MLB Trade Rumors released its arbitration projections for the upcoming offseason. While everything is subject to the new CBA, there hasn’t been much talk of changes to current arbitration model outside of the service-clock shenanigans, which probably won’t affect these projections.
While not 100 percent accurate, these projections do represent the best information we have to fill in the Rockies’ projected spending for next year. The Rockies have five players eligible for arbitration:
- Jake McGee - $6.1MM
- Tyler Chatwood - $4.8MM
- Jordan Lyles - $3.3MM
- Charlie Blackmon - $9MM
- Nolan Arenado - $13.1MM
Arenado’s and Blackmon’s projections are high, but shouldn’t be that surprising considering the phenomenal seasons that both of them had. Lyles’ and McGee’s projections are as much of a reflection of their previous season’s earning and the fact that no one gets a salary reduction in arbitration. However, that fact also makes them prime candidates for non-tendering unless the Rockies can work out a deal prior to arbitration.
Combining these projections with the Rockies’ guaranteed contracts already on the books gives us a good idea of what room the front office has to work with to try and patch the holes on the current roster.
For 2017, the Rockies have six players with guaranteed contracts:
- Carlos Gonzalez - $20.429MM
- Gerardo Parra - $8MM
- Jason Motte - $5MM
- DJ Lemahieu - $4.8MM
- Chad Qualls - $3.75MM
- Adam Ottavino - $2.1MM
The Rockies also have $22 million in dead money committed to Jose Reyes to continue paying off his contract. Combining all the guaranteed money and projected arbitration figures, the Rockies have $102.379 million in projected spending. However, that is not the complete budget. Assuming the Rockies keep all 11 of the players whose salaries we have already mentioned, they would still need an additional 14 players to fill out the Opening Day roster. For a baseline, assume that all of those players will be making the league minimum of roughly a half million dollars each, and the Rockies’ current projected spending for the 2017 roster is already $109.659M.
Last season, the Rockies entered Opening Day with a team salary of $111.645 million. However, they did recoup about $7 million of that from Reyes domestic violence suspension, which may have been part of the reason they were willing to raise their Opening Day salary as much as they did last year.
Together, this means that the Rockies are already on track to spend $5 million more than last season without signing a single free agent, unless they’re signed for the league minimum. I doubt that Jeff Bridich is willing to stand pat, and we already know that he wants to at least fix the Rockies bullpen, so where is that money going to come from?
One possibility is that we once again see the Rockies raise their payroll, though it would take a substantial raise (over 10 percent) to gain any wiggle room of note. One thing making it slightly more possible is that MLB recently sold a share of its Advanced Media platform to Disney, and the proceeds of that sale were to be evenly divided among the owners. This means that the Rockies may be receiving a one-time payment of about $30 million that the club could use to help subsidize the payroll.
Another possibility is reducing the current commitments. The easiest and most likely way is by non-tendering McGee and Lyles and saving almost $10 million. Beyond that, trading some of the more expensive players like Gonzalez or Blackmon, who play positions at which the Rockies have lots of depth. If the Rockies could receive cheap major league-ready talent at a position of need as well as open up that salary for free-agent acquisitions, it could go a long way toward fixing this roster’s holes.
Rockies’ outfield is deep and talented, but will Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon be traded? | Denver Post
The Denver Post’s outfield offseason primer addresses the same question of whether it’s wise for the Rockies to trade one of their star outfielders.
Another note in the Rockies managerial search. Unsurprisingly, Bud Black is interested in being the Rockies manager. Considering that there are only two open managerial jobs available, it’s not a market for candidates to be choosy. The bigger question is the Rockies’ interest in Black.
How did the 2016 Rockies fare in Start Quality Rating? And which team was the best of the bunch this past season? (Hint: They’re extremely relevant right now).