The Colorado Rockies have 11 arbitration-eligible players this offseason and a few could be non-tendered, including reliever Jairo Diaz.
The Colorado Rockies have a few decisions to make this offseason in regards to the status of their 2020 roster continuing onto 2021. Many of them, 11 in fact, are arbitration-eligible. While some players, like Kyle Freeland, are sure to tender a contract but some of them are not.
One of them we discussed on Monday was Rockies’ right-handed pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez and another is right-handed reliever, Jairo Diaz. Diaz, who will turn 30 in late May, had a very rough 2020 season after being one of the Rockies’ more reliable relievers in 2019.
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In 2019, he appeared in 56 games out of the Rockies bullpen and he pitched to an ERA of 4.53 with five saves. He had an ERA+ of 114 and while his ERA was a bit high, his FIP suggests that he was a victim of some bad luck as his FIP was nearly a full run lower at 3.70. His WHIP was 1.301 and he also struck out 9.8 and only walked 3.0 batters per nine innings.
However, it all changed in 2020. In 24 games, Diaz’s ERA went up by more than three runs to 7.65 with an ERA+ of 70. His FIP ballooned to 6.64, his WHIP distended to 2.250, his walk rate more than doubled to 6.3 per nine innings and his strikeout rate dropped from 9.8 per nine innings down to 7.7.
Diaz is eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2020 and considering his season, Diaz would not make a ton in arbitration. Depending on what model you look at from MLB Trade Rumors (raw numbers from 2020, 2020 stats extrapolated out to a full season, or seeing what they would have gotten in a regular season in 2020 and give them a 37 percent raise), Diaz would likely make somewhere between $800,000 and $1.2 million in 2021.
Considering the lack of depth the Rockies have in the bullpen and with their pitching staff in general, they may decide to keep Diaz, even if they non-tender him, by offering him a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training so that he has a chance to prove himself to the Rockies in spring training. If he doesn’t they can either keep him for depth in Triple-A Albuquerque or give him his outright release.