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Wednesday Rockpile: Will this year’s offseason be an improvement?

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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The end of the shortened 2020 MLB season is drawing near which means the offseason will begin shortly. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post summarized the list of potential moves that the Rockies’ front office will be considering over the next several weeks and months. The Rockies have six players headed for free agency (most notably Kevin Pillar who they traded for in August). There are also 13 Rockies eligible for arbitration including Jon Gray, Ryan McMahon, and Kyle Freeland. The 40-man roster is currently full and will most definitely be shaken up over the next several weeks with decisions to be made regarding players currently on the 45-day injured list as well as Rule 5 eligible players. Bottom line: expect a steady stream of transaction news in the coming weeks.

Getting a head start

Before the season began, Jeff Bridich decided to part ways with relievers Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw. The release of the players was costly as each is still owed $2 million. In addition, Wade Davis, who was with the team for much of the 2020 season, was released and is owed $1 million. The high price tag paid by the Rockies for this group is well chronicled, but it doesn’t make the costly failure any less painful for the organization. Looking ahead to future potential free agents, Rockies fans would probably like to see resources committed elsewhere as Bridich has not impressed anyone with his ability to identify late-inning security via free agency.

Outfield options

One thing to watch out for will be how the dominos fall for the Rockies’ outfield. Kevin Pillar had a nice September (led team in OPS for the month) and is a reliable center fielder. He will be a free agent, but the Rockies would have a good shot at bringing him back if they pursue him. Also, let’s not forget about Ian Desmond. He opted out of the 2020 season but still has one more year left on his current deal. It’s hard to see him playing a significant role next season, but his status for 2021 is up in the air and will need to be addressed. That said, both Raimel Tapia and David Dahl are eligible for arbitration but expected to get extensions and fill out the rest of the outfield with Charlie Blackmon.

Arbitration watch

Remember last year when Tony Wolters lost his arbitration hearing with the Rockies? There is a lot of work to be done by the front office to secure short-term deals to avoid arbitration with a handful of key Rockies. Hopefully these negotiations will get done without the need for any arbitration hearings. Otherwise we may hear more rumors of Rockies trying to leave town.

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How did Charlie Blackmon end up a Gold Glove finalist? It’s all in the data | The Athletic ($)

Nick Groke examines what was behind Charlie Blackmon’s fielding this season that led to him making the short list for Gold Glove in right field. Groke cites a big change in the award criteria this season, in that finalists were selected purely based on analytical data unlike in seasons past where votes by managers and coaches throughout the league made up 75% of the criteria. Blackmon’s ultimate zone rating (UZR) this season was 3.6, third-best in the National League among qualified right fielders.

Tigers reportedly interview 2 more candidates for manager job | Mlive.com

Evan Woodbery reports that Sal Fasano has been mentioned recently as a candidate for the managerial vacancy for the Detroit Tigers. Fasano spent most of his career as a journeyman catcher, including part of the 2001 season in a Rockies uniform. Fasano retired in 2009 after playing in Triple-A for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

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