The Colorado Rockies made another big addition to their bullpen with All-Star closer Wade Davis.
With cold and calculated precision, the Colorado Rockies front office has been snapping up dominant relievers this offseason. Right-hander Bryan Shaw and left-hander Jake McGee inked matching three-year deals for $27 million at the Winter Meetings, but the team was still in need of a closer with All-Star Greg Holland opting out of his contract.
Enter another All-Star, Holland’s former teammate on the Kansas City Royals, Wade Davis.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Rockies have agreed to terms with Davis on a three-year deal for $52 million with a vesting option for a fourth year that could push the total value of the deal to $66 million. The extra year will vest if Davis finishes 30 games in 2020. If he does not reach 30 games, the option becomes a mutual option with a $1 million buyout. At over $17 million per season, the contract is the richest on an annual basis ever inked by a closer.
In his lone season with the Chicago Cubs, Davis saved 32 games and had a 2.30 ERA in 58.2 innings with 12.1 strikeouts per nine. While he was not quite as dominant during his peak seasons with the Royals, Davis still showed elite form after battling elbow injuries in 2016. He was also strong in the postseason for the Cubs and gave them a stellar 44-pitch outing to clinch Game 5 of the NLDS.
The addition of Davis should rule out the Rockies from re-signing Holland, but never say never. They have already spent over $100 million to build a strong bullpen, so why stop now? Colorado’s future hopes hinge on keeping their young starting rotation, which features Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela and German Marquez, healthy. A lights-out bullpen capable of shortening the game to six innings most nights goes a long way to preserving those valuable young arms.
Having lost Davis, the Cubs will now be forced to evaluate other options to close in 2018 and beyond. Theo Epstein has been hesitant to invest in a long-term answer for the ninth inning, but has already ponied up for setup men this offseason. Carl Edwards Jr. had been viewed as a potential heir apparent at closer, but struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs. The prospect of signing Greg Holland to a long-term deal north of $15 million a season might not excite Epstein and his front office, but their options on the trade market are severely limited, especially with Baltimore Orioles All-Star Zach Britton rupturing his Achillies.