Although he usually plays it close to the vest, Jeff Bridich had no problem asserting his confidence in his team this year. While this kind of attitude is safe to assume from many GMs, Bridich tends to avoid these kinds of declarations. However, following the Winter Meetings, picking up Bryan Shaw, and bringing back Jake McGee, the Rockies might be ready to go for another Rocktober. Is it possible for them to go all the way in 2018? It’s definitely not impossible. If they continue to build a stronger bullpen, find someone to put at first base, and get themselves a good bat or two, there’s a good chance that this team can do great things.
The major concern is the current state of the lineup. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMahieu are guaranteed to produce, but the offense needs more. It might be Gerardo Parra, who finished off 2017 strong, or perhaps it’s last year’s gamble in Ian Desmond, who could possibly step up and fill that void. (We’ll have more on this today.) At the moment, the Rockies are on their way, but still have some moves to make in order to be World Series ready.
So far this offseason, relief pitchers have been the hot ticket item on the free agent market. Closers are still in high demand, of course, but far more relief pitchers have gotten multi-year deals so far this offseason. This is trending up compared to the last several years. With the Cubs signing Brandon Morrow, the Rockies grabbing Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee, and Juan Nicasio heading to Seattle, relief pitchers are being snatched up. There are still a few holdouts, like Addison Reed and Tony Watson. Closers still on the market are Greg Holland and Wade Davis, who both are waiting to see who can give them the best offer.
With the Winter Meetings wrapped up, we can take a quick look at the often overlooked Rule 5 Draft. Most people are familiar with the First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) in June, where teams obtain their top amateur prospects. However, the Rule 5 Draft is for those players with some minor league experience. If a player with enough minor league service time is left off the 40-man roster, they are eligible for this draft, and any team who has not filled their 40-man roster can partake.
This draft tends to be ignored, but there have been some stars to come out of it, such as Jose Bautista, George Bell, and Shane Victorino. Sixty-one players were involved in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. This included Julian Fernandez from the Rockies’ Class A affiliate Asheville Tourists who went to San Francisco. In the minor league phase of the draft, the Rockies picked up Mitch Horacek, a pitcher from the Baltimore organization.