Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies mailbag.
Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies mailbag.
Since the Rockies want to avoid the free-agent market, why wouldn’t they trade? The Baltimore Orioles are on record to have available outfielder Cedric Mullins and pitcher John Means. These two players may cost some good minor-league prospects, but it will certainly strengthen the roster.
— DJ McKay, Westcliff
DJ, it’s a bit early to say that the Rockies “want to avoid free agency.” With the lockdown now in place, there will be no move of any kind until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. At that point, I fully expect the Rockies to sign some players and probably make quite a splash. we will see.
After failing to retain Trevor Story and John Gray, and the Rockies paying “only” $5.75 million of Nolan Arenado’s salary with the Cardinals in 2022, the Rockies should have some money to spend.
I also think we will see a trade or two. The player most likely to be sent off is fielder Raimel Tapia.
For Mullins to trade, the asking price is reportedly too high. I was wondering if the Rockies, with their relatively shallow form systems, are likely to be Orioles. Still, there’s no doubt that Mullins would get a resounding victory by the Rockies — or almost any other team. At this point, I haven’t heard anything about the Rockies being in a potential trade. Still, Mullins is intriguing.
According to the Baltimore Sun: After demotion all the way to Double-A Bowie in 2019 only to return to the majors in 2020, Mullins went from being a switch-hitter to hitting strictly from the left before the 2021 season and immediately found dividend. Focusing on one swing proved easy for him, and he was an All-Star while batting. 291 with .878 ops. His 30 home runs and 30 steals gave him the first 30–30 season in Orioles history.
Mullins also finished ninth in the American League MVP voting. Under the current CBA, he is also in control of the team for the next four seasons, so he does not qualify for free agency until 2026.
As for the mean, I believe ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to mention a potential trade.
Other teams say the Orioles are hanging left-hander John Means for the trade. He is set to earn nearly $3 million in arbitrage, coming off a season in which he performed brilliantly in the first half (2.28 ERA), struggled in the second half (4.88) and had a shoulder problem. https://t.co/rSQSDncyrZ
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 23, 2021
The Rockies may have the pieces to make that deal happen, but a lot depends on the Orioles’ asking price.
Greetings Patrick. I find it hard to understand the high finances in MLB (pro sports for that matter) how one team loses 102 games, then drops over half a billion dollars on three players! How come only three more players equal a playoff berth? Are they playing the long game for contention in 2023? If analytics is such an important part of the game, which teams earn an MBA from Stanford or Harvard? At least the Rockies shut down Daniel Byrd before the lockdown. Take That National League West! Cheers!
— Robert Emmerling, Limon
Robert, I’m not sure if there’s a non-rhetorical question there.
Of course, you’re referring to the Texas Rangers. They signed Corey Seeger, Marcus Semien, John Gray and Cole Calhoun. It’s quite a haul. They can’t win it all right away, but they should be considered a legitimate contender.
Imagine if the Rockies had invested that kind of money and still had a new, talented starting pitcher alongside Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. Colorado fans will be doing cartwheels.
With the imminent end of the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, what are your predictions? With what COVID has done over the past two seasons, will owners want to risk losing revenue from another short season? Will fans be disillusioned when their favorite players are not signed? It will be interesting to see how it pans out at the Winter Meetings next week – if they are held.
— Judy, Danverso
Judy, you posed your question before the lockout, but some of the issues you raised are still relevant.
First, the major league portion of the winter meetings was cancelled, and all MLB business is on hold until a new CBA is in place. Fans will be disillusioned if the lockdown ends in the 2022 season. If a new CBA is signed in late January or early February, there is going to be a tidal wave of signings. Fans will forget all about labor struggle.
As far as predictions are concerned, I can’t imagine owners and player associations would be so stubborn and so foolish to let the lockdown affect the regular season.
By most estimates, baseball’s popularity is declining. Out of sight, out of mind is not where MLB wants to be. Disillusionment is one thing, indifference is another. I hope the powers on both sides understand this. We’ll see what happens.
Patrick, do you think the free-agent hopes of the Rockies could have been a little better with the lockdown? I’m sure some owners will tighten their financial belts a bit. Maybe one of these high-profile guys will land in Colorado for a one-year deal.
— Miles, Parker
Miles, that’s a good question, but I really don’t think the lockout will have much of an impact on who the Rockies sign or how much they spend. Plus, there are a number of high-powered teams—the Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros in mind—that haven’t done anything yet. I am not suppose to tighten the belt.
As far as the one-year deal is concerned, it doesn’t make much sense for the Rockies. They’re a team that’s still far away from season one, so a big-name player doesn’t do anything for them.