The Rockies began their offseason productions with a surge of activity, which led to the Rockies almost immediately deciding who to outright from the 40 Man Roster to clear up space, something I had expected to take right up until the Reserves Deadline itself. The team clearly recognized their roster problem, and addressed it without haste.
The first thing the Rockies did once the regular season ended was a purely procedural move: they activated all of their minor leaguers from the disabled list.
A+ Nuts: Kent Matthes, Joseph Sanders (both players were added to Modesto's Reserve List, with no room on the roster.)
A Tourists: Albert Campos, Bryce Massanari
A- Dust Devils: Eric Federico, Kyle Hancock, Vianney Mayo, Jesse Meaux, Roberto Padilla, Aaron Weatherford
RK Ghosts: Jonathan Vargas
Unassigned: Hernan Iribarren
Players on the MLB disabled list remain there for now.
Garner, Mortensen and Stewart were also recalled to the Rockies after being activated, along with Casey Weathers (AA) and Cory Riordan (AAA) who were not on the DL. Another procedural move, teams have begun recalling their entire 40 Man Rosters in preparation for the Reserves Deadline in November. There's no risk in doing so now as opposed to later as the players are no longer receiving service time.
On 9/30, the Rockies made two other moves before heading into the offseason proper in October. Firstly, they traded Eliezer Mesa to Oakland to complete the Mark Ellis trade from earlier in the year. Mesa had struggled with injuries this year, and his performance was inconsistent as a result. He would have hard a hard time breaking into Tulsa's outfield next year. I do not consider this a significant organizational loss, even though Mesa flirted with top 30 prospect status over the past two seasons.
Secondly, they allowed minor league pitcher Edgar Gonzalez to declare free agency. As I stated in a previous edition about the MiLB free agents, the official filing period doesn't come until after the World Series is concluded. However, it is not uncommon for minor league players due for MiLB free agency (usually ones who have a chance at making an MLB roster the next season) to petition their team to declare early, as the MiLB seasons are long done. The Rockies granted Gonzalez' request, and he became the first player to leave the organization after 2011 concluded for the Rockies.
Yet more important news after the jump, as the Rockies set their roster moving forward.I've made a big hullaballoo for some time about the 2011 Roster Crunch. The Rockies had an inordinate amount of players signed to MLB contracts thanks to a backlog of 60 Day DL players, and also had a very limited set of players in place to leave via MLB free agency. If there's one thing you need during the offseason, it's free roster space, and that usually takes care of itself for the most part. This season, the Rockies were going to have to make it happen on their own by trimming the fat before the Reserves Deadline. Instead of it taking them weeks, it only took them days, clearly indicating they knew this was coming and had spent the last month or so of the season talking about it instead of the first month of the offseason.
The Rockies chose to outright six players from the roster: Matt Daley, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jim Miller, Jose Morales, Greg Reynolds and Cory Riordan. Daley and Morales were activated from the 60 Day Disabled List when outrighted. These two were also placed on the Sky Sox Reserve List, as there was no room on the roster after the others were sent down. The roster spots of Kouzmanoff, Miller, Reynolds and Riordan yielded instant free 40 man spots, bringing the current total to 35, while Daley and Morales brings the total players on the 60 Day DL to 5, meaning the Rockies now have enough room to activate their entire MLB team, though it appears they're waiting a while longer to do so.
Kouzmanoff was the only one of these players who had enough credentials (both over 3 years of MLB service and a previous outright assignment) to refuse the outright assignment. The third baseman declared free agency after refusal. None of the others have over 3 years of service nor previous outright assignments, meaning they had to accept the outright assignment. However, Daley, Miller and Morales are not signed to MiLB contracts beyond this season, meaning all three can declare MiLB free agency after the World Series, or sooner if given permission. Reynolds has one more year left on his MiLB contract, Riordan has two.