Between Monday’s “Executive Update” and Tuesday’s end-of-season press conference, the Rockies front office is doing everything it can to reassure fans that next year will be ... well, a lot like this year, basically. Owner Dick Monfort reported that the Rockies have no big plans for this off-season due to limited payroll flexibility, and GM Jeff Bridich’s plan for the current team to return to its winning ways is based on “mental and physical habits” such as “swagger,” “collective belief” and “shared joy.” And guess what. He’s right! I looked it up, and Nolan Arenado’s shared joy is so low that I can’t even find it on most stat leader boards.
Apparently in 1985 good front offices followed this strategy:
1. Figure out your weaknesses.
2. Find players who might be able to slightly improve those weaknesses.
3. Pay those players too much.
I feel like “good” might not be the correct word here, even before you consider the Rockies’ next step:
4. Stick with underperforming players indefinitely.
In case you wanted numbers to back up your feelings about recent free agent signings, here you go:
Since the end of the 2016 season, the Rockies have spent nearly $155 million on free agents, to the tune of a -5.8 WAR.
Going back a little farther, over the last five seasons, the Rockies have spent $213 million on free agents who have produced a combined -4.4 WAR.
To put this in perspective, if the Rockies had cloned 2019 Antonio Senzatela and signed one clone in place of every free agent, they would have only spent about $11.75 million, with a -2.1 WAR.
Obviously it’s not this simple. If it were, the Rockies’ pitching staff would consist entirely of Kyle Freeland from 2018 and Germán Márquez from that game in San Francisco earlier this year, with Adam Ottavino from 2018/2019 in the bullpen. The rest of the team would just be Nolans and Trevors, with the occasional David Dahl thrown in to help balance the righty-heavy lineup. Also money would grow on trees, and injuries wouldn’t exist.
But the point remains: the Rockies’ home-grown talent is great. Their free agents are not.
Despite their subpar season, the Rockies drew almost 3 million fans this year, good for sixth-best in all of baseball. In fact, despite the team having 20 fewer wins, attendance was just slightly below 2018’s numbers.
You may be wondering how all this game-day revenue will affect the Rockies’ participation in the free agent market this off-season. It won’t.
In case you missed it, on Monday the Rockies announced they’ll be back with AT&T SportsNet for the foreseeable future. The announcement didn’t give any specifics on length of time or financials, but it looks like we’ll all be welcoming Drew Goodman back into our homes for 150 Rockies games again in 2020.
You may be wondering how this new media contract will affect the Rockies’ participation in the free agent market this off-season. It won’t.
★ ★ ★
I know. Caring about stuff is exhausting. And since I’m new here and not nearly as negative as this post may suggest, I’m going to close out by taking a minute to remind you of that time Scott Oberg was covered in kittens.
Those were the good days.