The Rockies are not the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Padres, or Giants. That's obvious, and dumb, but as I sit here watching Arizona acquire the world to join an arms race with Los Angeles and San Francisco, it seems like now is as good time a time as any for this reminder.
The Giants are in the middle of every rumor on every quality starting pitcher out there, it seems, while the Dodgers have more money than God and can spend it however they'd like to bully the rest of baseball. The Diamondbacks clearly are gunning for a World Series, like, now. Oh, and the Padres! A.J. Preller is crazy, in the best way possible! They signed James Shields last winter and they might trade him this winter, but even their dismantling is on a different level than the club in
last place Denver.
Sandwiched between Hisashi Iwakuma, and Zack Greinke, and Shelby Miller, and maybe even Aroldis Chapman or Jose Fernandez, the Colorado Rockies signed two relievers with a combined age of 70 for just $16 million spread over four total contract seasons. That's about half of what Greinke will make next year.
One NL West team is not like the others.
But that's OK! The Rockies have a plan. (God, I hope they have a plan.) Their needs and objectives right now are completely different from the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. Sure, the contrast is incredibly stark this offseason, with the previously-irrelevant D-backs making high-risk moves to win. Sure, it's a little disheartening to see every NL West foe linked to every rumor about every good player out there on the market. But that doesn't mean it's wise or responsible for the Rockies to follow that path, too.
The Rockies are on a different pace, and while their plan might be a bunch of crap—recent history would suggest this is a possibility!—that bunch of crap has little to do with other NL West teams' current construction or winter targets.
In a best case scenario, the Rockies will start winning in two years. Maybe three, or four. Maybe never! But when (if?) that winning comes, the division will look a lot different than it did on April 1, 2016. Consequently, the Rockies are in a different arms race this winter. Their job is to stock up on as much high-quality young depth as they can to hedge their bets several years from now with what should be an abundance of Major League talent. Those days are not coming soon, but they will come. I think.
When the Winter Meetings end, if you want to be angry at the Rockies for the realistic moves they did or didn't make, hey, go for it! But don't be angry at them for not spending $200 million to attract Zack Greinke, or for not trading away two or three top prospects for just two years of Shelby Miller, or for not offering their future for a shot at Jose Fernandez. Plans like that aren't the cards in Denver right now, and those pursuits this winter would be irresponsible.
In the meantime, get ready for a .300 in-division winning percentage as the Rox play the role of the whipping boys of the NL
Best West for, well, a while. Get ready for a long season. It'll suck! But the Rockies aren't playing for anything of substance for at least another year or two, anyways. Whether 90, 100, or 110 losses, it's all irrelevant so long as the club gets young, projectable, and deep as they do it. This arms race is a longer sell and a tougher projection, but it's the smart play right now, no matter what moves the other four NL West clubs make this winter.