Jack Etkin/Forbes: A Catcher in Rockies Off-Season Approach


By Jack Etkin/Forbes.com

The Rockies’ biggest need in what so far has been a drowsy offseason seems a bit incongruous. They need to find a backup catcher, ideally a right-handed hitter, to share the workload with Tony Wolters, who bats left-handed.

After a franchise-worst 20-game regression, after a 91-loss season that saw the Rockies manage to creep out of the National League West cellar on the final day of the season, the most sizable hole on the roster is finding someone to pair with Wolters.

Could it be veteran Drew Butera, whom the Rockies have again re-signed as a minor league free agent? Possibly. Could it be Dom Nunez, who reached the majors for the first time in mid-August, played sparingly and looked somewhat overmatched? Probably not to start the season, but members of the player development department are very high on the left-handed hitting Nunez, who turns 25 on Jan. 17, is a very good receiver and has shown power in the minors.

Followers of the Rockies can think of other matters with a higher priority this winter than securing a back-up catcher. Like third baseman Nolan Arenado showing up in spring training with the Rockies and not getting traded. Like beefing up the rotation and the bullpen. Like somehow figuring out how to part with disappointing relievers Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw.

Both are entering the final seasons of their three-year, $27 million contracts with the left-handed McGee owed $9.5 million in 2020 and Shaw owed $9 million but only needing 40 appearances for a $9 million club option (with a $2 million buyout) for 2021 to become guaranteed, provided he is healthy on Opening Day 2021.

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