It happens almost every off-season -- the roster crunch created by the end of the 60 day DL combined with the looming Rule 5 draft protection deadline causing teams to outright some of their fringe players from the 40 man roster. In the Rockies' case, they out-righted (at least) 5 players yesterday and 4 of them were claimed on waivers -- Josh Roenicke, Guillermo Moscoso, Zach Putnam, and Tommy Field.Two things can be learned from this:
1. Maybe Colorado has a little more talent than people are giving them credit for. After all, Roenicke threw 88+ innings of solid relief this year and Moscoso had recently been an effective pitcher in Oakland, but Putnam and Field were minimal contributors to the major league squad -- yet all were in demand by teams with relatively high waiver priority.
2. Colorado's talent evaluation doesn't necessarily sync up with the community's. After all, Putnam was a PuRP, Roenicke a solid (and cheap) bullpen piece, Moscoso a one-time effective pitcher, and Field a utility player candidate. Meanwhile, players like Will Harris, Edgmer Escalona, and Matt McBride -- more lightly regarded -- still remain on the 40 man roster (that we know of), while a 28 year-old AA reliever in Josh Sullivan (on nobody's prospect radar) was just added to the 40 man.
It's a confusing time for Rockies fans to see some cheap major league contributors go for (essentially) free, including two younger players that were acquired in trades the previous off-season, two former PuRPs, and the durable Roenicke. In the case of the latter, according to the Denver Post there was an argument on a split (between minor league and major league) contract that was conditional on Roenicke clearing waivers.
While I believe that relievers are extremely fungible and that reliever performance oscillates in a major way from year to year, I do feel as though Roenicke (and Moscoso/Putnam, actually) are better bets to provide more major league value than Sullivan, Harris, or Escalona. To boot, Field would have been a good replacement for the dastardly Jonathan Herrera.
These are confusing moves for Colorado,though only time can bear out whether those that were protected were better choices than those who were not.
Todd Helton underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday to repair a torn meniscus. Helton is entering perhaps his final off-season in MLB with the team, and I for one want him to go out with a bang.
Finally, for you ESPN Insiders, Keith Law posted his top 50 free agents yesterday. None of them were Rockies in 2012.