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Rockies’ bullpen following trend of championship teams

Rockies news and links for Sunday, December 17, 2017

MLB teams, including Rockies, spending big on bullpens, but there are risks | The Denver Post
Patrick Saunders discusses the latest trend in baseball—using a mix of high-priced and home-grown bullpen arms for as many as three to four of the final innings of a game—and how the Rockies are structuring their offseason to match that blueprint for success. Last year saw major contracts for Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon, and this year most of the big free agent signings have also been for relievers, such as Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee for the Rockies.

Saunders also notes that the Rockies’ success and postseason berth in 2017 was due in large part to a bullpen with great depth and talent, like many championship-caliber teams of the past few years. However, the trend to consistently take the ball out of a starter’s hands relatively early in the game, as a structure for building a team, can be a volatile year-to-year practice and has risks, too—and the Rockies may not even be done signing relief help this winter. Saunders’ article begs the question: should the Rockies start seriously considering spending money on bats rather than arms, despite their highly-profiled intent of doing otherwise, or continue focusing their finances on bullpen depth?

Colorado Rockies: 3 things they still need to do this offseason |
Kevin Henry over at Roxpile touches on the Rockies’ free agent signings so far, their focus on adding bullpen arms, and the three things that still need to be done in order for this offseason to be considered a success and 2018 to be another playoff contending year. One of his three points includes adding a particular free agent outfield slugger from a division rival, but I believe such a move would cost the Rockies more money than it would be worth to sign him considering the club’s current outfield depth and need for offensive production at first-base.

Dodgers trade Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy & Charlie Culberson to Braves for Matt Kemp | True Blue LA
Big news of the day out of the NL West is the Dodgers’ blockbuster salary-dump trade that sends Adrián González, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and former Rockie Charlie Culberson to the Atlanta Braves for noted Rockies-killer Matt Kemp. The good news is the Dodgers are reportedly unlikely to keep Kemp on their roster, so we may not have to face him 19 times in 2018. But the bad news is, by shedding those veteran contracts and moving Kemp, the Dodgers will likely not have to pay the luxury tax next year and will be in prime position to sign high-profile players in a star-studded free-agent class next off-season.

What the Dodgers salary-dump trade means to the star-studded 2018 free agent market |
And speaking of next year’s free agent market, the LA Times breaks down what kind of money the Dodgers will have to work with and how they could feasibly sign 2 of the 3 top names in that class—names that could strike fear into the hearts of Rockies fans if they’re on the back of opponent’s jerseys written in Dodger blue. The trade of González et al was clearly a business decision made to make room financially for the next wave of stars to hit the market. And if history repeats itself, the Dodgers won’t be shy about loosening their purse strings to make a big splash.