This offseason the Colorado Rockies have been one of the most active teams making moves to improve their team. They have beefed up their bullpen with the return of left-handed reliever Jake McGee and new additions of former Cleveland Indian reliever Bryan Shaw and former Chicago Cubs closer Wade Davis. Here’s why I think the Rockies will be a team to watch in 2018.
Shaw was a lights-out reliever during his time in Cleveland. In his five years with the Indians, he posted 3.11 earned run average with 333 strikeouts and has valuable playoff experience that will help in the Rockies’ clubhouse. Davis won a World Series ring in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals to go with his impressive “turned from a starter into all-star reliever” resume. Davis has electric stuff that makes it really tough on opposing hitters. This past year, he had career-high total in saves with 32. Davis also had 79 strikeouts for a career high as a reliever. Shaw will be expected to fill in the set-up man role, while Davis will be in charge of shutting down the 9th inning.
McGee and Shaw each received three-year deals worth $27 million, while Davis got a three-year deal, worth $52 million. The Rockies were focused on bringing their own closer, free agent Greg Holland, back into the fold, but weren’t able to come to an agreement. The team then moved quickly to sign Davis. The new Rockies relievers are huge additions to the team as they are getting closer to having a full roster with no weaknesses.
On paper, the Rockies have one of the scariest lineups in baseball. Superstar Nolan Arenado leads the offense with home run power and stellar gold glove defense at third base. Charlie Blackmon can really fly. He was the batting champion in 2017 by hitting .331 with 213 hits, 14 triples and 37 home runs and provides extraordinary defense in center field. Second baseman D.J. LeMathieu is hard out at the plate and plays solid defense. Ian Desmond is a grinder at the plate, will make pitchers work for their pitches and is willing to play anywhere the team wants, this year he will be playing in left field. Which could mean the end of Carlos Gonzalez’ tenure as a Rockie. Or at least as an everyday starter. Gonzalez is currently a free agent. Gerardo Parra can be a constant pain for opposing managers as he often likes to hit in gaps or down the line for doubles. Trevor Story can bring the power, which you don’t see often in a shortstop and has the agility to move across the left side of the infield and make tough plays with his glove. Catcher Chris Iannetta returned to where he started his major league career this offseason as a free agent. Iannetta really knows how to work with pitching staffs and returning to his old grounds can really be an advantage for the Rockies. Lastly, Ryan McMahon is a highly regarded prospect that the Rockies hope will have a similar path to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman, Cody Bellinger, at first base. The Rockies have a strong lineup, but it can only do so much as the offense has to rely on their pitching staff to do their part to win, which means relying on the bullpen to close out games.
The downside to the new additions is that Davis has a history of dealing with injuries. Just this past year, Davis almost needed surgery that would have had ended his Cubs season in May. So the Rockies will need to keep an eye on Davis for the next three years and control his innings and usage. Shaw is a good reliever and has good stuff, but if he were to ever step into the closer role because of an injury, I think Rockies would need to pray that Shaw brings his “A” game every single time. Sure Shaw has some experience as closerwith nine saves in Cleveland, but the Indians traded for Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees because they weren’t sure Shaw could be consistent as the closer if Cody Allen ever got hurt. Provided that Shaw and Davis are healthy and pitching in their respective roles, the Rockies bullpen will be a force to reckon with.
The offseason has been very slow for a lot of teams around the major leagues, but the Rockies certainly got ahead of the curve and still might have some moves up their sleeves. As of right now, I think they are one of the few teams that are winning the offseason because of their improvements to shore up the bullpen with key additions. If they can improve their starting rotation I think the Rockies could contend for a playoff spot, whether that is the National West division or that is the Wild Card. It would be wise for teams this year to not count out the Rockies.
What do you guys think of the Rockies’ newest additions? Let us know at @TheUtilityMan17 on Twitter!