For small and medium market clubs, periods of prolonged contention rarely exist. Instead, they come in cycles that those clubs have to take advantage of when the opportunity arises.
After spending seven years of playing irrelevant baseball, the Colorado Rockies’ window finally opened. The club started the season as one of the best in baseball with a balanced lineup, a lights-out bullpen, and excellent performances from four rookie starting pitchers. On June 20th, the Rockies had the second-best record in the majors and led the NL West by half a game over the Dodgers. But the club eventually cooled down as the line-up became imbalanced and the entire staff tired. The Rockies still grabbed the second wildcard spot and a spot in the one-off playoff game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite the best efforts of the offense to keep the Rockies in the game throughout, the Diamondbacks early offensive attack was too much to overcome, and the Rockies lost.
After the playoff appearance, general manager Jeff Bridich prioritized improving the bullpen and made three big signings in Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee. Combined, the Rockies could pay up to $134m for the three over the next 4 seasons, including $30.5m paid out this season. Despite the departure of starters Carlos Gonzalez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Mark Reynolds, the club only signed catcher Chris Iannetta. But by investing heavily in the bullpen, the Rockies made a statement that now is the time.