The Rockies and Drew Stubbs have avoided salary arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors and first reported by Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. The team will pay Stubbs $5.825 million for his services, which is is close to Matt Swartz's scarily accurate salary projections. As Bryan noted in Wednesday's Rockpile, Stubbs is likely to receive the largest salary of the now seven remaining players eligible to file for arbitration. After 2015, Stubbs can test the free agent market for the first time.
Stubbs was the Rockies primary center fielder in 2015, when he slashed .289/.339/.482 and added solid center field defense and above average base running in 132 games. As of now, it's generally assumed that Stubbs will serve as a center field platoon with Charlie Blackmon. Stubbs's new salary might seem a lot for a part-time player, but considering that Blackmon is set to make just over the league minimum, the Rockies might end up paying about $6.5 million for their two-headed, half-bearded, centerfield monster.
There's also the possibility that Stubbs is moved before the season begins. His salary is both palatable and expected, so it shouldn't cause other teams to shy away. Seattle is still a good fit. And, as Sage mentioned in the comments of Wednesday's Rockpile, the Braves are currently without a left fielder altogether after trading Evan Gattis, so Atlanta is another possible destination.
In sum: the agreement with Stubbs is reasonable and unsurprising.
The Rockies have also come to an agreement with right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles for a contract of $2.475 million for 2015, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. That figure is just $25,000 under Swartz's estimation.
Lyles, 24, had his best season as a big leaguer in 2014. The fifth-year right-hander, who came to the Rockies along with Brandon Barnes in the trade that sent Dexter Fowler to the Astros last offseason, posted a 4.33 ERA/98 ERA+ across 126⅔ innings. Lyles pitched extraordinarily well during the first six weeks of the season but showed signs of slowing before breaking his hand in a game against the Diamondbacks in June.
Walks were an issue for the South Carolina native; he surrendered 3.3 free passes per nine innings, the worst mark of his career. However, better batted ball and home run luck than in years past helped Lyles keep more runners off the bases overall. Part of that can be attributed to his 51.7 percent ground ball rate and increased use of his slider, which grades out as his best pitch.
Colorado also announced a two-year agreement with starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood. More on that to come.