to post a winning record.