Previewing the Rockies' 2013 offseason, Part 2: October/November transactions

Doug Pensinger

With the playoffs now over half complete, the Rockies and other MLB teams are going to begin preparing for the upcoming offseason. This article will discuss some of the more procedural roster moves we can expect to be made over the next two months.

October Outrights

Every season, teams prepare their 40-man roster for incoming new players by removing current players that don't necessarily have a future with the team, or value to be traded. The Rockies completed their October Outrights earlier this week. This year, they chose to outright three players. Two were not surprises: Jeff Manship was the most obvious roster cut candidate this offseason, and while arbitration eligible Manny Corpas wasn't going to make enough to break the bank, it's fairly likely that the team can replicate his peak-level production at this point with someone significantly cheaper like a Rob Scahill.

The third outright was Edwar Cabrera, whom I didn't consider to be a likely outright candidate, but in hindsight the decision makes a lot of sense. Coming off shoulder surgery, his prospect-status was dramatically lessened. He was always on the older end of the age curve as he developed, and did not project as a great fit for pitching at Coors Field. His peak value, much like Tim Wheeler, was as a 2011 trade candidate.

Manship and Corpas both cleared waivers and were successfully outrighted. Corpas has elected free agency already, while Manship likely will in the coming days (if he does not, he will declare after the World Series regardless). Cabrera was claimed on waivers by the Rangers, still intrigued enough by the one-time MiLB strikeout leader to offer a roster spot.

Notable players remaining on the 40-man roster for now are Mitchell Boggs, who was in a similar boat to Corpas as an arb-eligible middle relief candidate, and Tim Wheeler, whose roster security was confirmed earlier in the year when he was selected for a trip to the Arizona Fall League this year.

Post-World Series

The Rockies now have 37 players on their 40-man roster (one of which is Christian Friedrich, who remains on the 60-day DL for now; he will have to be activated within five days after the World Series). The roster will thin dramatically following the World Series, when Todd Helton, Yorvit Torrealba, Jeff Francis and Roy Oswalt will depart as MLB free agents and Rafael Betancourt's 2014 option will be declined. This gives the Rockies at least eight likely open roster spots headed into the offseason proper, perhaps another depending on what the team does with Matt Belisle's 2014 option.

The Rockies have done the best roster management job this year that I have seen since I began following this stuff closely in 2010. In previous years, the Rockies frequently ended up with roster crunches of various sorts due to excess 60-day DL players or other various excesses. This year, as some may recall, I anticipated the possibility of a Rule 5 crunch, due to this class' relatively large field of prospects. The Rockies intelligently balanced mid-season cuts to incorporate room for three of the most important players from that class (Chad Bettis, Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado) before crunch time, and with as many as nine open roster spots headed into the offseason, they have as much freedom as they've ever had to not only protect Rule 5 eligible players, but to dabble in the free agency market as well.

Another thing to watch carefully is the waiver wire. The Rockies have always been fairly conservative with their waiver activity, having only claimed one player in Adam Ottavino over the past two seasons. This time of year tends to feature incredibly active waiver activity due to all of the October Outrights headed onto waivers. The Rockies do have enough roster room to comfortably maneuver their way into a couple of waiver pickups, perhaps a right handed outfielder claim much like Andrew Brown was in late 2011.

Rule 5

Five notable first-time-eligible prospects remain eligible for the Rule 5 draft: Outfielder Kyle Parker, infielder Rosell Herrera and pitchers Tyler Matzek, Christian Bergman and Jayson Aquino. The Rockies will have room to cover all five if they so choose. Parker, Herrera and Matzek are pretty much guarantees to be protected, but I wouldn't be surprised to see both Bergman and Aquino protected at this point as well with the roster space having worked out as it has. Some seem to believe that some combination of Aquino's lack of experience or 2013 surface-level ineffectiveness make him an unlikely selection candidate, and that may be true to some extent, but the Rockies do not play the Rule 5 protection game based on those criteria. This is the same team that protected an even less experienced and lower-upside Esmil Rogers in 2008, and a long-lost arm in Casey Weathers in 2010. I no longer consider Aquino a guarantee, but with the roster space available, it's really not going to be a surprise at all if he is.

Other players that remain Rule 5 eligible after not being protected in previous years include Kent Matthes, Ben Paulsen, Joe Gardner, who was protected last offseason but outrighted during the season, and Coty Woods, who was selected by Texas in last year's Rule 5 draft. The Rockies may choose to protect some surprise candidates in this fashion, but Matthes is the only one who represents something the Rockies don't have a lot of right now (righty outfielders).

As usual, November 20th is the reserves deadline, and these players will need to be added to the 40-man roster by that date. The draft itself occurs on the final day of the winter meetings, which this year will be December 12th.

Here is a complete list of all players currently in the system that will eligible for the draft:

- Jayson Aquino
- Alejandro Barraza
- Yoely Bello
- Christian Bergman
- Drew Beuerlein
- Russell Brewer
- Jose Briceno
- Ryan Buch
- Juan Ciriaco
- Delta Cleary Jr.
- Marcos Derkes **
- Edgmer Escalona *
- Tyler Gagnon
- Niko Gallego
- Drew Garcia
- Joe Gardner
- Dustin Garneau
- Trevor Gibson ***
- Steven Hensley
- Jefri Hernandez
- Rosell Herrera
- Dan Houston
- David Kandilas
- Bruce Kern
- Tyler Kuhn
- Jayson Langfels
- Tyler Massey
- Alving Mejias
- Geoff Parker
- Kyle Parker
- Ben Paulsen
- Bryce Massanari ***
- Kent Matthes
- Tyler Matzek
- Manuel Montilla
- Jose Monzon
- Josh Mueller
- Angel Reyes
- Jose Rivera
- Kenny Roberts
- Kiel Roling
- Jared Simon
- Kraig Sitton
- Wilson Soriano
- Josh Sullivan *
- Brett Tanos
- Dallas Tarleton
- Cole White
- Kenny Williams Jr. ***
- Russell Wilson
- Joey Wong
- Coty Woods
- Julian Yan

* = eligible if player has re-signed for 2014 (free agency otherwise)
** = eligible if player's sign date corresponds to the proper class
*** = eligible if player is still with Rockies organization

That about covers the next two months of foreseeable Rockies transactions. In the final piece of this series, I will discuss my thoughts on what the Rockies' offseason philosophy should be, and perhaps a bit of a critique on the over-emphasized "buy-sell paradigm" that I think needs to be let go.

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