Kyle Freeland, a left-handed pitcher, has signed a new five-year contract…

Kyle Freeland, a left-handed pitcher, has signed a new five-year contract with the Colorado Rockies

Kyle Freeland has been a strong presence in Colorado’s rotation, and the Rockies are determined to keep him.

The Colorado Rockies have extended the contract of another of their veterans.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the club signed left-handed starter Kyle Freeland to a five-year, $64.5 million contract extension on Tuesday.

The deal is the club’s second major extension this season, following the signing of versatile infielder Ryan McMahon to a six-year contract in March.

While both Freeland and McMahon are capable players in their own right, these contracts are a bit of a puzzle after the team’s public opposition to spending the necessary funds to keep superstars Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado in recent years.

Kyle Freeland has been signed by the Rockies, but there are still some unanswered questions

Freeland is not only a homegrown player, but also a Denver native, as Passan points out. The Rockies selected the 28-year-old southpaw in the first round of the 2014 draft, and he made his major league debut three seasons later, in 2017, when he made 28 starts on his way to a seventh-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year race.

The lefty’s 2018 season was even better, as he not only won 17 games but also posted an incredible 2.85 ERA for a pitcher who calls Coors Field home. Freeland finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting that season as a result of his performance.

Freeland’s new contract has an interesting wrinkle: if he finishes in the top five in the NL Cy Young voting in 2022 or 2023, he can opt out at the end of the 2024 season. His sophomore season showed the rest of the world that he can always play at the highest level of the game.

Freeland led the NL in quality starts (nine) and all of MLB in double plays induced during the COVID-shortened 2020 season (15). Despite missing the first month of last season, he still managed to make 23 starts, lowering his BB/9 to a more respectable level.

While the dreaded Coors Effect affects pitchers just as much as it does hitters, Freeland has managed to post a respectable 4.59 home ERA in a park where pitchers are routinely lit up. With his selection as the Rockies’ Opening Day starter in 2022, it’s clear that he’ll be an important part of the team’s next push for contention.

Kyle Freeland has thrown over 660 innings in parts of six seasons with the Colorado Rockies. He has a 4.28 ERA, a 4.54 FIP, and a respectable 115 ERA+. Rockies ace pitcher Freeland will work well with German Marquez as the team moves back into the playoff picture.