Rockies one of four clubs that haven’t spent a dollar in free agency

Jan 2, 2024, 2:44 PM | Updated: 2:46 pm

The Colorado Rockies set a franchise record for losses in 2023, and it doesn’t seem like they’re all that apt even to try to do better in 2024.

The Rockies are one of four Major League Baseball clubs that have yet to spend a dollar in free agency this offseason. Colorado is joined by the New York Yankees, who traded for megastar Juan Soto, the Miami Marlins who have made three minor trades and the Chicago Cubs who, like the Rockies, have made just one small trade.

The Yanks, Fish and Northsiders all finished above .500 last season while the fightin’ Rockos had the most losses in the National League at 103. To be fair to the Rockies, one of their biggest offseason questions was answered toward the end of their historically bad campaign. They extended veteran outfielder Charlie Blackmon for a year at $13 million. Since the Rockies have added a single pitcher in Cal Quantrill via trade and have spent the winter cutting pitching depth that didn’t work out.

Despite popular belief, the Rockies normally spend a reasonable amount of money for market size. Even without adding a free agent, Colorado is projected to spend a league-median 15th most on their payroll at an estimated $143 million. The last time the Rockies were in the bottom third of spending in baseball was way back in 2015. Denver is the 20th-sized market in MLB, though some above the Rockies split theirs like New York.

It’s not so much that the Rockies don’t spend it’s that they don’t spend wisely. The seven-year, $182 million on Kris Bryant in 2022 was just the latest example of this, a player who has been worth -0.6 WAR as a Rockies player. Or said more easily, he’s being paid like the MVP he previously was and is performing like a September call-up. The $24 million spent on Daniel Murphy in 2019 essentially closed that Rockies window. A championship chance that was significantly hindered by the $70 million given to Ian Desmond ahead of the 2017 season. There are so many examples of free agents not working out in Denver that there are few examples of them actually benefiting the Rockies. C.J. Cron, Mark Reynolds and others have worked out for the Rockies, but at a low cost, the last truly big contract free agent to work out in Denver was either Justin Morneau or Michael Cuddyer over 10 years, depending on your definition.

There’s no arguing the Rockies track record, especially recently, with free agents has been bad. But there are good players on the market and ones who could definitely help the team avoid 100 losses for a second straight season. For instance, reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, former MVP Cody Bellinger, recent World Series winner Jordan Montgomery or the twice Platinum Gloved Matt Chapman. Nobody is saying blowing your wad on one of these players when the Rockies are so clearly far away from a World Series is the best move. But in the world of competition in which the Rockies supposedly live, adding a Jorge Soler or Seth Lugo would be better than whatever minor league veteran they’ll likely rely on in 2024. Nolan Jones, Ezequiel Tovar and the young Rockies deserve better and for them to have the expectation of losing every time they show up to the yard likely isn’t good for their development.

In this year’s case, Dick Monfort spending to show the fans that 103 defeats are unacceptable would show some faith that the product at Coors Field matters just as much as the experience.

With spring training about six weeks away, were much closer to next season than we were to last. The only noise coming from 20th and Blake are the future concerts they’re announcing for Coors Field—yippie! They can book as many shows as they want in October, the Rockies won’t be playing then.


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Rockies one of four clubs that haven’t spent a dollar in free agency