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Where the Rockies payroll stands going into 2022

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, November 15, 2021

The off-season is upon us and the stove is heating up. The Rockies made their first move on Saturday, bringing back veteran reliever Jhoulys Chacín on a one-year deal. With the amount of quality free agents on the market and the potential December 1st freeze looming, we can rationally expect more deals to be made soon.

The Rockies ended 2021 with a payroll of $116.4 million, slightly below the league average. The Rockies Opening Day payrolls have been roughly as follows, since 2013.

Rockies Opening Day Payrolls, 2013-21

Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Payroll (millions) 104.0 162.8* 145.9 141.3 131.0 98.3 102.0 95.8 71.9
stevetheump.com

Please note that the 2020 payroll is prorated up to an 162-game season from the 60-game season that occurred. The true Opening Day payroll in 2020 was $60.3 million.

While the Rockies front office has not been as forward with their intentions to spend as others, there is a growing feeling that the Rockies will look to the free agent market to potentially replace Trevor Story, bolster their rotation, or perhaps reinforce their outfield. While that potential spending does not seem well advised, as a couple of free agent signings do not seem likely to change the fortunes of this team, Rockies President Greg Feasel has stated one of his goals is to bring the Rockies payroll back to the earlier elevated levels. The last year the Rockies made the playoffs was with that 2018 team.

With the signing of Chacín, the Rockies currently have six players under contract for 2022.

  • Charlie Blackmon ($21.3 million)
  • Germán Márquez ($11.3 million)
  • C.J. Cron ($7.25 million)
  • Antonio Senzatela ($7.25 million)
  • Scott Oberg ($7 million)
  • Jhoulys Chacín (1.25 million)

The Rockies have another nine players up for arbitration this year, and using Spotrac’s current estimates for their contracts puts the Rockies current total payroll at ~$90.6 million, roughly $20 million lower than 2021 and $55 million lower than 2019. Using Spotrac’s Market Value tool, we can take a look at which free agents may take up this money in 2022.

Free Agent Outfielders

Player Predicted AAV ($ millions)
Player Predicted AAV ($ millions)
Nick Castellanos 21.3
Michael Conforto 19.1
Kyle Schwarber 12.9
Chris Taylor 11.0

While the first two are likely too expensive for the Rockies, nor would they make sense for a team currently without direction and out of an apparent contending window. Schwarber, Taylor, or players like Jorge Soler, Mark Canha, or Avisaíl García could provide budget options for Colorado. Alternatively, the Rockies could look inside the organization and give a younger player a chance to step up and make the big club, or kick the decision down the road to next year, when Charlie Blackmon’s option expires and there are more outfield spots open.

Predicting who your team may sign is akin to swinging at a Germán Márquez fastball blindfolded and hoping to make contact. Chances are you’re going to miss. Especially so with Rockies contracts, who have a recent history of puzzling signings. But speculation is currently all we have.

Poll

Which outfielder, if any, should the Rockies sign this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Nick Castellanos
    (24 votes)
  • 2%
    Michael Conforto
    (4 votes)
  • 16%
    Kyle Schwarber
    (32 votes)
  • 27%
    Chris Taylor
    (53 votes)
  • 15%
    Jorge Soler
    (30 votes)
  • 3%
    Mark Canha
    (7 votes)
  • 4%
    Avisaíl García
    (8 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (7 votes)
  • 14%
    None
    (27 votes)
192 votes total Vote Now

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Top MLB Free Agents 2021-2022 | MLB.com

Here’s the cream of the crop for the aforementioned banner free agency class this offseason. Trevor Story lands at #5 on the list and Jon Gray just missed making the cut. Some of the players also mentioned as potential signing candidates for the Rox above appear on the list, but competition for their services will surely be fierce. While there is an abundance of talent available this year, it will likely go quickly and could easily lead to bidding wars as team’s see their first and second choices get taken off the market. Given the Rockies somewhat limited funds for free agents, avoiding a bidding war would likely be in their best interest.

Elegy for 2021: Recapping the NL West, Team by Team | Fangraphs.com

Dan Szymborski takes a look at each of the NL West’s teams questions coming into 2021, how their season ultimately ended up, and now where that leaves them in 2022. Szymborski sums up most Rockies fans’ fears with one sentence - “The biggest risk for the Rockies remains that they think they’re better than they are.” The front office seems content with keeping the status quo, pointing to the fact that the Rockies played better than .500 ball from June onward. However, as we all know, games in April and May do indeed count, plus better than .500 ball isn’t nearly enough to get it done in a division that regularly features superteams.

Szymborski also highlights C.J. Cron and projects his 2022 season. Purple Row’s Skyler Timmins recapped Cron’s excellent 2021 last week, and Szymborki’s preliminary ZiPS projections are bullish that he will continue that into 2022. We’ll hope that Cron proves the Rockies right in bringing him back for the next two years.

On the Farm: Arizona Fall League Edition

The AFL had a league wide off day Sunday after the East vs. West. Fall Stars Game Saturday. The Salt River Rafters will get back to regular action this afternoon, hosing the Surprise Saguaros at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

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