Short entry this week, as the only major move came yesterday evening as the Rockies sent Chris Iannetta to the Angels for right handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood. However, before I get to that one transaction occurred last week thjat I missed covering due to the lack of media coverage on and around Thanksgiving.
The Rockies released infielder Ryan Rohlinger from the organization sometime around November 21st. Rohlinger was claimed off waivers from the Giants midseason 2011, and immediately optioned to the minors. Before ever being recalled, he was outrighted from the team to make room for late-season roster additions. He had one year left on his minor league contract, which prevented him from declaring free agency this year. If they chose to keep him, the Rockies would presumably have used him as a shuffling infield backup with the Sky Sox, but some combination of Tommy Field, Hector Gomez, Brad Emaus and Brandon Wood likely have about as much of second, short and third covered.
Because the Rockies did not need to do anything regarding arbitration offers this offseason, with Mark Ellis signing so early automatically giving us our extra supplemental pick, the Rockies haven't had a lot to be thinking about these past few days, while other teams look forward to the arbitration accept deadline next Wednesday. The Rockies already had plenty of room on their 40 Man Roster, so no further cuts via outright are likely before this week's Rule 5 Draft are likely.
Tomorrow might be this year's contract -tender deadline, but that status is a bit confusing. The MLB calendar still claims it is December 12th, but the new CBA has permanently moved the tender deadline to December 2nd. Because the Rockies retain 40 Man Roster room, we are probably not going to need to non-tender anybody for any reason other than salary purposes, and the only real likely candidate there remains Ryan Spilborghs. Pre-arbitration players can be non-tendered as well (see Jonathan Herrera post-2008), but it is usually a space clearing procedure for teams that didn't get a chance to outright enough players before their 40 Man Roster filled back up.
The final note before delving into yesterday's moves after the jump is a reminder that the Winter Meetings begin in four days. This period generally sees free agent and trade talks heat up significantly, before cooling down again for the holidays, during which period is almost certainly the slowest of the offseason. As always the meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. I have posted the list of eligible players several times, so I'm not going to do that again. This year, assuming we don't sign two more players to MLB contracts by next Thursday, the Rockies will have at least one open 40 Man spot to potentially take a player in the MLB phase of the draft, which they haven't done since 2005 when they took Luis Gonzalez from the Dodgers (the last time they took a player at all was 2006, Salomon Manriquez in the AAA phase). The Rockies still generally tend to avoid the draft even with room on their 40 Man.
With Iannetta departing the Rockies for California, the Rockies now have but five players who were part of 2007's world series run: Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and Ian Stewart (though Stewart didn't play in the postseason that year). Three of those five players have a legitimate chance at departing the organization this offseason. This is truly the last guard of that generation.
In return, the Rockies acquire Tyler Chatwood. The 21 year old is on the 40 Man Roster with two free options remaining. The young pitcher will likely contend for one of several possible rotation spots with Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Juan Nicasio if healthy. None of the four young pitchers are required to make the team this year, though something will have to be done with the now bonus option-less Esmil Rogers. Because he didn't get a full year of service in 2011, Chatwood will be under team control through at least the 2017 season.
Finally, according to the MLB transactions page, the signing of Ramon Hernandez to replace Iannetta on the roster is official, though most media outlets are still implying that the deal has yet to pass through. Either way, barring a failed physical, Hernandez will take over primary catching duties. Judging from his recent history, he will likely not be starting up in the level of every 2/3 games, meaning Rosario or another backup catcher will likely be getting more playing time than is often the case. Because Hernandez is being looked at as a "bridge to Rosario", the likelihood of Rosario making the team as the second catcher likely went up dramatically after all of this occurred. Hernandez has signed on for a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.25 million over two seasons; not too bad when comparing him to the rest of the catcher market that signed this season. Hernandez is a true MLB veteran with over 12 seasons of MLB service.