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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two Colorado Rockies relievers will embark upon an altitudinally enhanced voyage of discovery this season. Wade Davis is settling in as the team's new closer, and Bryan Shaw will be his main right-handed setup man, and all it took was a little Authentic Michael Saunders Jersey sweet talk and a guaranteed $79 million over the next three years to convince them to chuck their apprehensions and buy into the program.
Lefty Jake McGee, the other target in general manager Jeff Bridich's offseason bullpen spending binge, enters the first season of a three-year, $27 million deal with a more familiar orientation. He came to Colorado from Tampa Bay by trade in January 2016, and he has spent the past two years learning all about the flexibility, resilience and other attributes required to succeed in one of the most daunting environments for pitchers in the majors. A year ago, McGee posted a 4.73 ERA at Coors Field and a 2.64 mark on the road. He decided to re-up regardless.
"Jake McGee is a testament to what's happening here," Bridich said. "He came over in trade, and he had no choice but to pitch and figure it out. When he did have a choice, he wanted to come back here. Not only did he want to do that, he wanted to help recruit his buddy Wade Davis. I think that says a lot about the stuff we have going on, and the belief that guys have in each other here."
As Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas and a Roger Lewis Womens Jersey slew of less acclaimed players at the MLBPA academy for the homeless in Bradenton, Florida, can attest, the offseason was atypically slow, unproductive and unusually stressful for dozens of free agents. Relief pitchers were the notable exception. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 36 free-agent relievers signed deals worth a total of almost $340 million this offseason. That's less than the total payout of $421 million that 33 free-agent relievers received in the winter of 2016-17. But that total was skewed significantly by the $228 million allotted to three closers: Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon.
Relief pitchers have come a long way from the days when Scott Sullivan, Scott Proctor and Aaron Heilman were pitched into the ground and never attained that one big payday. McGee, Shaw, Luke Gregerson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, Brandon Morrow, Anthony Swarzak, Joe Smith, Juan Nicasio, Steve Cishek and Yusmeiro Petit all received multiyear contracts in the $10 million to $30 million range this offseason. Those 11 pitchers combined for 25 saves in 2017.
In front offices, it's generally accepted that any long-term commitment to a reliever comes with a healthy dose of hope. Relievers spend so much time getting loose in the pen -- and can be so vulnerable to overuse depending on the manager's tendencies -- that they're prone to wide variances in performance from one year to the next. As a result, cost-conscious teams have been just as inclined to take a flyer on a kid with a big arm as to throw money at the problem. Exhibit A: Milwaukee's Corey Knebel, who recorded 39 saves, struck out 126 batters in 76 innings and made the All-Star team for a salary of http://www.officialpelicansshop.com/authentic-23-anthony-davis-jersey.html $538,900 in 2017.
"Teams think that some bullpens can come into their own, based on the unevenness of some guys' careers," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "You have Mariano Rivera, Trevor http://www.brownsfootballofficialprostore.com/andy-lee-jersey_c-429.html Hoffman and a bunch of guys who've had great careers. But for a lot of relievers, it's, 'Great year, bad year.' That's been the case for so many of them."
The Rockies' $106 million offseason investment in three free-agent relievers is a record outlay for a big-league team, and Bridich took franchise history into account before embarking upon his plan. Curtis Leskanic, Steve Reed and Darren Holmes -- currently the Rockies' bullpen http://www.atlantafalcons.us.com/WOMENS-KEMAL-ISHMAEL-JERSEY.html coach -- formed the nucleus of a durable and fearless bullpen when Colorado Heath Miller Womens Jersey made its first playoff appearance as a franchise in 1995. The Brian Fuentes-Manny Corpas-Jeremy Affeldt-LaTroy Hawkins contingent turned in some impressive work when the Rockies won the National League pennant in 2007, and Huston Street saved 35 games and logged a 154 ERA+ for a 92-win wild-card team in 2009.
Last year, the Rockies took a flyer on former Royals closer Greg Holland, and he performed well enough to make the National League All-Star team before fading down the stretch. The Rockies made an offer to re-sign Holland and appeared close to finalizing a deal before talks stalled and they moved on to Davis.
Bridich factored roster makeup into his decision to splurge on the bullpen. The Rockies have several young position players on the cusp and some talented 25-and-under starters, but they needed a quick injection of stability behind Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn, Chris Rusin and the other relievers already in the fold. When owner Dick Monfort bought into the plan, Bridich signed veteran catcher Chris Iannetta and went to work fortifying the back end.
"Like any free-agent market, you're not quite sure how it's going to end up when you start out," Bridich said. "I think we're blessed that Dick gave us the ability to be aggressive. And we needed to be aggressive. As everybody saw, in a slow market, it was the relief pitchers that flew off the board first.