The Rockies have agreed to a deal with closer Wade Davis, per a tweet from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The deal is for three years and a staggering $52 million, per another tweet from Passan. The $17.33 million average annual value is the highest ever for a reliever, Passan notes.
Davis’ deal includes a $15 million vesting option that will become a player option if Davis finishes 30 games for Colorado in 2020 and will become a mutual option with a $1 million buyout if he does not finish 30. All told, the deal can max out at $66 million over four seasons.
The Rox are clearly building a super-bullpen, with the addition of Davis following the signings of Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee to three-year, $27 million deals at the winter meetings. Davis, of course, will close for the Rockies after setting a career high with 32 saves last season for the Cubs He was his usual stingy self in the run-prevention department, permitting just a 2.30 ERA while striking out 12.1 batters per nine innings. However, he walked nearly 4.5 batters per nine innings, and also gave up six home runs, his career-worst as a reliever.
Davis will join a bullpen that serves to be a strength for the Rockies, with Shaw, McGee, Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn also helping to shut down opponents in the back end of games. He will serve as a direct replacement for free-agent closer Greg Holland, who is expected to sign a multi-year deal after a career resurgence in Denver last season.
With Davis off the board, teams will turn their attention to Holland and ex-Red Sox righty Addison Reed as the two best bullpen options left on the board. The Nationals, Cardinals and Cubs were all rumored to be in on Davis, so those clubs could turn their attention elsewhere now.
Davis is the second free agent with draft pick compensation attached to him to sign this winter, joining new Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana. Colorado will forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft, their second-round selection, while the Cubs will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B.
For a complete list of every move this winter, be sure to check out our free-agent tracker.