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Transactions Notes: 6/30/11 - 7/6/11

The newly acquired Mark Ellis knows how to balance the baseball on one finger.
The newly acquired Mark Ellis knows how to balance the baseball on one finger.

Hoooooa boy. Here we go. This was a complicated week for the organization, particularly at the major league level, where we saw a transaction nearly every day. Those MLB level transactions also kept the Sky Sox relatively busy, which in turn kept the Drillers relatively busy; like a chain reaction, the upper levels were ripe with player relocation. So let's get down to it.


- Mark Ellis acquired from Oakland Athletics.

Starting the week off with a bang, the Rockies acquired second baseman Ellis, who had spent the last ten seasons with the A's. Ellis becomes the only player currently on the 40 Man Roster that is on track to become an instantaneous free agent after the season (other qualifiers like Jason Giambi and Aaron Cook have contract options to turn down first). No immediate corresponding move was necessary on the 25 man roster, as players have three days to report and be activated. The 40 man move was necessary, but easy, as the player we traded away occupied that spot. We may also later trade another player in the deal, but it hasn't happened yet. It often takes a long time, and is also often converted into a cash payment.

- Bruce Billings traded to Oakland Athletics.
- Cole Garner suspended.

Billings made his major league debut with the Rockies earlier in the season, getting him one MLB appearance and three days of service time. Those will be his only ones with the Rockies (for now), as he heads out to Oakland's organization. Billings was looked upon as one of the better right handed relief prospects in the system, and had made the most recent edition of the PuRPs list. As explained above, his open 40 man spot was immediately occupied by Ellis.

Garner was added to the Suspended List for a fight he got into earlier in the week with a Salt Lake Bees catcher, Kevin Richardson (who was also suspended for the incident). Garner was a busy player this week, as you'll see below. Neither Garner nor Billings was replaced on the AAA roster immediately; those moves will come later on down the line.

- Mike Zuanich placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Warren Schaeffer assigned to AA Tulsa Drillers from Temporarily Inactive List.

The recently promoted Zuanich is suffering from a sprained ankle. Schaeffer had spent the last week and a half on the inactive list; the utility player has struggled this year with the Drillers, though interestingly enough, he would get a promotion later in the week.

- Alan DeRatt placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.
- Nick Schnaitmann assigned to A+ Modesto Nuts from Temporarily Inactive List.

Schnaitmann returned to the Nuts' starting rotation after yet another stint on the inactive list (his third of the year). The pitcher is continuing to get opportunities to stick with Modesto despite a rotten year on the mound. DeRatt had recently returned to Modesto from a brief stint in the Tulsa Drillers' rotation before they filled permanently it with Dan Houston. I am uncertain of the pecise reason of DeRatt's time on the TIL.

Leap over the jump for plenty more in Rockies Transactions.

- Taylor Featherston signed and assigned to Tri-City Dust Devils.
- Jaron Shepherd signed and assigned to Tri-CIty Dust Devils.

Last week I mentioned that there were several rumors floating around that these two players, as well as several others, agree to terms last week, but nothing had been officially announced. Several draft signings were at last announced here on June 30th, but only Featherston (5th round) and Shepherd (33rd round) were assigned to a team immediately.No corresponding moves were necessary as the Dust Devils are still playing several players below their 35 man roster limit.

Other 2011 draft signings announced on June 30th:
- Benjamin Hughes (10th round)
- Chris Jensen (6th round)
- Patrick Johnson (25th round)
- Jesse Meaux (19th round)
- Roberto Padilla (8th round)
- Carl Thomore (2nd round)



- Chris Nelson optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
- Eric Young Jr. optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
- Mark Ellis activated.
- Edgmer Escalona recalled from AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Nelson and Young immediately left to join the Sky Sox. They replace Billings and Garner on the roster, though yet another spot opened up with the promotion of Escalona as an extra arm in a tired bullpen. Both Nelson and Young are in the midst of what should be their last option years. Young is definitely ineligible for a bonus, and by my best estimation, so is Nelson. Ellis arrived at the Rockies just one day after being traded, and was activated to the roster.

- Brad Emaus placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Radames Nazario activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.

The official statement regarding Emaus' trip to the DL is "right thumb injury". Nazario, who has been dealing on and off with smaller injuries this season, was an easy activation top fill the spot. At this point, AAA was still one man short with the recall of Escalona.



- Edgmer Escalona optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox and placed on the Reserve List.
- Greg Reynolds recalled from AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

After just one day and appearance with the Rockies, Escalona was sent back to AAA to make room for starter Greg Reynolds, a proxy for Jhoulys Chacin as he nursed arm pain. Remember, players who are sent back down to the minors often don't join the team immediately, as the team receiving the player has to adfjust their own roster and they can't always do that on a whim, in addition to the fact that sometimes it is impractical to send a player out to join the team in certain situations (for example, if the Sky Sox are on the last day of a road trip, they will often send the player straight back to CSP and activate him for the first game back there).

Escalona is in the middle of his second MLB option year, meaning he has at least one more left in 2012.

- Joey Williamson assigned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox from AA Tulsa Drillers.

This is the second stint with the Sky Sox for Williamson this season, making the move to cover some of the bullpen depth the team lost with the departures of Billings and Escalona. Williamson replaces Escalona's spot on the roster, and the promotion of Reynolds leaves yet another hole for the Sky Sox to fill in the near future. The Drillers also did not fill Williamson's spot immediately.

- Erik Stavert unassigned (Reserve List?).
- Isaiah Froneberger assigned to A Asheville Tourists from A- Tri-City Dust Devils.

Froneberger began a rehab sort of assignment with the Dust Devils, and after showing success, began his ascent to the Drillers with a stop in Asheville. You guys know the drill with the Tourists; they never report their corresponding moves anywhere. I have confirmed that the corresponding move involved Erik Stavert. Usually, this sort of move is a trip to the Reserve List, but I am not 100% sure, just an educated guess.

- Jesse Meaux assigned to A- Tri-City Dust Devils.
- Roberto Padilla assigned to A- Tri-City Dust Devils.

Two more 2011 draft picks from earlier in the week are assigned to Tri-City. The promotion of Froneberger to Asheville and the addition of these two players rounds out the A- roster at 31/35, still no corresponding moves necessary.



- Greg Reynolds optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox and placed on the Reserve List.
- Eric Stults purchased and assigned to Colorado Rockies.
- Matt Daley transferred to the 60 Day Disabled List.

Reynolds follows the same path Escalona did; one game up, and optioned back to AAA's Reserve List awaiting activation. Unable to recall Escalona back up (players must spend ten days on optional assignment before being recalled to replace a player that hasn't been injured), the Rockies had to pick somebody else to fill in in the bullpen. That choice was Eric Stults, who was converted to relief out of Spring Training. The Rockies had to make 40 Man Roster room for Stults, and moved Matt Daley to the 60 Day DL, making him eligible to return to the team in early August. Stults has no option years left, and is still in his pre-arbitration phase.

Reynolds is in the middle of a bonus fourth option year awarded for a lack of professional service in his career. He cannot get another one in the future in any way.

- Cole Garner assigned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox from the Suspended List.
- Keith Weiser assigned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox from AA Tulsa Drillers.

The Sky Sox finally filled all of their empty roster spots. Garner and Weiser replace the spots vacated by Reynolds and Stults, returning the team to the maximum 24 players. Garner's suspension ended after 3 days. Weiser is making his first trip to the AAA level in his career.

- Dustin Molleken activated from the 7 Day Disabled List.

The Drillers had two open spots in their bullpen due to the promotions of Williamson and Weiser. Molleken had been on the DL since May 16th with a sprained foot.

- Carl Thomore assigned to Rk Casper Ghosts.

Another 2011 draftee assignment: second round pick Thomore (the highest draft pick to sign thus far, though we have reportedly agreed to terms with first round supplemental pick Trevor Story) heads to rookie ball to begin his pro career. No corresponding move necessary, as the Ghosts have a roster of 33 players out of a 40 maximum.



- Clay Mortensen optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox and placed on the Reserve List.
- Cole Garner recalled from AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

With a need now for an extra position player and the inability to option Stults, the Rockies chose to option Mortensen and return him to a starting role for the time being. Mortensen is using his third regular MLB option year, but will qualify for a bonus one next season no matter what, as he will only have four years of pro service after this season, and you need to have five or more to move past eligibility for that. Garner makes his first trip to the majors, but it will be a short one.

- Edgmer Escalona activated from the Reserve List.

Escalona returns to active duty with the Sky Sox after his brief callup, replacing Garner's roster spot.



- Cole Garner optioned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox and placed on the Reserve List.
- Ian Stewart recalled from AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Garner is already in the middle of his first MLB option year, and therefore has two more remaining. Garner is on the Reserve List for the Sky Sox because the Rockies have elected to keep him in Atlanta for the time being in case they need to place Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki on the DL  and activate him again suddenly. The Rockies welcome back Stewart to the team; although the initial intent was to use him off the bench, Stewart has been starting at third base so far. He does have an opportunity to usurp his third base spot with consistent play, but the question is whether or not the time will last long enough for him to do that.

- Joe Mather signed and assigned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
- Radames Nazario placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.

Mather is a utility player (mostly outfield but can play the infield corners) who was outrighted earlier in the season by the Braves after being designated for assignment. Mather had been previously outrighted by the St. Louis Cardinals, and players who have been outrighted twice can choose to declare free agency if they'd rather test the waters outside instead of stay with the organization that removed them from their roster. Mather did just this, and has chosen the Rockies as his next organization. He fits into Ian Stewart's roster spot.

Nazario truly has had a bizarre season, and in all honesty, it looks like his position with the team is hanging by a thread with the amount of times his roster spot has been taken by someone else this year. He was placed on the TIL in preparation for a corresponding move the following day.



- Clay Mortensen activated from the Reserve List.
- Chris Nelson placed on the 7 Day Disabled List.
- Warren Schaeffer assigned to AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox from AA Tulsa Drillers.

Mortensen is activated to join the Sky Sox rotation where he has not fared well this season. Nelson's official injury report is "strained left hamstring". Warren Schaeffer gets  a promotion from AA to replace Nazario on the roster. Though I explained above that Schaeffer has been struggling at AA this year, this is not Schaeffer's first time with the Sky Sox; he played 34 games with the Sky Sox last season when the team was short on infielders.

Tulsa never filled Keith Weiser's roster spot, and now with Schaeffer up, the Drillers have two open slots on their roster. They didn't play a game on the 6th, so there was no rush, but I expect one or both of those slots to be filled today.