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Rule 5 roster protection, check. Now on to arbitration...

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The non-tender deadline is December 2, 2020. Any arbitration-eligible players must have received a contract offer by their respective clubs by that date, otherwise they are considered ‘non-tendered’ and become free agents. Thus, with a week to go, it’s another round of decision time for the Rockies’ front office. Last week, we saw some notable roster transactions ensue as the deadline to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 draft (by adding them to the 40-man roster) has come and gone. Looking ahead to the non-tender deadline, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding weighed in on some of the more notable Rockies who are arbitration-eligible.

Given the impact the shortened 2020 season has had on teams’ finances (and messaging by Dick Monfort directly to ticket holders), Jon Gray’s situation is particularly interesting. It’s hard to fathom the Rockies not keeping Gray on the roster, but he is expected to have the highest price tag of all the arbitration-eligible Rockies. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Gray should land somewhere in the neighborhood of $6M in arbitration. Bringing Gray back at that price should be a no-brainer for the Rockies. The front office will be sending a very concerning message if Gray is non-tendered.

Tony Wolters is entering his second year of arbitration, and last season’s negotiations did not go the way he had hoped. He’s expecting to get a contract around $1.9M, which is not a huge number, but he has really struggled to do anything offensively. He reached a low point in 2020, ending the season with a wRC+ of 37 (not a typo). The Rockies may favor keeping Elias Díaz (also arb-eligible) at a lower salary. It’s a shame that Wolters hasn’t been able to find his swing because he is responsible for one of the more memorable moments in recent Rockies’ history.

Relievers Mychal Givens, Daniel Bard, Carlos Estévez, and Jairo Díaz are all arbitration-eligible and have reasonably low salary estimates per MLB Trade Rumors, with Givens demanding the highest price at around $4M. I think all four in this group will get offers, but there are a few young arms that the front office may possibly view as a cheap replacement for either Estévez or Díaz, who are both out of options. Bard was arguably the best story for the Rockies in 2020 and I expect him back. Givens was a late-season acquisition via trade so it would be very strange to see him in another uniform to begin the 2021 season.

David Dahl, Kyle Freeland, Chi Chi González, Ryan McMahon, Antonio Senzatela, and Raimel Tapia round out the rest of the arbitration-eligible Rockies. With the exception of González, it would be surprising if any from this group wasn’t tendered a contract offer by the deadline. Stay tuned.

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JAWS and the 2021 Hall of Fame Ballot: Todd Helton | FanGraphs
Jay Jaffe’s annual Hall of Fame ballot series makes its stop with the Rockies all-time leader in home runs, hits, WAR, and numerous other offensive categories: Todd Helton. He makes the case for and against Helton being enshrined in Cooperstown, noting Coors Field as an obvious hurdle. Helton’s career WAR of 61.8 is a few ticks below the median for first base of 66.9. But his seven-year peak WAR of 46.6 is well above the median of 42.7. In terms of JAWS, Helton’s mark of 54.2 is seventh among those on the 2021 ballot but is within 0.5 of both Manny Ramírez and Andruw Jones, who are just ahead of him. In the article, Jaffe claims “we can more clearly see that he ranked among his era’s best players, and has credentials that wouldn’t be out of place in Cooperstown.” It’s a lengthy piece that chronicles Helton’s storybook career and is well worth the read for any Rockies fan.

Every MLB team’s most promising building block heading into 2021 | Bleacher Report
In an attempt to identify the highest impact young player for each MLB team, Zachary D. Rymer of Bleacher Report predictably tabs Brendan Rodgers to become a meaningful presence for the Rockies next season. There really aren’t many other players to choose from so it seems that this may just be the season that Rodgers finally gets a regular opportunity to compete at baseball’s highest level. Despite injuries and poor numbers at the MLB level thus far, Rodgers still has an impressive minor league resume and breakout potential.

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