Having already agreed to long-term deals that will keep Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon in a Rockies uniform over the long-run, the franchise has now added right-handed starting pitcher German Marquez to the list of lengthy commitments.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed that Marquez a five-year, $43 million contract that buys out his first potential year of free agency. Rosenthal reports the deal includes an escalator clause if he wins a Cy Young award that will add $1 million in both the fifth year and an option year if he finishes first in the voting or $500,000 for finishing second through fifth.
The option is a club option and bests if he finishes in the top three in Cy Young voting twice during the term of the contract.
Left-hander Kyle Freeman and Marquez are the foundation for a Rockies rotation that led the NL in innings pitched last year, and was the key part of the team claiming an wild-card spot for the second year in a row. Marquez set a franchise record with 230 strikeouts in 196 innings. He was 14-11 with a 3.77 ERA in his second full big-league season.
A native of Venezuela, Marquez originally signed with Tampa Bay as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2011, but was acquired by the Rockies along with left-hganded reliever Jake McGee on Jan. 28, 2016 for outfielder Corey Dickerson, and infield Kevin Padlo. Dickerson, who the Rays did not retain after the 2017 season, was an All-Star with the Pirates last season.
He initially pitched in the minor leagues after being acquired by the Rockies, and was a combined 11-6 with Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque in 2016 before receiving a September call up. As a rookie in 2017, he led Major League rookie pitchers with 14 quality starts and 147 strikeouts. Last year, he and Freeland became the first Rockies duo to both have at least 20 quality starts in a season. Marquez had 20 and Freeland 24.
Blackmon signed a six-year, $108 million deal at the start of last season, and Arenado agreed to an eight-year, $260 million package this spring that has the second highest annual average value among position players to $12-year, $426.5 million deal Mike Trout signed with the Angels during spring training. Both Blackmon and Arenado can opt out of their contracts after the 2021 season, which is also when the current Basic Agreement expires.