Last offseason was largely quiet for the Colorado Rockies. With hints this week coming from ownership, are Rockies fans in for another winter of the walking dead?
Halloween is supposed to a day where scary stories and frightening images take center stage. However, it seems tales that send shivers down your spine started earlier this week with a letter from Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort.
Part of the letter read:
"“The financial losses incurred across baseball in 2020 are astounding, with losses at nearly $3 billion industry wide and the average club losing nearly $100 million. It will take time to rebound, and in some cases, these losses will never be recovered. As a result, there will be nothing normal about this offseason as the industry faces a new economic reality, and each club will have to adjust.”"
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Do those words mean that the Rockies are getting ready to repeat last offseason, where low-cost/low-risk/potentially high-reward moves were made to try to bolster the core around Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon?
Those moves had a measure of promise and success (mostly in the pitching of National League Comeback Player of the Year Daniel Bard), but others either didn’t pan out as hoped (Matt Kemp, Chris Owings, etc.) or their value is still to be determined (Jose Mujica, Elias Diaz, etc.).
So now with finances under the spotlight after a season with no fans in the stands and Story almost to the end of his current contract, what will Colorado’s strategy be this offseason, knowing the groundwork has already been laid for a tight budget?
With Winter Meetings now cancelled and no sure start to spring training or the Minor or Major League seasons (and uncertainty about attendance), it’s hard to project not only what Colorado will do this offseason to prep for what could be an abnormal 2021 season, but exactly how loose Monfort’s wallet might be when it comes to improving the team.
And let’s face it, it’s not just the Rockies who could be frugal with their spending this offseason. As we detailed here, St. Louis, long thought to be a suitor for Arenado, has already made cost-cutting moves this offseason, choosing to let Gold Glove second baseman Kolten Wong walk rather than pick up his $12.5 million option.
St. Louis isn’t alone in the price-cutting mindset. The Cleveland Indians are another example as they decided not to exercise their options with reliever Brad Hand ($10 million option), first baseman Carlos Santana ($17.5 million), and Domingo Santana ($5 million). The Miami Marlins were not willing to pay Brandon Kintzler (a key piece of their 2020 playoff team) $4 million.
Could MLB be setting up for an offseason like 2018 where free agents have to hold their own camp in order to try to land a last-minute (and cheaper) deal with teams? It’s a frightening but realistic thought.
While the Rockies need to do something in a lot of areas to try to rebound from two consecutive losing campaigns, trying to buy cheap to plug the holes is a scary scenario. However, it’s one that Colorado fans have endured before.
While the Dodgers resemble Dr. Frankenstein bringing in different pieces to build a monster, Colorado seems to be the rotting corpse wandering around just trying to not get decapitated. That’s a scenario that didn’t work well last offseason for the Rockies, and it won’t again this offseason either. However, with financial uncertainty for next season looming, however, Colorado may once again take the zombie approach and hope to find more treats than tricks in the free agent scrap heap.