Lots to cover over the next couple weeks as the 25 Man Roster has taken shape, players get their minor league assignments, and more. The Rockies did make their first round of releases, though only four players were axed early on. More are likely to come. Let's get started!
Despite excellent showings at Spring Training for both Daley and Brothers, the Rockies, as expected, chose to fill the final bullpen spots with on-roster lefties Franklin Morales and Matt Reynolds. Daley remained in contention for a bit longer, as there was an opportunity to allow him to pitch out of the pen for one week before Esmil Rogers would be called up as the fifth starter, but Jim Tracy has elected to start Rogers on the first cycle, despite an off day making it possible to wait.
Pacheco's fruitful Spring didn't earn him a utility spot on the MLB team, but it looks like it did earn him a promotion to the Sky Sox rather than a spot with the Drillers as he was expected to get before. Many people familiar with the Rockies system believe he is already where he needs to be skill wise to succeed and that there is no need for an extended period of time in Tulsa.
Reynolds has used his fourth option year, a bonus given to him as a result of his injury-plagued minor league career. Reynolds is likely to be near the top of this year's Sky Sox rotation in what will be his last chance to diversify himself from the crowd of young minor league pitching stacking up in the system. Reassigned pitchers Maine and Stults are also looking to the Sky Sox rotation, though both have out clauses. Stults' depends on whether or not he has a job in Japan available; the clause implies that the offer was already made, though with the state Japan is in right now after the earthquake/tsunami, I'm not entirely certain how that offer stands. As a lefty, Stults would be likely to make that rotation if he stuck around. Maine's out clause, on the other hand, isn't until June 1, and is planned to sit with AAA until then (or until he's ready to pitch in the majors).
Finally, Young Jr. was bubbled off the roster with the presence of Jason Giambi, as was expected as soon as we knew for sure he would be making the team. With his future as a starting second baseman in serious doubt, the Rockies plan to play him around the field at AAA this year, hoping to add, among other things, improved outfield potential to the man's resume. As much as we joked about tossing EY2 in left field during times that didn't make sense at the MLB level, adding the outfield to his skillset now makes perfect sense for trying to salvage an MLB career as a utility type out of him.
Pacheco and Daley (whose optional assignment in 2010 was negated after being recalled just 13 days in) will be using their first official option years. Reynolds and Young Jr. will both officially be out of free options as of these ones becoming official (Reynolds can't get more than 4, and Young Jr. already has too much pro service to qualify for another). All four of these will become official on April 15th, 20 days after the assignment.
Look after the jump for the rest of the week's transactions.
- Alfredo Amezaga
- MIke Jacobs
Two more MLB camp cuts were made one day later in these two players. Jacobs is likely to spend the year at AAA Colorado Springs as the primary first baseman, an insurance policy in case something happens to Todd Helton and the combo of Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez and Giambi can't cover the playing time bill. Amezaga was a potential release candidate, but a season ending injury to planned Sky Sox utilityman Hernan Iribarren opens up the spot for Amezaga instead, moving him quickly to the favorite for that position.
- Brandon Durden
- Kenneth Durst
- Chad Jacobsen
- Tyler Trice
The first wave of Rockies releases was smaller than expected. Each of these four players was in a position of either repeating their previous level for a second or even third time, having failed to prove deserving of a promotion. As players come, other players have to go, and these four are victims of that squeeze. More releases will occur this next week as minor league rosters are trimmed.
- Josh Fields
The Rockies traded for third baseman Josh Fields after it became clear he would not make the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Spring Training. Once considered an exciting player in the White Sox system, he was traded to Kansas City before 2010, and after spending most of the season injured, he was ultimately let go. Fields instantly becomes the favorite to win the AAA starting 3B position, putting the futures of Matt Macri and Eric Duncan, the other leading candidates for that spot, in question. The Pirates will receive a player to be named later, or if they choose, a cash compensation.
- Bronson Sardinha (sort of)
It is unlikely that Bronson Sardinha signed with us exactly on this date, but his callup from minor league camp for the day's game action confirmed for the first time that Sardinha had rejoined the Rockies organization after an exceptional season with the Drillers last year. The signing had elsewhere gone unreported, and he was never assigned to any of the minor league teams in advance, so I am uncertain as to exactly when he re-signed, but he's definitely back for the time being. Sardinha will compete for an outfield spot at AAA (possibly AA, though he does not appear on the initial AA roster).
- Michael McKenry
Though still a serviceable catching prospect, McKenry's place in the organization was supplanted by Jordan Pacheco's ascension to AAA more quickly than expected. McKenry was expected to keep the AAA catching spot warm for Wilin Rosario, but that will be Pacheco's job now. McKenry was traded to the Boston Red Sox, freeing up a spot for Pacheco at the AAA level, as well as freeing up a 40 Man Roster spot for Jason Giambi.
- Daniel Turpen
The Rockies' return in the McKenry trade, Turpen, a relief pitcher, has seen quite a lot of organizational movement over the past season. After a steady career with the Giants, his contract was traded to Boston when they acquired former Rockies reliever Ramon Ramirez. Turpen was not protected from the Rule 5 by the Red Sox, and he was selected by the Yankees, but ultimately returned to the Red Sox after it became clear he would not make the team. Turpen has been officially assigned to the Sky Sox, and is competing for a relief spot at that level.
Assigned to AA Tulsa Drillers:
- Warren Schaeffer (from AAA)
- Cory Riordan (from AAA)
- Ben Paulsen (from A+)
- James Cesario (from A+)
- Rob Scahill (from A+)
- Isaiah Froneberger (from A+)
- Josh Sullivan (from A+)
- Thomas Field (from A+)
- Tim Wheeler (from A+)
- Stephen Dodson (from A+)
- Darin Holcomb (from unassigned)
- Joe Torres (from unassigned)
Two players demoted from the Sky Sox and eight promoted from the Nuts to construct a Drillers roster for the exhibition game yesterday. The only player of this set on the Rockies 40 Man Roster is Riordan, who was originally optioned to Sky Sox camp out of MLB camp earlier in the Spring, but the brass ultimately decided that in the midst of a cramped AAA rotation, Riordan was a good candidate to head back to Tulsa, where he spent last season. The Drillers roster is not finalized at this point. Joe Torres and Darin Holcomb, who were previously unassigned to a team, were placed on the Drillers roster along with the other players. I am assuming most if not all of these players form toe official Drillers roster to start the season, but there could be changes.
There were a couple of other minor league assignments handed out, but I'll cover all of the minor league rosters when they're set in stone as minor league teams begin playing next week.