Rockies owner Dick Monfort made good on his promise to spend in free agency

Colorado is projected to have an opening day payroll of $124.2 million. If that numbers holds, it will represent a 9.3 percent increase from 2016.

Colorado Rockies vs San Diego Padres. June 10, 2016.  (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)colorado rockies; baseball; sports; coors field; denver; colorado; denverite
Colorado Rockies vs San Diego Padres. June 10, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colorado rockies; baseball; sports; coors field; denver; colorado; denverite
Colorado Rockies vs San Diego Padres. June 10, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

In an October letter to season ticket holders, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort indicated that he was going to open up his checkbook in free agency.

“You have invested in us and we will continue to invest in you, both in terms of growing our player payroll and providing the best service and ballpark experience in sports,” Monfort wrote.

With roughly two weeks until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, it’s evident Monfort has made good on his pledge.

The Rockies began the offseason by signing Ian Desmond (five years, $70 million) to play first base, then inked relievers Mike Dunn (three years, $19 million) and Greg Holland, who will make $7 million in guaranteed money in 2017 with the potential to earn much more down the road.

Colorado is projected to have an opening day payroll of $124.2 million. If that number holds, it will represent a 9.3 percent increase from the Rockies’ 2016 opening day payroll of $112.56 million.

The Rockies finished 75-87 last year, which was their best record since the 2010 season. Colorado was a dark horse in the National League Wild Card race into early September, but the team ultimately couldn’t overcome rookie shortstop Trevor Story’s season-ending thumb injury and repeated bullpen meltdowns.

Story is healthy now. And the Rockies are hoping that the additions of Holland, who was one of the best relievers in baseball before he had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2015, and Dunn can solidify a bullpen that ranked last in ERA (5.13) and blew 28 saves a season ago.

Plenty of question marks remain. Desmond, previously a shortstop and outfielder, has never played first base at the major-league level. How will he adjust? Holland hasn’t pitched in a real game since September 2015. How will he fare? The starting pitching rotation — Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis and German Marquez/Jeff Hoffman — looks like Colorado’s most talented staff in years. But how will that talent translate at Coors Field?

Even so, several Rockies said Saturday that with the strides made last season and the offseason additions, the playoffs are within reach.

“It’s definitely a goal of ours,” Story said. “That’s not the only goal either. We talk back and forth about it. Me and Nolan (Arenado), and me and D.J. (LeMahieu) and me and Chatty (Tyler Chatwood). We know about where we want to be, and that’s ultimately winning the whole thing. We get excited talking about that stuff. We’re ready to get to spring training.”

Monfort wrote in his October letter that the team would work hard “to put the right pieces in place to make postseason baseball a reality in 2017 and beyond.”

He spent liberally to acquire those pieces. Now it’s time to see how they fit together.

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Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food.