In an effort to maneuver around the need for arbitration, the Rockies have gone ahead and signed all of their players who were eligible for arbitration with one-year deals. With the Friday deadline, the Rockies signed Charlie Blackmon with a $14 million deal, DJ LeMahieu for $8.5 million, Chris Rusin for $1.3 million, and Chad Bettis for $2 million. Three of these players, with the exception of Rusin, will become free agents next year. Rusin is only in his second year of arbitration and will be eligible again next year.
Each of these players received an increase in pay, with all of them nearly doubling his salary. Charlie Blackmon makes the biggest leap, going from $7.3 million to $14 million. This comes as no surprise, as Blackmon set several records and had an MVP-caliber season. He hit for 37 home runs and 104 RBIs last year, and earned himself a Silver Slugger. I just watched the video of his infield home run against the Giants three times, and I say he’s worth every penny.
LeMahieu proved himself time and again defensively last year. In 2017, LeMahieu was an All-Star and won a Gold Glove. Rusin delivered a solid performance as a reliever, stepping in to provide a consistent performance many times last year. He may not have thrived as a starter, but he sure could deliver in the middle of the game. And Chad Bettis gave us quite a story. After being diagnosed with cancer late in 2016, Bettis gave us another thing to root for in 2017. Watching his return was a moment that resonated for the year, and I’m glad to see him in the bullpen once more.
The Rockies have followed their pattern of avoiding arbitration, but with the eligible players this year, it seems obvious to me that a deal is worth it with these players.
Rox Pile had an exclusive interview with Trevor Story on Saturday, where Story talked about his first full major league season. Shortstop is a difficult position, but Story led the National League in defensive runs saved. While he struggled at the bat in the end of the season, he is quickly becoming one of the great defenders on the team. So far, it seems Story approves of the offseason moves, glad that he is not the one who has to face the super-bullpen. And not to worry, he plans to keep his walk-up music, coming to the plate accompanied by that smooth sax.
Manny Machado is in his final year of team control with the Orioles, and there are whispers about a trade. Machado has been vocal about wanting to play shortstop, and the Diamondbacks are in a position where they could potentially offer him this role. The deal is not currently in the works, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.
The award for the largest one-year arbitration deal goes to third-baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson signed a $23 million deal, just edging out Bryce Harper’s $21.6 million deal last year.