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Rockies designate Juan Nicasio for assignment, add Tyler Anderson to 40-man roster

Colorado made a surprise move by cutting a failed starter who might turn out to be a decent reliever.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies on Thursday designated relief pitcher Juan Nicasio for assignment and added Double-A starter Tyler Anderson to the 40-man roster, according to a team announcement.

Nicasio being removed from the roster comes as a surprise. The 28-year-old right-hander failed as a starter in the majors but it seemed the Rockies would give him more time to prove himself out of the bullpen after he posted a 3.48 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 20⅔ innings in that role in 2014. Nicasio is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career and was projected to earn $2.4 million in 2015, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Assuming Nicasio is traded, claimed by another team or elects to become a free agent, he'll finish his Rockies career with a 5.03 ERA/80 ERA+. His fate will be decided within 10 days either way.

Unlike Nicasio's situation, Anderson's addition to the roster and protection from the Rule 5 Draft isn't much of a shock. The 24-year-old left-hander could compete for a spot in Colorado's rotation to begin 2015 after posting a 1.98 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 118⅓ innings last season at Tulsa. Anderson's year ended with an injury, but the 2011 first-round draft pick is expected to be fully healthy when spring training gets underway.

Colorado's 40-man roster remains full, and the question now becomes whether Ryan Casteel, Daniel Winkler and other unprotected minor leaguers will still be in the organization after the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11. The Rockies have until 10 p.m. MT Thursday to make decisions on those players and anyone else the might want to protect.