The “hot” stove appears to finally be warming up. Jon Morosi is reporting that the Rockies are now looking at the trying to fill their empty closer role. The two names that Morosi mentions are free agent Wade Davis and Zach Britton, the Baltimore Orioles closer.
Davis, along with the Rockies own departing closer Greg Holland, are the top available free agent closers. Davis was the Cubs’ closer last season after being acquired via trade from the Kansas City Royals. As a reliever, Davis has a career ERA of 1.65 with an outstanding 11.4 K/9 rate. Last season with the Cubs, he had a 2.30 ERA and 12.1 K/9 while saving 32 games. Unfortunately, he also had a career-high 4.3 BB/9.
Signing Davis is not going to be a cheap option, as he’ll probably be the highest paid reliever this offseason and will also cost the Rockies their third highest available draft pick in the upcoming draft because Davis rejected the Cubs qualifying offer.
Britton is one of the best relievers rumored to be available on the trade market. However, there are a couple of major drawbacks to acquiring the outstanding Orioles closer. First, he will be a free agent after 2018 and will be earning a very substantial salary in his last year of arbitration after making $11.4 million in arbitration last offseason. Also, while Britton still had very solid numbers last season it was plagued by injuries, including a dreaded “forearm strain” that often times leads to a future Tommy John surgery.
The risk in acquiring a player for a single season that may end up missing it due to an injury would be very high with Britton. Unless the Orioles are willing to take a pittance in prospects in exchange for Britton’s services, it will probably be difficult for two sides to complete a trade.
With the Rockies having publicly acknowledged their desire to acquire a closer, it’s not a surprise to see them connected with the top names in the market, and these are probably far from the only players that they have expressed interest in. At this point in the offseason, teams are investigating every single option and finding out what the potential costs for every possible solution to their needs are. It is, however, reassuring that the Rockies aren’t limiting themselves to only exploring the lower cost solution, but have the means to potentially acquire one of the big names in either the trade or free agent markets.
Another potential name to watch would be the Rays’ Alex Colome. Morosi reported yesterday that the Rays were having active talks with multiple unnamed teams about a possible trade for him. With the Rays sending Brad Boxberger to the Diamondbacks earlier today, they seem to be selling and another deal involving their closer could soon follow.