Posted on December 13, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Fresh off a trip to the Wild Card Playoff, the Colorado Rockies have made their bullpen a priority early in the offseason. On Wednesday, the Rockies agreed to re-sign lefty reliever Jake McGee. The deal is reportedly worth at least $27 million over three years with an option for the 2021 season. The return of McGee comes on the heals of Colorado agreeing to sign free agent reliever Bryan Shaw late Tuesday night. Shaw’s deal is also believed to worth around $27 million over three years.
McGee has been one of Colorado’s most consistent and reliable relievers over the past two seasons. His 3.61 ERA in 2017 was identical to Colorado’s closer Greg Holland. McGee actually served as the team’s closer during the first part of the 2016 season. However, it’s likely the Rockies view him more as a setup man than a closer moving forward.
The same can be said of Shaw, who heads to Colorado after five seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Shaw was often overlooked compared to the other pitchers at the back-end of Cleveland’s bullpen. However, he’s been one of the most consistent relief pitchers in baseball over the last five years. In seven big league seasons, his ERA has never been higher than 3.52.
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“The way I view (him) is it’s almost like the offensive lineman who shows up every game, and the only time people really talk about him is when he misses a block,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Shaw last season. “He took so much pride in being available, and he carried so much of the load for us for five years. It is remarkable. And you guys saw the other day, he was throwing 97. I think because of his personality, people laugh it off at times. But my goodness sakes, he is so reliable.”
The addition of Shaw and return of McGee will help the Rockies make up for the absence of Pat Neshek, who signed with the Phillies earlier this week. Shaw and McGee will join the likes of Mike Dunn, Scott Oberg, Adam Ottavino, and Chris Rusin in giving the Rockies a stable collection of setup men and middle relievers. That group helped make Colorado’s bullpen middle of the pack in the National League last year. That’s actually quite an accomplishment for a team that plays at Coors Field half the year.
Of course, the Rockies may not be finished adding to their bullpen. GM Jeff Bridich said prior to the MLB Winter Meetings that his top priority was to solidify the bullpen. He’s done that with McGee and Shaw. However, the Rockies are still lacking a bonafide closer. The Rockies would happily re-sign Holland to be their closer. They also appear interested in Wade Davis and Addison Reed as potential closers. Colorado has also been linked in trade talks with both Alex Colome of the Rays and Zach Britton of the Orioles.
With both Shaw and McGee onboard, the Rockies have the makings of a solid bullpen. However, they need to add a frontline closer if they expect to remain competitive inside the NL West and return to the postseason in 2018. Thus far, Bridich has done a good job of building a strong bullpen. But he’s still one piece away.