So far, the Colorado Rockies’ 2021 - 2022 off-season has been a dud.
The team did sign Antonio Senzatella and C.J. Cron to contract extensions in October and locked up Elias Diaz in early November, but have yet to acquire any players. While $1.7 billion was being thrown around the league prior to the December 1st CBA deadline, the Rockies front office apparently elected to turn the lights off and save money on their electric bill instead. There were rumors briefly floated around attaching the Rockies to Kris Bryant and others, but nothing substantial came from them. All that happened was the team actively chose to not make changes by tendering contracts to all eligible players on their roster.
There’s still time. The Rockies outfield is in desperate need of an upgrade and plenty of impact names like Bryant, Nicholas Castellanos, and Michael Conforto remain unsigned. Once a new CBA is ratified, the league’s ban-hammer will be lifted and the Rockies could still acquire new talent to help bring the team back to relevance and make this off-season a relative success.
...Or they could not and again settle for the status-quo. It would be on-brand for how the last few off-seasons have gone and not come as a surprise to anyone who follows the team. We’ll have to wait to see if anything happens, but for now the Rockies have been mostly silent in their preparation for the 2022 season.
But instead of focusing on the current inactivity, let’s look back at when Colorado actually dared to move. For those interested, I’ve compiled an off-season history for the Colorado Rockies, listing every notable transaction in each off-season (from the end of the World Series to the start of Spring Training).
There are few With that in mind, let’s look back at some of the most active off-seasons in Colorado Rockies history:
1994 - 1995
- Signed Larry Walker to 4-years $22.49M contract
- Signed Bill Swift to 3-years $13.15M contract
Prior to the start of the 1995 season (which did not begin until the end of April due to the player’s strike) the Rockies added the most impactful free agent in team history when they signed Larry Walker to a four-year contract. Any time you add a future Hall of Fame player in their peak, it’s a success worth mentioning.
1999 - 2000
- Signed Chin-Hui Tsao, from Taiwan, the franchise’s first player from the Far East region.
- Traded Dante Bichette to Cincinnati for Jeffrey Hammonds and Stan Belinda.
- Traded Darryl Kile, Luther Hackman and Dave Veres to St. Louis for Manny Aybar, Brent Butler, Rich Croushore and Jose Jimenez
- Signed Tom Goodwin to a 3-years $10.75M contract
- Signed Brent Maybe to a 2-years $4.15m contract.
- Colorado trades 3B Vinny Castilla to Tampa Bay, RHP Jamey Wright and C Henry Blanco to Milwaukee, and RHP Justin Miller to Oakland. In return, Colorado gets 3B Jeff Cirillo and LHP Scott Karl from the Brewers, and INF Aaron Ledesma and RHP Rolando Arrojo from the Devil Rays.
This off-season unofficially marked the end of the “Blake Street Bombers” era as the team tried to redefine it’s identity around Helton and Walker with acquisitions such as Jeff Cirillo and Tom Goodwin.
Darryl Kile was also shipped out just two years after signing his free agent deal with the Rockies. Meanwhile, Tsao remains the only player Colorado has signed from the Far East region, which is possibly an ominous sign for the Seiya Suzuki hopefuls.
2000 - 2001
- Signed Todd Hollandsowrth to 2-years $5.5M contract
- Signed Denny Neagle to 5-years $51M contract
- Signed Mike Hampton to 8-years $121M contract
- Signed Todd Helton to 9-years $141.5M extension
The Rockies decided to spend like one of the big boys in O’Dowd’s second season as GM. The Rockies finished with little to show from their $172 million investments in Hampton and Neagle. Hampton would be traded to Florida two years later and Neagle’s contract would be terminated prior to his fourth season. The team also locked up franchise icon Todd Helton prior to Spring Training.
2010 - 2011
- Traded Clint Barmes to Houston for Felipe Paulino
- Signed Troy Tulowitzki to 7-years $134M extension
- Signed Ty Wiggington to 2-years $7.5M contract
- Acquired Matt Lindstrom from Chicago (AL) for Thomas Musick and Jonnathan Aristil
- Signed Carlos Gonzalez to 7-years $80M extension
Ten years later, the Rockies spent big again. Instead of taking major swings in the free agent market, the team instead invested in their own players. Between Tulowtizki and Gonzalez (who was acquired in an off-season trade with Oakland two years earlier), the Rockies dished out $214 million to keep their stars at Coors Field.
2015 - 2016
- Signed Jason Motte to 2-years $10M contract
- Signed Chad Qualls to 2-years $6M contract
- Signed Mark Reynolds to 1-year $2.6M contract
- Signed Gerardo Parra to 3-years $27.5M contract
- Acquired Jake McGee and German Marquez from Tampa Bay for Corey Dickerson and Kevin Padlo
This is where the latest round of poor spending began. Motte and Qualls were not great in Colorado, but the price for their production was far more palatable than other reliever deals to come. Elsewhere, Parra had some value but mostly turned out to be an expensive clubhouse leader in Colorado and the Rockies wound up paying less than $3 million for a 30 homer season from Mark Reynolds. However, the Rockies did acquire a future ace and bullpen stalwart in the deal with Tampa Bay.
2016 - 2017
- Signed Ian Desmond to 5-years $70M contract
- Signed Mike Dunn to 3-years $19M contract
- Signed Greg Holland to 1-year $7M contract
Speaking of bad spending, welcome Ian Desmond and Mike Dunn. Desmond produced an 82 OPS+ in a Colorado uniform and Mike Dunn put up a 5.93 ERA in 121 games. Greg Holland was good in his one year though!
2017 - 2018
- Signed Chris Iannetta to 2-years $8.5M contract
- Re-signed Jake McGee to 3-years $27M contract
- Signed Bryan Shaw to 3-years $27M contract
- Signed Wade Davis to 3-years $52M contract
Ah yes, the super bullpen. It did not go well. The Chris Iannetta reunion was also a bust, as he produced an 85 OPS+ and was released during his second season.
2020 - 2021
- Acquired Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah from Cincinnati for Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams
- Traded Nolan Arenado and $51M to St. Louis for Austin Gomber, Mateo Gil, Elehuris Montero, Tony Locey and Jake Sommers
The trade of Hoffman to Cincinnati marked the end of the return from Toronto for Troy Tulowitzki. But the big story was Nolan Arenado being dealt less than two years after signing his 8 year, $260 million extension. The return for Colorado is divisive, but any time there is a trade of this magnitude it certainly qualifies an off-season as “active”.
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Evan Drellich provides reactions from both parties at the early stages of baseball’s lockout. According to commissioner Rob Manfred, ownership feels it has presented a path towards resolution. Meanwhile, the union feels they weren’t presented with a proposal at all, but rather a list of demands the league would like the union to drop. The union went on record with the areas of discussions ownership has stated they will not discuss changes to:
“The league has consistently said on revenue sharing, they will not change it, period,” Meyer said. “There’s a whole list of topics that they told us they will not negotiate. They will not agree, for example, to expand salary arb eligibility. They will not agree to any path for any player to achieve free agency earlier. They will not agree to anything that would allow players to have additional ways to get service time to combat service-time manipulation. They told us on all those things, they will not agree.
Noah Yingling looks at the case for Colorado pursuing Matthew Boyd, who was recently non-tendered by Detroit. Despite pitching well for a stretch in 2019, Boyd finished his time with the Tigers with a 37-60 record and 4.87 ERA in 147 games. While he could provide some value as a veteran presence, Yingling does not imagine Boyd as a target for Colorado.
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