You’ve really got to feel for the Washington Nationals fanbase, right? They have to sit and watch, beg and plead, and grapple with emotions of sadness, anger, and hopelessness as their franchise superstar—Bryce Harper—takes his sweet time testing the free-agency waters. Rumors have connected Bryce to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Philly, while Washington can only cross their fingers. Well, Rockies fans, this could be us next year...
As Kevin Henry points out in his article, Bryce Harper : the Nationals :: Nolan Arenado : the Rockies. Both stars have only played for a single mid-market franchise, both are the face of said franchise, both are hitting free-agency in their prime, and both are rumored to make contracts nearing ten years and possibly more than $300M. Harper is likely to set a very real precedent for the kind of guaranteed money Nolan will make soon, so Rockies fans should play close attention to how the drama unfolds this offseason.
Speaking of which, a lot has been made about this year’s free-agent class, with generational talents such as Harper and Manny Machado leading the pack. But if you think this offseason has been hot with rumors, just wait until next year. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, there will be even more high-profile players hitting the market after the 2019 season, led by none other than our very own Nolan Arenado (if he doesn’t sign an extension, of course...).
Yes, Nolan is referred to as the “crown jewel” of possible free agents next year in this piece. Other notable names include Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole, and Anthony Rendon. One player of particular interest to Rockies fans who will be ready to sign a new contract in a new uniform is also mentioned, though Daniel Murphy may have put a wrench in that wheel.
In their latest podcast, Drew Creasman and Patrick Lyons (and even his dog) discuss the premise that mid-market teams—like the Rockies—need to have a season-long “surprise” contribution from a home-grown player in the starting lineup, rotation, and bullpen in order to compete for a championship. In the past it has been players like David Dahl, Antonio Senzatela, and Scott Oberg who have helped this team reach the next level, and they suggest young prospects such as Brendan Rodgers, Peter Lambert, and Yency Almonte may become staples to this club’s roster in the coming season. (Plus much more!)
Lastly, MLB.com offers the latest news and rumors on free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has been lightly connected to the Rockies this offseason. This post suggests that Grandal may be running out of potential suitors, as catcher-seeking clubs like the Angels and Mets have gone in other directions (Jonathan Lucroy and Wilson Ramos), and others continue to covet J.T. Realmuto as the best potential option via trade. If a multi-year deal isn’t offered to him soon, Grandal may have to return to the Dodgers on a one-year deal and test the free-agent market again next season.