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Problems and possibility for the 2020 Rockies

Rockies news and links for Monday October 7, 2019

Saunders: Rockies’ 2020 roster tied up with problematic contracts | The Denver Post ($)

If there’s something written out there that lays out the case for how the Rockies can spend the little money they will have available to set the team up to compete in 2020, I’d love to read it. Bonus points if this piece only counts on 1-2 dramatic bounce back seasons or players who were below average in 2019 becoming above average in 2020.

Analyses like the one Patrick Saunders offers here are not only more common, but more compelling. Dick Monfort said that the Rockies do not plan to spend much money this offseason. That’s due to an already high payroll, with a lot of it going to some of the worst players on the Rockies’ roster.

The bullpen stands out here. The Rockies owe Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw a combined $36.5 million in 2020. And while some of the publicly available information about Shaw’s contract structure appears to be wrong, Saunders does indicate 40 or more appearances in 2019 — meaning 110 between 2019 and 2020, as we wrote during the season — would vest his 2021 option. These contracts are not only handcuffing the Rockies’ payroll (according to Monfort), but they’re also immovable. They can cut their losses with any of them to free up roster space, but they’d still be on the hook to pay. And not that it makes a big payroll impact, but the Rockies will still pay Mike Dunn $1 million in 2020.

Daniel Murphy is the other player Saunders mentions that will be paid a lot in 2020, while also maybe not being the best option at the position. Murphy is owed $8 million next season. He’ll be 35.

Funnily enough, this article doesn’t even mention Ian Desmond, who’s owed $15 million in 2020 and another $8 million (plus a $2 million buyout) in 2021. It’ll be the penultimate season in what is perhaps the worst free agent contract given out in the past five years.

There’s reason to question whether or not the Rockies could still spend money if they wanted to. (They very likely could.) But they are saying they can’t because of current payroll, which is a result of poor decisions.

So, about that article that lays out how to fix it for 2020...

Fixing the Colorado Rockies: A data driven approach | Purple Row FanPost

In what is likely the longest and most thorough FanPost in Purple Row’s nearly 15 years of existence, community member amuesing1 takes a blow-by-blow approach about how the Rockies could set themselves up to compete in 2020 without spending too much.

The suggestions they make can be broken down into two buckets: Playing time distribution and repertoire changes. The first bucket involves limiting playing time for Murphy and Desmond in favor of Ryan McMahon and Sam Hilliard. Regarding the second bucket, they suggest teaching Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland the splitter, as well as taking the advice of a recent Purple Row post and telling Jeff Hoffman to start pitching up in the zone.

The light suggestion for a free agent addition is Yasmani Grandal at catcher. For me, this is a no brainer. It was also a no brainer last offseason. I’d love for the Rockies to sign Grandal and move Tony Wolters into a backup role.

There’s much more, of course. So grab a coffee or a beer or three and dive into this detailed analysis of the Rockies.