Right-hander Antonio Senzatela and the Colorado Rockies agree to a five-year, $ 50.5 million contract extension, sources told ESPN, linking the Venezuelan right-hander to the organization until at least 2026.
The deal includes a $ 14 million club option for 2027 and gives the Rockies four potential seasons as a free agent. The cost is significant: $ 7.25 million for each of the next two seasons and $ 12 million each for the 2024-26 seasons.
Senzatela, 26, is an anomaly of modern baseball: a pitcher who doesn’t strike out tons of batters. His strikeout rate this season of 6.0 batters per nine innings is 117th out of 120 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season. Senzatela makes up for it with a walk-through rate of 1.73 per nine innings, which ranks fifth out of 120, and a shot-through rate of 51.6%, a rare figure among pitchers with so few walks.
Traditional numbers don’t present Senzatela in such a positive light. He was 4-10 this season with a 4.42 ERA in 156 2/3 innings in 28 starts. Senzatela, whom the Rockies signed in Venezuela for $ 250,000 in 2011, has pitched 579 2/3 innings in the majors with a 4.84 ERA. The lifetime ERA is actually nearly a quarter of a race better at home, at the high altitude of Coors Field, than on the road, a trend that continued this season.
Senzatela is a sinker and slider pitcher who shoots both pitches 87% of the time combined. The fastball, heavy and averaging 95 mph, is the kind of pitch that Colorado, long wary of the thin air in its stadium, has tried to develop among its pitchers. Teams have shied away from pitchers who don’t record outrageous strikeout numbers, and even rarer are those who reward such a player with a big-money spread.
Rockies officials have publicly praised Senzatela for embracing the technology and trying to make things better by using it, and it was enough for them to seek the extension with Senzatela’s agent, Rafa Nieves of Republik Sports.
Colorado, which secured ace Germán Marquez with a similar deal two years ago, faces the possible loss of star shortstop Trevor Story and right-hander Jon Gray to free agency this winter. Marquez and Senzatela are now the team’s only commitments beyond the 2022 season. The Rockies finished the season 74-87 and fourth in the NL West.
The deal comes as Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continue to discuss the parameters for a new collective bargaining agreement that players hope will increase team spending. Rockies owner Dick Monfort is the chairman of MLB’s labor policy committee, which is negotiating the terms of the new basic agreement with the union.