Colorado Rockies continue building up their future

Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (21) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (21) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Colorado Rockies have been impressively proactive this offseason. Not only did they add Kris Bryant to serve as the foundation for their lineup, but they have begun extending their own players. The Rockies believe that they can contend, that they can contend now and into the future, and are putting their money where their mouth is.

Their latest step in that direction has come with Kyle Freeland. The Rockies announced that they signed Freeland to a five year deal worth $64.5 million. There are a couple of interesting details as well – if Freeland reaches 170 innings in 2026, he triggers a $17 million player option for 2027. Likewise, if he finishes in the top five of the Cy Young vote in the next two seasons, he gets an opt-out after 2024.

Colorado Rockies looking at Kyle Freeland as part of future core

Freeland has been a solid, if unspectacular, part of the Rockies pitching staff. The lefty has posted a 40-42 record with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.415 WHiP in his 663 innings, striking out 517 batters with 237 walks. However, he has struggled since the start of 2019, with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.490 WHiP in his 304.2 innings in that time.

The Rockies clearly expect that he can return to the form he showed earlier in his career. Freeland looked like someone who could break the Curse of Coors Field, pitching to a 3.39 ERA and a 1.351 WHiP over his first 358.1 innings, his ground ball ways clearly countering the launching pad he pitched in. Freeland even finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018, showing that his opt-out may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

However, he would need to drastically turn his career around in order for this contract to be worthwhile. The Rockies are gambling that will be the case, that his struggles will be a thing of the past with a normal offseason. His struggles this year could be written off due to the shortened spring training. But at some point, he will need to prove that he is more than someone who is still living off of his 2018 campaign.

Next. Five NL teams to benefit from universal DH. dark

The Colorado Rockies have locked in another piece of their core with Kyle Freeland. They are making a major gamble that he can find his way again.