This offseason has seen a 36 year old PED user get $16 million dollars for his age 37 and 38 years (Marlon Byrd) and also has the Oakland Athletics doubling Nick Punto's (36 as well) yearly salary to $3 million after he hit just .255/.328/.327 with two home runs. In this day and age of skyrocketing salaries due to more expensive stadiums and bigger television deals, can the Rockies compete to bring in quality free agents? Do we even want them to?
The top player mentioned with the Rockies currently is catcher Carlos Ruiz who apparently cannot be had for $7.5 million a year (which is considered affordable these days according to ESPN). Ruiz is an old catcher at 34 who just finished the season hitting .268 with five home runs. His addition to the Rockies would create issues of playing time for multiple talents but he is the best free agent the team's leadership thinks they can afford. Any larger acquisition would require a change in the Rockies' business model and a likely increased burden on the fans to pay for the acquisition.
According to this study done at the beginning of the year, an average Rockies' ticket is slightly below league average at number 19th and the fan cost index is 17th. Increases to those going to the game would be one way to pay for a larger payroll, which was 25th in the league last year. Another way would be a television deal that would make it harder/more expensive for the average Colorado fan to watch their team at home. A final method to raise revenue, being employed by Atlanta in 2017, is to move to a new stadium.
Let me point out that I think it is ridiculous that the Braves are moving to a new stadium when their current one, built with Olympic money, isn't even twenty years old yet. However, their place is the fourth oldest in the National League which is only slight newer than Coors Field which is only newer than Dodger Stadium and Wrigley. Unlike Turner Field in the middle of Atlanta though, the Rockies have taken care of their stadium and it remains a gem of a baseball site. I hope that it lasts at least 75 years, but it must be remembered as a revenue steam for the club.
With all this said, and to end this discussion, I prefer the Rockies as they are. They play in a wonderful stadium, give their fans an affordable form of entertainment, and build young exciting players for all of us to watch. I fear that with this model though, they are going to have to get lucky in finding good players that are undervalued, like Michael Cuddyer, in free agency to fill any holes while building the majority of the team through their farm system. The only two questions then are how many bad years will it take though to get the talent to bring back winning baseball and do we have the best people in charge to build the talent?
Scott Boras tries to increase the dollars chasing free agents by picking on underspending big market teams. The Mets and Cubs listening to his twisted logic and metaphors would make things harder for the Rockies.
Kershaw and Scherzer won the Cy Young award and baseball is now moving to the MVP honors.
Bill Geivett, looking to dispel Tulo rumors, states the Rockies are close. "We feel we are close," said Geivett. "We spent 33 days in first place and (42) more in second place last year. Things have to happen, but it's not that far." Maybe he forgot that the end of the year record is what matters. Someone remind him that we finished last so he can maybe work harder on improving the team.
With Carlos Ruiz wanting $10 million a year, the Rockies may be turning to fill an actual position of need.