Arbitration numbers were exchanged on Friday and the Colorado Rockies came to terms will all 11 of their arbitration-eligible players. With that, we now have a better outlook on what the Rockies payroll will look like.
As it stands, the Rockies payroll will be about $129 million, according to Spotrac, which is about a $35 million drop from what they were going to have before the pandemic shortened season with pro-rated salaries.
As a result of MLB hemorrhaging money due to the pandemic, the free-agent market has not developed yet and those that have signed haven’t gotten the money that was originally projected, even considering a downturn entering the offseason.
An example of that is former Colorado Rockie DJ LeMahieu, who re-signed with the New York Yankees. Originally, he was projected to get $100 million or more. Some reports were indicating that he was seeking $125 million over four or five years. He ended up exceeding the number of years as he got a six-year contract but he only got $90 million. In other words, his average annual value (AAV) is between $5 and $10 million lower than what he originally was reported to have wanted.
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This could be a sign that the Rockies could have some other free agents fall closer to where they are comfortable financially.
To return to contention in 2021, the Rockies will need a slew of things to happen which haven’t in the past two years, with their homegrown talent developing into better players on both the pitching and offensive front being chief among them.
However, they still will need some outside help, whether that’s this offseason or during the season, to address another huge issue: their lack of depth.
Rockies manager Bud Black said last month that the team is hoping to address their bullpen (particularly with left-handed relievers and depth, in general) and that they are looking at getting a “big bat” to help their offense.
Whether or not the designated hitter is here to stay in 2021 will be a big factor in that but if they can sign a bat, like Michael Brantley, Joc Pederson, or someone else via free agency (like Marcell Ozuna), or the trade market that could be cheap (both Brantley and Pederson were projected to get two years and $28 and $18 million, respectively, in free agency by MLBTR) could go a long way to boost the team’s morale and fan’s morale.
As time wears on, players will become more desperate and the Rockies could pounce on a player that could provide a spark for the Rockies. Bud Black has identified that problem but now, will ownership and the front office identify it and try to resolve it?