Wednesday Rockpile: Is a Cal Quantrill extension worth it?

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies
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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A few weeks ago I wrote the argument that Cal Quantrill is a great trade chip if the Colorado Rockies allow him to be one. My purpose was to highlight the two sides of the argument for the Rockies as to why they would trade him and why they wouldn’t trade him. There has been promising news on that front as the Rockies are reportedly willing to listen to offers for Quantrill, but with a year of team control the ball is still in their court.

Today, we’ll expand on the latter part of that argument and entertain this idea of a potential extension to ask the same question I’ve written about many times before; is an extension worth it?

There’s been no question that Quantrill has been the Rockies’ most consistent and reliable pitcher this season. Even though he had an unusually rough outing against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, Quantrill still leads the team in innings pitched (102 13 ) and ERA (4.13) while remaining competitive in almost every other category. He’s turned out to be a quality bargain pickup for what he has provided value-wise, all while pitching in a difficult ballpark like Coors Field.

A major factor that is likely the most attractive to the Rockies has been a career-high 46.4% groundball rate from Quantrill. His ability to induce weak contact and groundballs aplenty by locating pitches down in the zone is likely to trigger Pavlovian responses from Bud Black and other top brass. Quantrill represents a prototypical starting pitcher that the Rockies have been pursuing for a long time.

Sure, always being reliant on ground balls is a risky ploy, but with an excellent defense playing in the field, it helps mitigate a lot of that risk and makes his 4.59 FIP that much easier to reconcile with to digest. His renewed use of the splitter has helped him regain his ability to get strikeouts this season as he’s up to a 17.5% strikeout rate, the highest it’s been since 2021. Yes, his career-high 9.0% walk rate is concerning, but Quantrill’s other traits have helped keep that from burning him too badly thanks to double-play balls and battling through jams.

There are also the intangibles that don’t show up on a stat sheet that the Rockies have benefited from thanks to Quantrill. His competitive spirit and bulldog mentality has been a major factor in his success as a pitcher. Quantrill is not easily phased or daunted by the challenge of pitching in Colorado. Once he had arrived before the season, he immediately started picking the brains of the elder statesman to learn about pitching at Coors Field. It has paid off with a 4.00 ERA at home (which includes the one start in Mexico City) and a fairly even split on the road. Quantrill has proven capable of pitching effectively home and away and much of it is that he doesn’t let things get to him, especially the offensive prospects of pitching at home.

That mentality is something the Rockies have struggled to foster in their history. So much is overblown about pitching at Coors Field and the altitude that it has often negatively affected pitchers and the team has done little to rectify that fact. The mentality for Quantrill is a valuable trait of leadership that the team could definitely use as a slew of young pitchers are on the horizon for the team.

Now, what would an extension look like? Quantrill is earning a little over $6 million this year which is more of a bargain considering what starting pitchers were getting on the free-agent market. The way he has been pitching, it stands to reason that Quantrill could earn at least $8 million in his final year of arbitration. However, there is a real possibility that the Rockies could try to extend Quantrill for something along the lines of a three-year, $30 million extension with a $10 million AAV. It buys out his final year of team control and two years of free agency taking him through his age 32 season.

While something like that isn’t a bad deal cost-wise and Quantrill as proven valuable in Colorado, I’m still of the opinion that they need to trade him and that an extension isn’t worth it. The Rockies need to continue to restock pieces and cycle through younger talent. There are a number of intriguing starters for the future rapidly making their way to the big leagues and the rotation is already clogged up. Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela (who has yet to return from injuries) are signed through 2026 at least, Germán Márquez is set to return from Tommy John surgery soon and he’s signed through 2025 and the Rockies have to figure out what they want to do with Austin Gomber who still has a year of control.

As mentioned before, Quantrill is a luxury that the Rockies haven’t earned the right to keep long-term. Whether they refer to it as a rebuild or a reconstruction, the fact of the matter is that the team is bad and has to build for the future. Quantrill is a piece you acquire with the hope of flipping him as soon as you can for something new to add to your depth. For the betterment of the team, it’s prudent that the Rockies forego an extension and trade him at their earliest convenience over these next few weeks.

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Scott Oberg embracing ‘special’ opportunity to give back to Rockies | Denver Gazette

Luke Zahlmann caught up with former Rockies reliever and current special advisor working for the team, Scott Oberg who is relishing his chance to share his knowledge with a new generation of Rockies pitchers.

MLB All-Star rosters: Ranking every team’s biggest snub | Fox Sports

As much as the conversation revolves around who got the nod for the All-Star game, just as much goes into talking about who didn’t get in. For the Rockies, Brenton Doyle gets the recognition in this article, especially after winning NL Player of the Week. Ezequiel Tovar and Elias Diaz both get a mention.

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On the Farm

Triple-A: Tacoma Rainiers 10, Albuquerque Isotopes 9

Jimmy Herron collected four hits, including a home run while Grant Lavigne hit a three-run homer as the Isotopes tallied nine runs on 14 hits but fell just one shy due to a three-run eighth inning by Tacoma. Peyton Battenfield battled through five innings, giving up five runs, three earned. Riley Pint ran into trouble in the eighth, walking a pair but getting two outs with a run scored before he was relieved by Chance Adams who then gave up a two-run home run to suffer the loss.

Double-A: Portland Sea Dogs 7, Hartford Yard Goats 3

In what could be his final rehab start, Germán Márquez allowed three runs over five innings, giving up just four hits while striking out eight batters and issuing no walks. Warming Bernabel turned in a three-hit day while Braxton Fulford drove in a pair of runs.

High-A: Everett AquaSox 6, Spokane Indians 3

Futures Game All-Star Chase Dollander worked just three innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two and recording nine strikeouts. He threw 71 pitches before being relieved by Braxton Hyde who gave up two runs on five hits in three innings of work. Brayan Castillo struck out six in two shutout innings, giving the Indians a chance to tie things up at three in the seventh inning thanks to EJ Andrews Jr. as part of his two-hit day. In extra-innings, the AquaSox got after Luis Amoroso, scoring three runs on a pair of doubles and a single.

Low-A: Lake Elsinore Storm 13, Fresno Grizzlies 5

Despite giving up five runs, Alberto Pacheco pitched into the sixth inning and left with a tie game. Brady Hill ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up five runs and recording just one out in the sixth. Darius Perry led the way offensively with a pair of hits, including a double, and two RBI as the Grizzlies had eight hits in the game.

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Title: Wednesday Rockpile: Is a Cal Quantrill extension worth it?
Author: Skyler Timmins

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