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Inbox: Which young players will step up in '19?

Beat reporter Thomas Harding answers Colorado fans' questions
MLB.com

DENVER -- The first offseason installment of the Rockies Inbox is chock full of questions about players who could be making an impact in 2019.

DENVER -- The first offseason installment of the Rockies Inbox is chock full of questions about players who could be making an impact in 2019.

Tweet from @colohockeygirl: I have 2 pitcher questions. Is Estevez expected to be healthy and part of the team next year? Also, what happened to Hoffman? I was kind of surprised he wasn���t called up at the end of the year when the Rox were desperate for a fill-in starter.

Carlos Estevez suffered a couple of freak injuries -- an oblique strain when he bent to pick up a ball while playing catch in Spring Training and a right elbow strain when he pushed to get up off the bench after pitching in a game at Albuquerque. He was healthy enough to finish the Triple-A season, but his strike-throwing was not at a level that justified a callup.

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As for Jeff Hoffman, after seeing his decidedly mixed performance in the Major League bullpen, the Rockies judged him to strictly be a starter. Hoffman had a mixed second half at Albuquerque (6.06 ERA but with several stellar performances), and when the Minor League season ended in early September, there wasn't a spot for him in the rotation. When they were short a starter on Sept. 25, that was way after Hoffman's season had ended so they went with Chad Bettis in the 10-3 win over the Phillies.

Both pitchers will be expected to compete for the Opening Day roster next season. Going into 2018, Estevez had one Minor League option and Hoffman had two. The official MLB ruling on options for next season will be made after the World Series.

Tweet from @CharlieDrysdale: What's the plan with Tapia in 19? Has only 1 option left, had 27 PA's in 25 games. Was a top 100 prospect by Prospectus 4 years in a row. Has a career MiLB avg of .319. Finished this season with same OPS+ as Parra.

Once the Rockies signed Carlos Gonzalez in March, Raimel Tapia's opportunity to break into the regular lineup to start the season disappeared, then David Dahl emerged and surpassed him. Whatever the OPS+ comparison over Gerardo Parra's full season and Tapia's partial one, Parra slashed .292/.469/.417 in his 24 plate appearances as a substitute in the second half and earned trust in those situations.

Do the Rockies go back to Parra or even Gonzalez as an outfield bench bat? It's a similar situation to the one at the starting second base job; do you go with a veteran or turn it over to Tapia after years of development in the system? For his part, Tapia is working to become stronger and faster for next season.

Tweet from @JWMountain1: Does Brendan Rodgers make a meaningful impact in 19? Does he make the opening day roster or begin the year in Albuquerque?

The guess here is Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies' No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, would begin next season in Triple-A, unless he becomes Trevor Story of 2016 in Spring Training and forces a decision. Rodgers had an excellent performance at Double-A Hartford, but recurring hamstring issues slowed his performance at Albuquerque and kept him out of the Arizona Fall League.

Tweet from @SamCampfield: Can you please inform us about the Rockies TV deal. It's been one of the worst in baseball. Any chance that changes it improves soon? RSN's are one of the most important things in baseball and I'd love to learn more about the Rockies position.

The Rockies' television deal runs through 2020. And to your point about its worth, here is a 2016 Fangraphs article that ranks the clubs' television contracts by estimated revenue for the club. The Rays, listed below the Rockies by Fangraphs, have since signed a new contract.

If current trends hold, the Rockies and several other teams with expiring TV deals could see revenue bumps, in part because MLB has been a leader in technology and viewership trends.

Tweet from @JJGill7: I���m a season ticket holder. I���ve called inquiring whether we���ll see ticket price increases. I���m willing if we lock Nolan longterm and sign DJ asap. Any ���insider��� info???

My job would be a heck of a lot easier if I sat in on their meetings. But could a potential new TV deal mentioned above make signing Nolan Arenado to a multi-year deal possible? Certainly. To me, DJ LeMahieu comes down to the Rockies deciding if they want to compete on the market or if they feel comfortable turning over second base to Garrett Hampson. It's always a decision in a draft-and-develop organization.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Jeff Hoffman, Gerardo Parra, Raimel Tapia

AL, NL Reliever of the Year finalists revealed

Diaz, Treinen, Kimbrel in AL; Hader, Jansen, Davis in NL
MLB.com

The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, both presented by The Hartford, are scheduled to be presented Oct. 27 at Game 4 of the 114th World Series.

From now until 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 26 -- the date for World Series Game 3 -- you can submit a pair of names at MLB.com to determine who the fans believe should be the winners. Balloting for the awards will be conducted among a panel of eight all-time great relievers. Rivera and Hoffman, both of whom spent their entire careers in one league en route to the top of the all-time saves list, are joined by three Hall of Fame relievers -- Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter -- as well as Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. The panel includes the six all-time saves leaders who are no longer active players.

The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, both presented by The Hartford, are scheduled to be presented Oct. 27 at Game 4 of the 114th World Series.

From now until 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 26 -- the date for World Series Game 3 -- you can submit a pair of names at MLB.com to determine who the fans believe should be the winners. Balloting for the awards will be conducted among a panel of eight all-time great relievers. Rivera and Hoffman, both of whom spent their entire careers in one league en route to the top of the all-time saves list, are joined by three Hall of Fame relievers -- Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter -- as well as Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. The panel includes the six all-time saves leaders who are no longer active players.

Submit your choices for Relievers of the Year

The eight voters rank the top three AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular-season performance and using a 5-3-1 weighted point system. Commissioner Rob Manfred and an executive from The Hartford typically present the honors along with the awards' namesake closers.

Video: Diaz nominated for 2018 AL Reliever of the Year

This has become a tradition during each Fall Classic, as these Reliever of the Year Awards in 2014 replaced the Delivery Man of the Year Award, which had been presented to one winner from 2005-13. The awards continue a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game's top bullpen arms. Here's a look at this year's top contenders:

Video: Davis nominated for 2018 NL Reliever of the Year

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Edwin Diaz, Mariners: Diaz threatened the all-time single-season mark for saves (62 by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008), finishing with 57 on the season for the Mariners. That tied Bobby Thigpen (1990 White Sox) for the second-highest single-season save total in MLB history. Overall, Diaz posted a 1.96 ERA in 73 appearances, striking out 124 of the 280 batters he faced (44.3 percent).

Blake Treinen, Athletics: Treinen was a revelation for the upstart A's, who shocked the baseball world by winning 97 games and reaching the postseason. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 0.78 ERA with 38 saves for Oakland, fanning 100 of the 315 batters he faced (31.8 percent), while walking just 21.

Video: Treinen nominated for 2018 AL Reliever of the Year

Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox: Kimbrel was once again excellent for the 108-win Red Sox, being named an All-Star for the seventh time in his nine-year career. He posted a 2.74 ERA with 42 saves and struck out 96 of the 247 batters he faced (38.9 percent). He won the Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award last year, and the Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award in 2014 while with the Braves.

Video: Kimbrel nominated for 2018 AL Reliever of the Year

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Josh Hader, Brewers: Hader was one of the most dominant relievers in the NL during the 2018 season, as part of an elite Brewers bullpen that helped Milwaukee win the NL Central for the first time since 2011. The 24-year-old left-hander finished with a 2.43 ERA in 55 appearances, striking out nearly half of the batters he faced (46.7 percent). He also set an expansion-era MLB record by fanning 16 consecutive batters over five appearances in September. His 143 strikeouts are also a single-season record for a left-handed reliever.

Video: Hader nominated for 2018 NL Reliever of the Year

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers: Jansen has become a perennial candidate for the Reliever of the Year Award, and 2018 was no exception. The 31-year-old right-hander battled some health issues toward the end of the season, but still posted a 3.01 ERA with 38 saves for the NL West champion Dodgers. He has won the last two Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Awards.

Video: Kenley Jansen nominated for NL Reliever of the Year

Wade Davis, Rockies: In his first season with the Rockies, Davis had some ups and downs, but still led the NL with 43 saves. Though his ERA was 4.13, his FIP was 3.65 and his WHIP was 1.06, as he continued to demonstrate why he is one of the game's best closers.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Kyle Freeland showed off some basketball skills for the fans at the Denver Nuggets game

Kyle Freeland finished the season boasting a 2.85 ERA with 173 strikeouts in 202 1/3 innings. Not bad -- not bad at all. Now that the offseason is upon him, he decided to stop by for an evening with the Denver Nuggets. And it turns out, Freeland can ball.

Here's what happened in Saturday's AFL action

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Saturday:

Gameday: Peoria 6, Salt River 5 | Scottsdale 9, Surprise 7 (11) | Mesa 11, Glendale 8

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Saturday:

Gameday: Peoria 6, Salt River 5 | Scottsdale 9, Surprise 7 (11) | Mesa 11, Glendale 8

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Santiago Espinal, Blue Jays No. 22 prospect, hit a triple and scored two runs as part of a 2-for-5 showing for the Saguaros. Jackson McClelland struck out a pair in 1 2/3 hitless frames out of the bullpen. The right-hander has now allowed a hit in 5 2/3 innings (three appearances) this fall.

Orioles (Glendale)
Baltimore's No. 12 prospect, center fielder Ryan McKenna, went 2-for-5 with two triples, two RBIs and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. He's slashing .318/.423/.638 for a 1.059 OPS in AFL play. Right-hander Tanner Chleborad gave up a run on four hits over two relief innings, striking out one.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox went 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs and an RBI out of the leadoff spot. He also stole a base, his sixth in eight games, during which he's hit .412 with 14 hits and 11 runs scored. Javelinas starter Matt Krook earned the win after allowing one earned run on one hit over three innings. He issued two walks, struck out three and recorded five ground-ball outs.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Second baseman Esteban Quiroz was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, dropping his AFL average to .188. Left-hander Josh Taylor came out off the bullpen to throw a scoreless seventh inning.

Yankees (Glendale)
Shortstop Thairo Estrada, the Yankees' No. 16 prospect, was 1-for-4 with a single. First baseman Steven Sensley was 2-for-5 with a pair of singles to up his AFL average to .242. On the pitching side of the ledger, right-hander Jordan Foley started and surrendered five runs on four hits over two innings, walking one and getting strikeouts on five of the six outs he recorded. Righty Kyle Zurak was hit hard as well, giving up four runs (two earned) over a third of an inning out of the bullpen, giving up three hits and walking two.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Third baseman Yu Chang, Cleveland's No. 6 prospect, turned in an impressive 3-for-4 performance, with a double, RBI and run scored. Right fielder Connor Marabell was 1-for-5 with a single and an RBI. And left-hander Rob Kaminsky was the final pitcher out of the bullpen for Glendale, tossing a scoreless eighth inning, allowing a hit and fanning two.

Royals (Surprise)
Meibris Viloria walked and struck out twice as he finished 0-for-3, while speedster Nick Heath tallied a single in four at-bats and was walked. On the mound, Scott Blewett allowed one earned run on three hits in his second AFL start. Tossing 3 1/3 frames, the Royals' No. 26 prospect issued three walks and struck out a pair.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron, Detroit's No. 8 prospect, played center field and had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and three runs scored. No. 12 prospect Jake Rogers went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Right-hander Sandy Baez, the Tigers' No. 26 prospect, surrendered three runs on three hits in the ninth inning. Right-hander Eduardo Jimenez tossed two scoreless innings of relief, yielding three hits and striking out two. And right-hander John Schreiber came on in relief to pitch a scoreless eighth with a strikeout.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn drove in a pair of runs, doubled and went 1-for-4 out of the leadoff spot for the Rafters.

White Sox (Glendale)
Chicago's No. 9 prospect, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, had two singles and an RBI as part of a 2-for-4 effort, upping his AFL average to .278. No. 28 prospect Lax Rivera started at second base and went 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI. Right-hander Danny Dopico tossed 1 2/3 scoreless frames out off the bullpen, walking one and fanning two.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Oakland's No. 30 prospect, outfielder Skye Bolt, went 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk and is hitting .333 so far in AFL play.

Angels (Mesa)
After striking out five in three shutout frames in his first Fall League start, 23-year-old right-hander Jesus Castillo got roughed up on Saturday, giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and walk over three innings while striking out just one. On the offensive end, however, a trio of Angels contributed to Mesa's 11-8 win. The team's No. 4 prospect, Jahmai Jones, notched his second straight multihit game, and third in seven games, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs out of the DH spot. Infielders David MacKinnon and Roberto Baldoquin each went 1-for-4 with a run scored, with Baldoquin also driving in a run. MacKinnon's hit was his first of the AFL season, after starting 0-for-10. Baldoquin's hit was his second. He entered the game with one hit in 13 at-bats.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Ronnie Dawson was a game-changer on the basepaths as he swiped four bags in as many chances. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks, giving the outfielder a .296 average and seven steals in the AFL. Abraham Toro-Hernandez was 2-for-5, and Erasmo Pinales contributed with a scoreless frame out of the bullpen.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 9 prospect Wyatt Mills lowered his ERA to 1.59 with a perfect inning out of the bullpen. David McKay added a scoreless frame, pitching around a hit. Ian Miller (No. 20) came up empty in four trips to the plate from the bottom of the lineup.

Rangers (Surprise)
Yanio Perez plated a run with a sacrifice fly but went 0-for-3 as the Saguaros' designated hitter. Demarcus Evans was sharp out of the bullpen as he recorded four of his five outs via strikeout while tossing 1 2/3 hitless innings. Rangers No. 15 prospect C.D. Pelham was tagged for two earned runs on three hits in 1 1/3 frames.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
After entering in relief in the fifth inning, Braves No. 12 prospect Kyle Muller delivered two one-hit frames with three strikeouts and two walks. At the plate, Braxton Davidson went 0-for-2 but walked three times.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 11 prospect Brian Miller scored two runs, going 1-for-3, and reached with a walk. He also swiped a bag, his second in 10 games after racking up 40 steals across two levels during the regular season. Kyle Keller, Tommy Eveld and Chad Smith combined for four scoreless frames out of the Rafters 'pen.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso (No. 58 overall) connected on his third AFL home run, as his tape-measure two-run shot in the ninth helped the Scorpions force extra innings. The homer was Alonso's lone hit in six at-bats. Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez (No. 55 overall) went 0-for-4 with a walk from the bottom of the lineup.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom (No. 37 overall) went 1-for-4 with a walk, his first Fall League RBI and stolen base. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) doubled and scored a run as part of a 1-for-3 showing, while Jake Noll struck out twice in four trips to the plate.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Darick Hall put the Scorpions on the board against Surprise with a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning. It was the second AFL homer for Hall, who went deep 26 times across two levels during the regular season. Outfielder Austin Listi went 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. On the mound, Luke Leftwich (BB) and Jonathan Hennigan (2 K) each posted a scoreless frame, with the latter earning the save.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura (No. 30 overall) has multiple hits in four of eight games in the AFL after his second two-hit showing in as many days. He finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double that pushed his AFL-leading RBI total to 17. Trent Grisham (Brewers' No. 19) and Weston Wilson both had RBI singles.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Saguaros leadoff man Tommy Edman went 1-for-4 with his first AFL double and also picked up his fourth steal. Second baseman Andy Young delivered a solo shot in the sixth inning for his first Fall League homer and finished 1-for-3 with two walks. The Cardinals middle-infield tandem is hitting .333 and .381, respectively, this fall. Lane Thomas drove in a run with a sacrifice fly but was 0-for-4.

Cubs (Mesa)
Chicago's No. 6 prospect, second baseman Nico Hoerner, bounced back from an 0-for-4 line on Friday by going 2-for-3 with a triple, homer and three RBIs. Left fielder D.J. Wilson, the Cubs' No. 16 prospect, went 1-for-4 with a single and two runs scored. And right-hander Bailey Clark pitched a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker started the scoring for Surprise with a two-out, two-run double in the first inning, and then helped force extra innings with a single in the bottom of the ninth. He finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Will Craig (No. 16) was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Relievers Matt Eckelman (IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER) and Geoff Hartlieb (2 IP,4 H, 3 R, 1 ER) both scuffled.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 3 prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 17 overall) drove home the game-winning run in the 11th inning to cap a 4-for-6, two-RBI performance. Shed Long (No. 8) walked twice and scored two runs out of the leadoff spot.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 5 prospect Daulton Varsho upped his Fall League average to .353 with a 2-for-4 performance. Drew Ellis (No. 9) plated two runs with a double in the fourth inning. Bo Takahashi struck out two of the three batters he faced during a perfect inning in relief.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 2 prospect (No. 39 prospect overall) Keibert Ruiz went 1-for-4 with a single, walk and two runs scored. Cody Thomas was Glendale's designated hitter, going 1-for-5 with a single, RBI and run scored. And right-hander Andre Scrubb pitched a scoreless fifth inning to lower his AFL ERA to 4.15.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Matt Winn reached base twice via a walk and scored a run before finishing 0-for-3. Chase Johnson struck out a pair during a scoreless inning in relief, while Giants No. 19 prospect Melvin Adon bumped triple digits during his appearance later in the game. Sam Wolff earned the win despite permitting an unearned run in the 10th inning.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 25 prospect Austin Allen produced exit velocities of 106.9 mph (double to right field) and 112.5 mph (lineout to center). Hudson Potts (No. 23) also hit a double, as both players finished 2-for-4. Buddy Reed (No. 13) reached on a walk, stole a base and scored a run. Relievers Travis Radke and Dauris Valdez each allowed two earned runs in one inning.

Rockies (Salt River)
Rockies No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin went 1-for-4, while Sam Hilliard (No. 9) finished 0-for-5. Starter Ryan Castellani (No. 10) could not complete two innings, as he was chased after he allowed five earned runs on four hits and four walks in 1 2/3 frames. Jesus Tincoco (No. 20) allowed a run on three hits with three strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings, and Justin Lawrence (No. 17) added a scoreless frame later in the game.

Each team's most exciting postseason win

MLB.com

I don't know about you, but I'm still shaking from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros on Wednesday night -- an epic game with constant twists and turns, controversies and an unforgettable ending. That's the reason postseason baseball is so electrifying, and we'll be lucky to have another game even close to it this October.

But the crazy question is this even among the five most memorable Red Sox postseason victories? They've had a lot.

I don't know about you, but I'm still shaking from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros on Wednesday night -- an epic game with constant twists and turns, controversies and an unforgettable ending. That's the reason postseason baseball is so electrifying, and we'll be lucky to have another game even close to it this October.

But the crazy question is this even among the five most memorable Red Sox postseason victories? They've had a lot.

Thus, today at The Thirty, inspired by that game, we're taking a look at the most exciting postseason win of the divisional era (since 1969) for each MLB team. This isn't necessarily the biggest win or most important win. It's just the most viscerally exciting one. Every team's got at least one. Some have plenty.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: 1993 World Series, Game 6: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6
There's actually a temptation here to go with Game 4 of this series, when the Blue Jays scored six runs in the eighth inning to take a 15-14 lead that would become the final score … but come on, a ninth-inning comeback that ends in a World Series title has to be the pick.

Video: '93 WS, Gm 6 PHI@TOR: Carter's walk-off WS homer

Orioles: 1969 ALCS, Game 2: Orioles 1, Twins 0 (11 innings)
How different was baseball 50 years ago? Orioles pitcher Dave McNally threw an 11-inning shutout in the first-ever ALCS. The Orioles won on a walkoff single by Curt Motton, who had 89 career RBIs over eight seasons. He got the hit off Ron Perranoski, the game's first reliever, who came in with two outs in the 11th.

Rays: 2008 ALCS, Game 2: Rays 9, Red Sox 8 (11 innings)
After losing Game 1 at home to the defending champs, the Rays fell behind 2-0 and 3-2, blew leads of 5-3 and 8-6, yet somehow hung in through 11 innings -- thanks in part to secret weapon rookie David Price -- before winning on Melvin Upton Jr.'s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The Rays would take a 3-1 series lead before finally eking out the series in Game 7.

Red Sox: 2004 ALCS, Game 4: Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 (12 innings)
It's not like the Game 5 14-inning marathon wasn't a stunner either, but the Dave Roberts steal is going to live longer than all of us.

Video: 2004 ALCS Gm 4: Roberts sets up, scores tying run

Yankees: 2001 World Series, Game 5: Yankees 3, D-backs 2 (12 innings)
So many games this series to pick from, but this is the one that had Yankee Stadium roaring the loudest.

Video: 2001WS Gm5: Brosius ties the game in the 9th

AL CENTRAL

Indians: 1995 World Series, Game 3: Indians 7, Braves 6 (11 innings)
It ended with Eddie Murray's walk-off single in the 11th, but it was wild long before that, with the Braves scoring three in the eighth to take their first lead of the game and the Indians tying it right back up in the next inning.

Royals: 2014 AL Wild Card Game: Royals 9, A's 8 (12 innings)
No Denkinger Game here. The Royals were toast in this game, trailing 7-3 headed into the bottom of the eighth. They scored three that inning, followed by the vroom-vroom Jarrod Dyson steal in the ninth that helped score the tying run. The A's then took the lead again in the top of the 12th, but the Royals won it in bottom half on Salvador Perez's single. They would win their next seven postseason games en route to the World Series.

Video: AL WC: Royals advance to ALDS on Perez's walk-off hit

Tigers: 1972 ALCS, Game 4: Tigers 4, A's 3 (10 innings)
No one remembers this game, mainly because the Tigers ended up losing the series, but the A's scored two in the top of the 10th to take a 3-1 lead. Detroit came back, largely because of an error by second baseman Gene Tenace, and won it on a walkoff single from Jim Northrup. This wild 10-inning postseason game still finished in three hours, four minutes, by the way.

Twins: 1991 World Series, Game 7: Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 innings)
Obviously.

White Sox: 2005 World Series, Game 3: White Sox 7, Astros 5 (14 innings)
Every game in this series was great -- it's the closest four-game sweep you'll ever see -- but this was the epic 14-inning game with Geoff Blum's homer in the top of the 14th that barely hung on. Forty-three players were used in this game.

AL WEST

Angels: 2002 World Series, Game 6: Angels 6, Giants 5
The Russ Ortiz keep-the-ball game, the Angels were down 5-0 and facing elimination heading into the bottom of the seventh. Two three-run innings later, they forced a Game 7 and won their first (and only) title.

Astros: 2017 World Series, Game 5: Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
We still can't believe this game happened.

Video: WS2017 Gm5: Astros come together to steal Game 5

Athletics: 1973 World Series, Game 3: A's 3, Mets 2 (11 innings)
It can be tough to pick one game when a team has lost 11 of its last 12 postseason series, so we'll go back to the 1970s, when the A's came back from a 2-0 deficit to win in the 11th inning in a game that featured Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando, Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson and Willie Mays.

Mariners: 1995 ALDS, Game 5: Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (11 innings)
We all just remember the walk-off now, but this game had five lead changes leading up to the final wild play.

Rangers: 2011 ALCS, Game 2: Rangers 7, Tigers 3 (11 innings)
This series, strangely, had two different extra-inning games that the Rangers won by four runs. This was the most thrilling one, ending on Nelson Cruz's grand slam off poor Ryan Perry.

Video: ALCS Gm2: Cruz wins it with a walk-off slam in 11th

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: 1992 National League Championship Series, Game 7: Braves 3, Pirates 2
Honestly, Pirates fans, I'm sorry to even bring this up.

Marlins: 2003 NLCS, Game 6: Marlins 8, Cubs 3
Sure, to Cubs fans this is a nightmare, but from the Marlins' perspective, this is one of the most amazing postseason comebacks of all time. (Sure, the answer here is probably Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, but that'd be too easy.

Mets: 1986 World Series, Game 6: Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (10 innings)
Authors have written novels specifically about this game.

Nationals: 2012 NLDS, Game 4: Nationals 2, Cardinals 1
A taut, well-pitched game that ended in Jayson Werth's big blast, which everyone thought would send the Nationals to the NLCS the next night (it didn't).

Phillies: 2008 NLCS, Game 4: Phillies 7, Dodgers 5
If you needed to explain the appeal of baseball to an alien, showing them the Matt Stairs homer in the eighth inning of this game would be a great place to start.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Stairs wallops a two-run homer to right

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: 1982 ALCS, Game 5: Brewers 4, Angels 3
The first World Series trip was clinched by Cecil Cooper's staggering single in the seventh inning of a decisive game.

Cardinals: 2011 World Series, Game 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11 innings)
The second-easiest call on this entire list.

Cubs: 2016 World Series, Game 7: Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10 innings)
The easiest call on this entire list.

Video: Must C Championship: Cubs win the 2016 World Series

Pirates: 1979 NLCS, Game 2: Pirates 3, Reds 2 (10 innings)
The day after an extra-inning game, the Pirates played another one -- a back-and-forth battle in which the Pirates took the lead on Dave Parker's RBI single in the 10th and held on with Don Robinson in the bottom half.

Reds: 1975 World Series, Game 7: Reds 4, Red Sox 3
The dirty secret is that this game was just as exciting as Game 6, but nobody talks about it nearly as much, because more people are from the Boston area than the Cincinnati area.

NL WEST

D-backs: 2001 World Series, Game 7: D-backs 3, Yankees 2
There are a shocking number of blown saves by Mariano Rivera on this list.

Video: Must C Classic: Gonzalez walks off, wins World Series

Dodgers: 1977 NLCS, Game 3: Dodgers 6, Phillies 5
The Kirk Gibson moment is the great moment, but this one, which featured a wild three-run comeback in the top of the ninth with two outs, may have been even more of a nail-biter.

Giants: 2014 NLDS, Game 2: Giants 2, Nationals 1 (18 innings)
It seems impossible that a postseason game could go 18 innings. The hero of this game remains Yusmiero Petit, who sneaked in a one-hitter over six innings before the Giants won it in the 18th.

Padres: 1984 NLCS, Game 5: Padres 6, Cubs 3
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth, but Leon Durham's error opened the floodgates, and the Padres were off to their first World Series.

Rockies: 2007 NL West Tiebreaker Game: Rockies 9, Padres 8 (13 innings)
Not technically a postseason game, but it doesn't matter, because Matt Holliday didn't touch the plate, and it didn't matter.

Video: Holliday scores the game-winning run

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Oh may leave Rockies to pitch in Korea again

Loss of right-hander could create issues for Colorado's bullpen
MLB.com

DENVER -- Righty relief pitcher Seunghwan Oh, who finished 2018 with 25 solid games with the Rockies, may desire a return to his native South Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday.

The Rockies' $2.5 million option on Oh's contract vested last season at 70 appearances (he appeared in a combined 73 games with the Blue Jays and the Rockies). Should the Rockies reach an agreement to let Oh leave, they would gain one more question with a bullpen that faces several. General manager Jeff Bridich could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the report regarding Oh.

DENVER -- Righty relief pitcher Seunghwan Oh, who finished 2018 with 25 solid games with the Rockies, may desire a return to his native South Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday.

The Rockies' $2.5 million option on Oh's contract vested last season at 70 appearances (he appeared in a combined 73 games with the Blue Jays and the Rockies). Should the Rockies reach an agreement to let Oh leave, they would gain one more question with a bullpen that faces several. General manager Jeff Bridich could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the report regarding Oh.

Oh, 36, pitched in the Majors for the last three seasons with the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Rockies, who acquired him from the Jays on July 26. He also spent the previous two years in Japan. While the Rockies hold a 2019 club option worth $2.5 million, Oh told Yonhap that a return home and to the Korean Baseball Organization is desirable.

"I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States," Oh said. "I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can't make this decision alone. I'll have to speak with my agency about next season.

"It's not easy living in a foreign country. You have to face the opposing hitters on the mound, and there are a lot of other things you have to battle off the field. Everything away from the stadium is an extension of competition."

Video: OAK@COL: Oh and his translator make Rockies debut

Before going to Japan and the U.S., Oh spent his entire nine-season KBO career with the Samsung Lions, and owns the league career saves record at 277. The Lions own his Korean rights. Should he return, he would have to serve a half-season KBO suspension, handed down in 2016, after being fined by a court on illegal overseas gambling charges.

Should the Rockies grant Oh his desire to go home, they face the prospect of losing two of their four most-trusted late-game right-handed relievers.

Oh went 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 24 strikeouts against seven walks in 21 1/3 innings pitched. Free-agent-to-be Adam Ottavino struck out 112 batters in 77 2/3 innings over 75 appearances. Oh, Ottavino, righty setup man Scott Oberg and righty closer Wade Davis were relied on repeatedly as the Rockies made a late charge to qualify for the posteason, where they defeated the Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game and were swept by the Brewers in the NL Division Series.

The Rockies will have to make financial decisions, and hope for better performance from some pitchers in whom they invested heavily, while forming the 2019 bullpen.

The Rockies signed relievers to three multi-year contracts last offseason, with mixed results. Davis is under a three-year, $52 million deal. Two relievers under three-year, $27 million contracts -- righty Bryan Shaw and lefty Jake McGee -- struggled to the point that they weren't on the NLDS roster. Additionally, lefty Mike Dunn, in the second year of a three-year, $19 million contract, struggled with left shoulder pain all year and underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

There are some building blocks.

• Davis, 33, despite a few spectacularly poor outings, set a club record with 43 saves and was scored upon once in his final 18 regular-season appearances.

• Oberg, headed into his age-29 season, was a revelation. He dealt with a slow start, a demotion to Triple-A Albuquerque and a back injury, but had a strong second half. He finished 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 57 strikeouts (against 12 walks) in 58 2/3 total innings.

• Lefty Chris Rusin, who turns 32 on Monday, struggled through oblique and foot injuries and had a subpar overall season (2-3, 6.09), but by year's end had worked his way back into late-game opportunities.

If the Rockies lose Oh and Ottavino, they would either need to obtain a veteran or hope for a quantum leap from a homegrown reliever to fill the void.

Righty Yency Almonte, 24 (1.84 ERA in 14 games) and lefty Harrison Musgrave (2-3, 4.63), who will be 27, showed promise as converted starters. Righty DJ Johnson, 28, pitched well enough in seven September appearances to earn an NLDS roster spot. But righty Carlos Estevez, who will be 24, battled oblique and elbow issues and never appeared in the Majors after spending parts of 2016 and 2017 with the Rockies.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Seunghwan Oh

Rockies' No. 2 prospect Welker takes big step

Third baseman, just turned 21, led California League in batting average
MLB.com

DENVER -- Third-base prospect Colton Welker was happy to establish himself in 2018 as an important part of the Rockies' next wave of infielders.

Welker, a fourth-round Draft pick in 2016, led the Class A Advanced California League in batting at .333 and rose to become Colorado's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Counting No. 1 prospect Brendan Rodgers, seven of the team's top 13 prospects are infielders. Welker and infielder Garrett Hampson (No. 4), who debuted in the Majors this season, were both taken in the 2016 Draft.

DENVER -- Third-base prospect Colton Welker was happy to establish himself in 2018 as an important part of the Rockies' next wave of infielders.

Welker, a fourth-round Draft pick in 2016, led the Class A Advanced California League in batting at .333 and rose to become Colorado's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Counting No. 1 prospect Brendan Rodgers, seven of the team's top 13 prospects are infielders. Welker and infielder Garrett Hampson (No. 4), who debuted in the Majors this season, were both taken in the 2016 Draft.

"You got guys like Hampson, who was at my level last year and just debuted this year who is just an all-around amazing player, a utility player who can play any infield position to a high level," said Welker, who turned 21 on Oct. 9. "You've got Brendan Rodgers, who's a phenom and is going to be a great player. We've got corner guys at every level. The future looks great in Colorado in my eyes."

Welker put himself squarely among the Rockies' top prospects with a solid season for Class A Advanced Lancaster that also included 45 extra-base hits (13 homers, 32 doubles) and 82 RBIs (good for fourth in the California League) while posting a .383 on-base percentage and .489 slugging percentage.

After being limited to 67 games at Class A Asheville in 2017, his first full pro season, by a lower abdominal injury, Welker appeared 114 times in '18. More games meant a greater opportunity to learn.

"I definitely had some goals this season that I accomplished -- to hit over .300," Welker said. "I think I'm a big-time average hitter, and the power will come as I get older. Just stick with my approach: balls in the gaps.

"I was born to hit for average, because of how my swing plays and how long my barrel stays in the zone. Eventually, it will lead to power as well. But as of right now, it will play at any level for the average."

Watch: MiLB Video

Senior player development director Zach Wilson liked Welker's endurance.

"What he did at that level was quite remarkable for a 20-year-old kid," Wilson said. "He has an advanced approach to hitting, a mature approach to defense and really stayed within himself throughout the entire season and playoffs."

Welker also demonstrated an ability to move his feet and a strong arm that suggest he can stay at third base as he advances.

"I'm really happy with how I played third base this year, because that was a big question mark coming into the year. 'Can he stick at third base?'" Welker said. "A lot of guys outgrow it or lose their feel a little bit. I don't want to be that guy."

Welker freely notes that he is a draftee out of high school while the Rockies have Nolan Arenado, an established star, at third base. Welker is more interested in following Arenado's example than one day vying for his job. For now, he is representing said high school -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Fla., which was affected by a shooting tragedy on Feb. 14.

Video: Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS alum Welker on tragedy

"The baseball team and the coaches, we talk frequently, and they're doing well over there, kind of turning the page," Welker said. "On my end, it's nice to perform and give people piece of mind to say, 'He went to our high school.'

"It's something good to talk about other than the mass shooting. I use that platform to broadcast the school in a good way, like Anthony Rizzo and other people like that."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies

This reliever will be in high demand this offseason

Data shows that Ottavino is among best in game out of bullpen
MLB.com

The most interesting reliever available in this offseason free-agent market has relatively uninspiring career stats, at least in a traditional sense. He's never had more than seven saves in a season. His career record is 17-20; his ERA is 3.68. He's never made an All-Star team, and he won't generate the same headlines as more celebrated arms like Andrew Miller and Zach Britton might.

Absolutely none of that matters, of course. In a market full of far bigger names and much flashier stats, the reliever who is going to get the contract that shocks you is going to be Adam Ottavino, for the past seven seasons a member of the Colorado Rockies. It's not entirely about what he's done; it's about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino's 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in '19, '20 and '21?

The most interesting reliever available in this offseason free-agent market has relatively uninspiring career stats, at least in a traditional sense. He's never had more than seven saves in a season. His career record is 17-20; his ERA is 3.68. He's never made an All-Star team, and he won't generate the same headlines as more celebrated arms like Andrew Miller and Zach Britton might.

Absolutely none of that matters, of course. In a market full of far bigger names and much flashier stats, the reliever who is going to get the contract that shocks you is going to be Adam Ottavino, for the past seven seasons a member of the Colorado Rockies. It's not entirely about what he's done; it's about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino's 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in '19, '20 and '21?

We'll get there. But let's start by pointing out just how strong Ottavino was this past season, when he very legitimately was one of the best relievers in the game.

In 2018, there were 91 relievers who faced 250 batters, or about three per team. We can attempt to look at their performance independent of defense or ballpark -- important, considering where Ottavino called home -- by looking at a Statcast™ quality-of-contact metric that accounts for strikeouts, walks and the exit velocity and launch angle allowed at the point of contact. It's called "Expected wOBA," and the Major League average for relievers is .304.

By that measure, the best relievers this year were:

.211 -- Edwin Diaz, Mariners
.227 -- Blake Treinen, A's
.229 -- Adam Ottavino, Rockies
.230 -- Josh Hader, Brewers
.236 -- Dellin Betances, Yankees
.241 -- Ryan Pressly, Twins/Astros
.244 -- Taylor Rogers, Twins
.247 -- Wade Davis, Rockies 

... and whether or not you're familiar with that particular metric, the names make sense. Diaz, Treinen and Hader just had three historically strong seasons by just about any measure. Betances bounced back from an up-and-down 2017 to strike out 115 in 66 2/3 innings for the Yankees, and we've been talking up Pressly as a breakout star for months. (What of the relatively unknown Rogers, you say? Perhaps we should be talking about him; he struck out 75 in 68 1/3 innings and allowed just three home runs.)

The point is that it's a list you want to be near the top of, and it might be about now that you're noticing that we're saying that Ottavino was essentially as good as Hader, so let's talk about that.

Video: NYM@COL: Ottavino K's Plawecki, the side in the 8th

Hader struck out more batters (46.7 percent) than Ottavino did (36.3 percent). He also walked fewer (9.8 percent) than Ottavino did (11.7 percent). Advantage: Hader.

But when contact was made, Ottavino was harder to square up. His 29.9 percent hard-hit rate was better than Hader's 31.8 percent; his 43 percent ground-ball rate was much higher than Hader's 28.9 percent.

Ottavino isn't as dominating as Hader, not in a pure strikeout sense. But there's value in preventing damage on batted balls, too, and thanks to inducing softer contact and keeping the ball on the ground more, Ottavino closed the gap. Hader may have been the National League's standout reliever in 2018; Ottavino wasn't far behind. 

Those numbers are not park-adjusted, remember, which means that so far, Ottavino hasn't been given any credit for the difficulties of his home park. (Not that he had many; he was actually much better at home this year, .124/.223/.195, than he was on the road, .184/.305/.272.)

If we go ahead and do that with a park-adjusted stat like OPS+, where 100 is "league average," we'll get some very similar names. Among all relievers who threw 50 innings this year:

14 OPS+ -- Jose Leclerc, Rangers
17 OPS+ -- Blake Treinen, A's
33 OPS+ -- Josh Hader, Brewers
33 OPS+ -- Edwin Diaz, Mariners
34 OPS+ -- Adam Ottavino, Rockies
37 OPS+ -- Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
40 OPS+ -- Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies

Ottavino is again in the top five, right by Treinen, Hader and Diaz. (LeClerc may be the best reliever you don't know, as he put up a 1.56 ERA and struck out 85 in 57 2/3 innings for Texas.)

So it's not at all hard to make the case that Ottavino was one of the five best regular relievers in the game in 2018, and therefore it's not that hard to look at the list of available free-agent relievers and show that he's going to be one of the most sought-after arms there. Let's take a somewhat-arbitrary list of the 10 biggest names who should be available this offseason, and compare Ottavino with each of them based on their 2018 stats. He fares very well.

Ottavino doesn't have the name value of many of those other guys, obviously, in part because he's never been a regular closer. Then again, name value isn't what sells in the market, either, especially when you realize that some of these pitchers are coming off extremely difficult seasons.

Greg Holland, for example, is best known as a Kansas City postseason hero. But he missed all of 2016 due to injury, had a great first half of '17 as Ottavino's teammate with Colorado, then struggled down the stretch, had a 7.92 ERA with St. Louis last season and was designated for assignment in July. (He surfaced with Washington and was somewhat better.) Holland's former teammate on those clubs, Kelvin Herrera, saw his strikeout rate drop from 30.4 percent in '16 to 20.8 percent this year, thanks in part to a right shoulder problem, even before season-ending foot surgery.

Miller missed time this year with injuries to his left hamstring, right knee and throwing shoulder, while posting his lowest strikeout rate since becoming a reliever in 2012. His running mate in Cleveland, Cody Allen, just put up a 4.70 ERA amidst a big home run problem. 

Britton missed much of 2017 with a forearm strain, then didn't start his '18 until June after an offseason Achilles tear. While he was his usual groundballing self with the Yankees, he also struck out only 19.8 percent of hitters, a far cry from his elite 31.2 percent mark in '15. Jeurys Familia, meanwhile, has missed time with arm injuries in each of the past two years, though his performance for the Mets and A's was still solid.

That's not to say that none of these guys had good years -- Justin Wilson and David Robertson each did -- or that Ottavino is immune from health issues himself. (He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed a few weeks with an oblique strain suffered in May.) 

Video: SD@COL: Ottavino strikes out Pirela, side in the 9th

It's not that Ottavino was always this good, either, which is why his career stats don't mean all that much. Last offseason, he famously set up shop in a vacant storefront in Manhattan and set to work with high-tech cameras in an attempt to improve his pitches.

"Sometimes what your brain is telling you is happening is not really happening," Ottavino told FanGraphs earlier this year. "[The high-speed] cameras cut the timeline down immensely. [Without the cameras,] it's trial and error that could have taken years. But with the cameras, it was like four days and I was on the right track."

In 2016, Ottavino threw first-pitch strikes just 47 percent of the time; in '18, that number increased to 60 percent. When he threw pitches in the zone, his contact rate dropped from 88 percent to 80 percent, but at the same time, he got hitters to chase at more pitches outside the zone, increasing from 22 percent to 26 percent.

It was the better control, combined with the video game-like movement on Ottavino's slider, that made him such a different pitcher in 2018. He might not have the name value of Miller, Britton or Holland, or the save totals of Familia or Allen. He's not Craig Kimbrel, because few relievers ever have been. But most of that doesn't matter, not really. Ottavino is going to be a very in-demand reliever this offseason. When he gets a larger contract than longtime stars like Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen, don't be surprised. Be impressed.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Adam Ottavino

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Key free agents: RHP Brad Brach, 1B Lucas Duda, 3B Ryan Flaherty, OF Nick Markakis, C Rene Rivera, RHP Anibal Sanchez, C Kurt Suzuki, LHP Jonny Venters

Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Atlanta has a stellar farm system that is loaded with pitching prospects, which is one of the reasons why Sanchez is unlikely to be back after his impressive rebound campaign. But without an obvious replacement for Markakis in right field, the door remains open for the soon-to-be 35-year-old to return. Suzuki has formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers over the past two seasons, but the 35-year-old may be too expensive to bring back for a part-time role.

Miami Marlins
Key free agents: None

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019.

New York Mets
Key free agents: LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Austin Jackson, C Devin Mesoraco, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes

There's a chance the Mets won't bring back any of these players after they combined for -1.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, per FanGraphs. With Travis d'Arnaud, T.J. Rivera and Juan Lagares returning from injuries, the Mets have obvious replacements for Mesoraco, Reyes and Jackson next year. Blevins is more likely to be back than Ramos, whose recovery from right shoulder surgery is expected to extend into next June and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key free agents: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, LHP Aaron Loup, C Wilson Ramos

All four players on Philadelphia's list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Instead of bringing back Ramos, who is sure to fetch a sizable multi-year deal, the Phils may give 25-year-old Jorge Alfaro another chance to show he can handle starting duties behind the plate. Cabrera could be a fallback option if the Phillies are unable to land Manny Machado in free agency.

Washington Nationals
Key free agents: OF Bryce Harper, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Greg Holland, 1B Mark Reynolds, C Matt Wieters

Harper will be one of the top free agents available this offseason, and the Nats will likely make a major push to keep him in Washington. The club might also be interested in bringing back Holland and Hellickson, but the two righties are sure to draw interest from other clubs after boosting their value with the Nats. Washington is expected to try to upgrade at the catcher spot, which could leave Wieters looking for a new home.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Key free agents: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Jorge De La Rosa, LHP Jaime Garcia (club option), LHP Cole Hamels (club option), OF Jason Heyward (can opt out of his contract), RHP Brandon Kintzler (club and player options), 2B Daniel Murphy, RHP Pedro Strop (club option), LHP Justin Wilson

The Cubs have many decisions to make this offseason, most notably regarding the $20 million club option for Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and recorded a terrific 2.36 ERA over 12 starts. They also have a bevy of bullpen arms that are set to depart or have club options. The Cubs could try to retain Chavez and Strop, and Murphy could also be back (particularly given Addison Russell's suspension), as president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke highly of the second baseman's contributions after his acquisition from the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds
Key free agents: RHP Matt Harvey

Cincinnati elected to keep Harvey at the non-waiver Trade Deadline instead of flipping him to a contender, and now face a decision about the right-hander, given that he has expressed openness to returning and the Reds will be seeking starting pitching depth this offseason. Outside of Harvey, the Reds don't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett and Billy Hamilton are due for free agency following the 2019 season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Key free agents: LHP Gio Gonzalez, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Jeremy Jeffress (club option), LHP Dan Jennings, C Erik Kratz, RHPJordan Lyles (club option), LHP Wade Miley, 3B Mike Moustakas (mutual option), IF Eric Sogard, RHP Joakim Soria (club option)

The Brewers have most of their pitching depth locked up beyond this season, with Gonzalez, an in-season acquisition, and Miley, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract before the season, the only two starters set for free agency this offseason. Soria, a key piece of the Brewers' bullpen in their playoff run, has a $10 million team option for 2019, while closing option Jeffress has a much cheaper $3.175 million team option. The 38-year-old Kratz and 37-year-old Granderson are also bound for free agency. Given their security all over the roster, the Brewers are set to contend again in 2019 even if they don't make a big offseason splash.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Key free agents: IF/OF Josh Harrison (club option), IF Jung Ho Kang (club option), SS Jordy Mercer

After making a splash by trading for Chris Archer in 2018, the Pirates appear to be mostly set with their pitching staff but will be looking for a bat in the offseason, likely at shortstop, especially if they don't end up bringing Kang back after his late-season cameo. Even if they don't make a Manny Machado-sized splash at shortstop, the market is deep this offseason, with Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria among the names that will be in play. It seems unlikely that the Pirates will pick up Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Key free agents: 1B Matt Adams, RHP Bud Norris, C Francisco Pena, RHP Tyson Ross

Adam Wainwright already avoided free agency by agreeing to a one-year deal to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks will be a priority for the Cardinals, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. Though Adams likely won't be on the Cardinals' radar again, St. Louis is thought to be looking for an impact left-handed hitter, with needs at outfield and third base.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Key free agents: RHP Clay Buchholz, LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Randall Delgado, 2B Daniel Descalso, LHP Jake Diekman, 3B Eduardo Escobar, 1B Paul Goldschmidt (club option), OF Jon Jay, C Jeff Mathis, OF A.J. Pollock, C Chris Stewart, OF Yasmany Tomas (player option)

The D-backs could lose two key contributors this winter, with Corbin and Pollock likely to exceed Arizona's price range, but Buchholz, Descalso and Mathis are strong candidates to return. Neither Goldschmidt nor Tomas is expected to hit the open market. The D-backs are sure to pick up Goldschmidt's $14.5 million club option for 2019, and Tomas will undoubtedly exercise his player options for '19-20, valued at $15.5 million next year and $17 million in '20, after spending all of '18 in the Minors.

Colorado Rockies
Key free agents: C Drew Butera, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, 2B DJ LeMahieu, RHP Seunghwan Oh (club option), RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Gerardo Parra

The Rockies will have to decide whether they want to compete for LeMahieu this winter or if they're ready to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. They also face decisions in the outfield, where Gonzalez, Parra and Holliday are impending free agents, and in the bullpen with Ottavino and Oh, who has a $2.5 million option for 2019 with a $250,000 buyout.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key free agents: RHP John Axford, 2B Brian Dozier, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Clayton Kershaw (opt out), SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Machado is among the headliners in this year's star-studded free agent class, and longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could add his name to the mix if he opts out of his contract. The Dodgers will try to retain Machado, whom they acquired from the Orioles at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they'll have stiff competition as he's likely to cash in for a big payday. The oft-injured Ryu posted a 1.97 ERA through 15 regular season starts in 2018 and pitched well in the playoffs to improve his stock heading into free agency.

San Diego Padres
Key free agents: C A.J. Ellis, SS Freddy Galvis

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only Galvis and Ellis entering free agency, and both are candidates to return. Ellis is less likely to be re-signed, however, with young catchers Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the mix. San Diego may also let Galvis walk if he wants a multi-year deal, with Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) nearing big league readiness and Luis Urias (San Diego's No. 4 prospect) likely to take over as the club's starting second baseman in 2019.

San Francisco Giants
Key free agents: OF Gregor Blanco, RHP Madison Bumgarner (club option), LHP Derek Holland, C Nick Hundley, RHP Mark Melancon (can opt out of his contract), OF Hunter Pence, 3B Pablo Sandoval

The Giants are expected to pick up Bumgarner's $12 million option, and Melancon is almost certainly staying put for the final two years of his four-year, $62 million deal, but the club will likely part ways with veterans Pence and Blanco. The Giants may try bring back Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018, and Hundley, who capably backed up Buster Posey.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Key free agents: OF Adam Jones

The O's list has just one man on it, as they traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a significantly reduced role as the Orioles look to the future.

Boston Red Sox
Key free agents: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Ian Kinsler, IF Eduardo Nunez (player option), 1B/OF Steve Pearce, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Drew Pomeranz, LHP David Price (can opt out of his contract), LHP Chris Sale (club option)

Even if the Red Sox pick up Chris Sale's $15 million club option for 2019, which they likely will, and David Price doesn't opt out of the four years and $127 million remaining on his contract, they still have a number of important players hitting free agency. Kimbrel is the biggest name among them, though it's unclear if Boston will be willing to hand out a big contract for a player who regressed some from '17 to '18 and was shaky in the playoffs. The Red Sox will probably look to re-sign Eovaldi, who excelled after joining the club in a July trade (3.33 ERA, 2.88 FIP).

New York Yankees
Key free agents: LHP Zach Britton, OF Brett Gardner (club option), LHP J.A. Happ, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Lance Lynn, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP David Robertson, LHP CC Sabathia, 2B/OF Neil Walker

The Yankees have a busy offseason ahead of them, especially on the pitching side of the ledger. Even if prospect Justus Sheffield is ready to claim a rotation spot behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, that still leaves two open starting jobs. Meanwhile, the Yankees' vaunted bullpen could lose two key pieces in Robertson and Britton. Gardner was New York's longest-tenured player in 2018, but the club may pass on his $12.5 million club option ($2 million buyout) after the veteran outfielder posted a .690 OPS this past season.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key free agents: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Sergio Romo

Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener." However, he recorded a 10.00 ERA in September and will be 36 years old on Opening Day in '19. The cost-conscious Rays may opt to move on and give an opportunity to a younger alternative. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Key free agents: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada, 1B Justin Smoak (club option), INF Yangervis Solarte (club option)

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. With Rowdy Tellez looking ready for an expanded role at first base, the Jays could pick up Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option and then trade the veteran this offseason. Estrada is likely gone after recording a 5.27 ERA with a 4.97 FIP in 61 starts over the past two years, as the Blue Jays can likely get similar production from a younger and cheaper pitcher.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Key free agents: RHP Jeanmar Gomez, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP Nate Jones (club option), LHP Hector Santiago, RHP James Shields (club option)

The White Sox are close to emerging from their rebuild, and the club could look for more pitching help this offseason, since Michael Kopech is now sidelined for 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. They have a $4.65 million option for Jones that they could exercise, but it seems unlikely that they'd exercise Shields' $16 million club option.

Cleveland Indians
Key free agents: RHP Cody Allen, OF Michael Brantley, OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Carlos Carrasco (club option), OF Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Rajai Davis, 3B Josh Donaldson, OF Brandon Guyer (club option), LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Oliver Perez, IF Adam Rosales, RHP Josh Tomlin

Miller headlines a productive crop of prospective free agents departing Cleveland this season, with outfield and the bullpen being the two areas that stand to be hit hardest by the departures. Allen, Brantley and Miller are eligible for the $17.9 million qualifying offer. The Indians do have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons, but bolstering the relief corps will be an offseason priority for the Tribe, who got subpar seasons from both Allen and Miller in 2018. Outfield is also an area of need, especially if Brantley departs, with no clear-cut starter at any of the three spots entering the offseason.

Detroit Tigers
Key free agents: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Iglesias, Liriano and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who also dealt impending free agent Mike Fiers to the A's in August. The Tigers will likely be in the market for a shortstop, as they don't have an immediate heir lined up in the event of Iglesias' departure, and will likely look to add to the rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel (mutual option), RHP Wily Peralta (club option)

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas this season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will almost certainly pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they could bring back Peralta, their closer, on a cheaper $3 million team option, especially since they'll likely be looking for bullpen help this offseason.

Minnesota Twins
Key free agents: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, C Chris Gimenez, 1B/DH Joe Mauer, 1B/DH Logan Morrison (club option), RHP Ervin Santana (club option)

The most pressing offseason question for the Twins will be at first base with the possible departure of Mauer to either free agency or retirement and Morrison's disappointing performance in 2018, after which the Twins are not expected to pick up his $8 million option for 2019. The departures of Forsythe, Brian Dozier (traded to Dodgers) and Eduardo Escobar (traded to D-backs) also leave openings in the middle infield for the Twins. The Twins need lots of help in the bullpen and could always use more starting depth, with Santana's option unlikely to be picked up.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Key free agents: RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Junichi Tazawa, OF Chris Young, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Richards pitched well in 16 starts this season, but will be out of action until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Young also suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Key free agents: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel figures to be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market this winter. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has spent his entire career with the Astros, but could anchor another team's staff in 2019. Morton also figures to draw considerable interest coming off his first All-Star season at age 34. Maldonado will be part of a deep class of veteran backstops.

Oakland A's
Key free agents: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Matt Joyce, 2B Jed Lowrie, C Jonathan Lucroy

The A's looming free agents are headlined by a pair of veterans in Lucroy and Lowrie. Lucroy is more likely to return with Franklin Barreto ready to take over as Oakland's everyday second baseman. Joyce is likely the odd man out in a crowded A's outfield. It's unclear if the A's will try to retain any of their veteran starting pitchers.

Seattle Mariners
Key free agents: 2B Gordon Beckham, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP Zach Duke, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP David Phelps, UTIL Andrew Romine, OF Denard Span (mutual option), RHP Adam Warren

Cruz represents the biggest free agent choice for the Mariners this winter. Both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, but Seattle must decide whether it wants to commit to a multi-year deal with the 38-year-old slugger or utilize that money elsewhere, with needs on the pitching staff and in center field. Span has a $12 million mutual option with a $4 million buyout. Iwakuma left the Mariners in September to pursue pitching opportunities in Japan.

Texas Rangers
Key free agents: SS Elvis Andrus (can opt out of his contract), 3B Adrian Beltre, C Robinson Chirinos (club option), RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Doug Fister (club option), RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Matt Moore (club option), LHP Martin Perez (club option)

The Rangers are awaiting Beltre's decision on his baseball future, and if the third baseman opts to continue playing, they could re-sign him. Andrus could opt out of his contract, leaving four years and $58 million on the table, but is more likely to stay put. The Rangers will likely pick up Chirinos' option, and decline their options on Moore and Fister. Perez's option is for $7.5 million and it remains to be seen what Texas will do with the left-hander coming off a down year. Colon and Gallardo aren't expected to return.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

5 biggest offseason questions facing Rockies

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies took steps forward in 2018. Fueled by a starting rotation that led the National League in innings pitched, they advanced to the National League Division Series -- a step farther than the Wild Card Game finish of 2017.

To continue on a path they hope leads to a World Series title, however, they will need to address some situations. Here are five:

DENVER -- The Rockies took steps forward in 2018. Fueled by a starting rotation that led the National League in innings pitched, they advanced to the National League Division Series -- a step farther than the Wild Card Game finish of 2017.

To continue on a path they hope leads to a World Series title, however, they will need to address some situations. Here are five:

1. How do they improve the offense?

According to Baseball-Reference.com, among players who appeared in 70 or more games, the Rockies had five players with OPS-plus figures near or above 100 (considered league average) -- Nolan Arenado (133), Trevor Story (127), Charlie Blackmon (115), David Dahl (113) and free-agent-to-be Carlos Gonzalez (close enough at 99). DJ LeMahieu, also headed to free agency, usually is in a decent range, but was down after an injury-filled 2018.

For comparison, the Dodgers had eight players with OPS-plus figures above 100 -- nine if you count Manny Machado, who had 66 games in blue. Even with that firepower, the Dodgers had to beat the Rockies in a tiebreaker to win the NL West.

Do the Rockies play a free-agent market that has more questions than answers? Is there enough depth from the farm system and pitching to make trades?

In any case, adding a proven bat would mean the Rockies wouldn't be dependent on young players making a quantum leap offensively. With first baseman Ian Desmond, who struggled with injuries in 2017 and spent 2018 searching offensively, able to shift positions defensively, the Rockies have some flexibility for adding an impact offensive player.

As Dahl proved when healthy, it's possible for a system product to push his way into playing time. This is true no matter what players the Rockies bring in from the outside. Left-handed-hitting corner infielder Ryan McMahon, who proved not ready in the beginning of his rookie season, but made some contributions late, and right-handed-hitting infielder Garrett Hampson, whose tools play at the top of the lineup, could help the offense.

2. What becomes of Nolan Arenado's contract situation?

There is not an immediate deadline here, since Arenado is eligible for arbitration and doesn't become a free agent until 2019. For reference, the Rockies and Blackmon reached a one-year agreement before the arbitration filing deadline, then continued to work on a six-year deal worth at least $108 million that was completed the first week of the 2018 season.

It could be costly. Already, a report -- confirmed to MLB.com -- had Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who also becomes a free agent in 2019, turning down a $200 million offer from his club (length of the alleged offer hasn't surfaced).

Video: Must C Crushed: Arenado takes NL HR lead with a pair

Should the Rockies put together an offer, it likely would have greater payouts early on as opposed to later, since the pitchers who fostered the turnaround begin hitting free agency in 2022 (Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson) and 2023 (Kyle Freeland and German Marquez).

At any rate, Arenado doesn't expect the Rockies to trade him this winter and avoid the whole thing -- especially since his bat and glove help fuel their World Series dream.

3. What to do with this year's free agents?

The Rockies must assess whether Hampson, who could slot into the leadoff spot and drop Blackmon to a spot where he has more men on base, is ready to take over for LeMahieu. They also have to assess whether to re-sign Gonzalez, spend bigger on the free-agent market or expect homegrown players to be the answer.

For the bench, the Rockies have to decide whether to retain outfielder Gerardo Parra, whom they own a $12 million option on for 2019. They could opt not to pick that up, ensuring him a $1.5 million buyout.

4. How does Gray make 2018 go away?

After a solid 2017, Gray struggled to the point this season that he was sent down to Triple-A in late June and wasn't on the postseason roster. At times, he looked like the '17 version of himself. At other times, he looked like a stranger to that version.

Video: PHI@COL: Gray K's 7, allows one run and plates one

Gray spent the year vacillating between fixing his mechanics and feeling hamstrung by thinking about mechanics. He also lost weight during the season, and vowed to be stronger physically next year. He'll also have to earn back faith in big situations.

The Rockies also have to decide if Gray is a tradeable asset for the offensive improvements they desire. The Rockies resisted dealing him at the deadline, and have not been inclined to deal starting pitching.

There are rotation questions beyond Gray: Will righty Chad Bettis, shifted to the bullpen after a right middle finger blister scuttled a solid early going, return to the rotation? Can righty Jeff Hoffman, obtained from the Blue Jays for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in 2015 with much fanfare, crack the big league rotation?

5. How can the Rockies preserve and improve the bullpen?

It took until late in the regular season for the Rockies to find a dependable group to hold leads. However, two relievers signed to three-year, $27 million contracts (righty Bryan Shaw and lefty Jake McGee) were not pitching well enough to be part of that unit, and lefty Mike Dunn, in the middle of a three-year, $19 million deal, was out with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Righty Adam Ottavino is set to become a free agent. So, the club must decide whether to compete for him and others. The Rockies owe closer Wade Davis $26 million over the next two years, and are likely to pick up Seunghwan Oh's $2.5 million 2019 option, so they have to be judicious in adding payroll to that area. Righty Scott Oberg -- who emerged this year as a key late-game option -- helps, since he is relatively inexpensive as a first-year arbitration-eligible player.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies