Minor league free agent signings are happening at a speedy rate. The Rockies haven't been particularly active in this arena thus far. To recap, they signed outfielder Luis Terrero back during the World Series, and this past week, we at last got confirmation that reliever Joe Torres will be with us once again for 2012. The Rockies also re-signed Dustin Molleken, whose free agency was never reported by anyone but was on my list of players that should have been eligible to declare, indicating this signing may have actually happened before he declared. He has reportedly become the first player the Rockies have extended a Spring Training invitation to this offseason.
So far, the Rockies have seen 2012 pieces Edgar Gonzalez and Jim Miller sign with the Athletics, Scott Beerer sign with Baltimore and high-A level outfielder Orlando Sandoval sign with the Rangers. The rest of our outgoing free agents remain unsigned, to my knowledge, and are potential possibilities for return.
The Rockies have also agreed to terms with MiLB Free Agent Brandon Roberts, though the deal is unofficial at this time. The outfielder left the Twins organization as his initial contract expired.
Over the next week, MLB offseason procedure has two important events: the Reserves Deadline and the Free Agent Arbitration Deadline. I'll tackle the latter first. Mark Ellis was the only free agent departing the Rockies who classified as a raked free agent, in this case, a Type B. Ellis has already signed with the Dodgers, meaning they just gifted us an extra draft pick in the supplemental first round this offseason. Type B free agency is likely going to be eliminated in the revised collective bargaining agreement that is currently being finalized, but the current understanding is that even if the CBA goes into effect before this is arbitration procedure is finished, teams with Type B players still can offer arbitration to them for the chance at draft picks this year. Because the Dodgers already signed Ellis, this process is automatic for us, and no arbitration offer is necessary. The deadline for these offers is November 23rd, but the Rockies' role in this situation is already resolved.
After the jump, I'll talk about the Reserves Deadline.November 18th is the day that all rosters must be finalized this year. That means that by tomorrow, the Rockies need to have added every player they wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft this December to the 40 Man Roster. Between the Reserves Deadline and the Rule 5 Draft, promotion from the minors to a MLB contract is frozen. Other 40 Man Roster moves, such as free agent signings, trades, outright assignments, etc, are all still allowed. It should be noted that in addition to those posted in my previous articles as Rule 5 eligible players, the minor league free agents we have signed this offseason are eligible as well, meaning that re-signees Molleken, Josh Sullivan and Torres plus Luis Terrero could be taken in the draft, though there's no evidence to assume any of them would be. Also keep in mind that , Kyle Hancock and Leuris Gomez all seem to have re-signed (without official confirmation), and would all be eligible too assuming this is correct.
So who is going to be protected? Right now the team has 37 filled roster spots. Depending on what happens with the currently suspended Eliezer Alfonzo, they will have between 2-3 spots to fill. My understanding is that by this time, all players on the 40 Man Roster need to be activated, in order to prevent teams from stacking their roster full of protectees. That includes the disabled list, which we already took care of weeks ago, and presumably the Restricted List as well. Alfonzo has not finished his suspension and his there hasn't been any news on his appeal. I am operating under the assumption that he needs to be either activated or released by tomorrow evening. If his appeal or something else somehow exempts him from being activated, we could wind up with 3 spots anyway by keeping Alfonzo on the restricted list, but I can't find any evidence in any of the rulebooks to support that.
The most notable draft eligible players this year are Christian Friedrich and Edwar Cabrera, our organization's top two left handed prospects (unless you count Drew Pomeranz). These two players are the ones I most expect to be protected. Most other notable players who would have been eligible this year, such as Charlie Blackmon and Tommy Field, were already added to the roster during the season. If a third spot is open, Parker Frazier, Mike Zuanich, Albert Campos, Brad Emaus, Angelys Nina, Dan Houston and potentially Cristhian Adames (his eligibility is still a point of confusion for me due to his odd sign date) are probably the top contenders.
See you next week!