Less than 48 hours ago, the Rockies rotation seemed set. Colorado had already announced that Jhoulys Chacin was going to be the Opening Day starter in Milwaukee, while the unofficial quartet of Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio, Jeff Francis, and Drew Pomeranz seemed almost certain to follow. This rotation seemed so apparent, Patrick Saunders spent Saturday night writing a brief article breaking it down as Rox Girl noted yesterday in her final Rockpile - But as is so often the case in baseball, things changed. Only hours later, news of the Rockies inking Jon Garland to a major league contract went public, and Saunders was forced to write another article.
In what has become the theme of the off season, we are left with more questions than answers. For starters, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from Jon Garland, and the uncertainly surrounding his productivity fits perfectly into the "box of chocolates" narrative I laid out for this team back in January. The Rockies are getting a pitcher that averaged 204.2 innings a season in a nine year stretch from 2002 to 2010, but they are also getting a guy who has not thrown a pitch in the majors since June of 2011 when shoulder surgery knocked him out of action. At 33, Garland is still young enough to have a bounce back campaign, and the .675 OPS he's held opponents to in his brief work at Coors Field (79 plate appearances against) seems to suggest that the park won't get in his head - But good luck trying to nail down an accurate projection for Garland this season, he could be anything from the 2013 version of 2009 Jason Marquis to the 2013 version of 2012 Jeremy Guthrie.
The other form of "more questions than answers" comes with roster construction (although we did get some answers here). The crunch has already forced the Rockies to send Daniel Rosenbaum back to Washington who could not be stashed in the minors because the Rockies acquired him from the Nationals in the Rule 5 draft. In addition, Colorado also announced a series of roster moves yesterday that narrowed the field in the battle for the final few spots. Pitchers Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman, Christian Friedrich, Rob Scahill were all optioned Sunday while position players Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson, Ben Paulsen, Charlie Culberson, and Gustavo Molina were all also optioned or assigned to the minors.
That leaves us with the following 27 players on the active roster. Long story short, at least two of these men will not be here next Monday. They must be optioned, assigned, or cut depending on the individual circumstance. This is also where Nolan Arenado comes into play. If he makes the big club opening day, the number of players on this list that will not be making the trip to Wisconsin jumps to at least three.
Jorge De La Rosa
At this point, I would guess that DJ LeMahieu and Reid Brignac will be on the outside looking in with Arenado starting in the minors in order to delay his service clock, but several possibilities are still on the table here.
One final thing to ponder. The Garland signing has left Drew Pomeranz's status up in the air as he is the member of the rotation most likely displaced by the move. When I first heard the news, I assumed that Pomeranz was headed to AAA Colorado Springs. However, with lefty Josh Outman being optioned, it leaves open the possibility that Pomeranz will open the season out of the bullpen.