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Colorado Rockies doomed by poor roster construction in 4-1 loss to Oakland

The Rockies put themselves in a bad place with a roster that left them little room for creativity.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In a scoreless game in the bottom of the second, Billy Butler led off with a triple against Rockies starter Chad Bettis. Yes, Billy Butler, the guy nicknamed "Country Breakfast," hit a triple. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

That's Rafael Ynoa out there in left field, not catching the ball, crashing into the wall and hurting himself. That triple was not the only play Ynoa failed to make in left field against Oakland, at least two of which led directly to A's runs.

The problem here is that Ynoa is not a left fielder. He has never been a left fielder, he will never be a left fielder. He did not play a single inning at any outfield spot during his lengthy minor league career. Yet, the Rockies have seen fit to give him 11 starts in their first 78 games in left field, a position he has not played since at least 2005, because...reasons.

Ynoa has been forced to play left field in more than 10 percent of the Rockies' games this season in part because they have decided to, at least for the time being, play with a roster that only contains three actual outfielders in Brandon Barnes, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez.

With just three outfielders on his roster, that means if the Walt Weiss wants to rest one of them for any reason, rest, bad matchup, nagging injury, etc., he has to play either Ynoa or Ben Paulsen, who played all of nine games in the outfield in 2014 after being exclusively a first baseman throughout the first five seasons of his professional career, in left field.

That is inexcusably poor roster construction no matter which way you slice it and quite frankly, despite all the positives I've seen since he took over as general manager, makes me have doubts about Jeff Bridich. You have to have more than three outfielders on your roster and there isn't an explanation as to why  you don't that is going to sound like you know what you're doing.

The two primary factors in limiting the Rockies to three outfielders are the fact that they have two backup middle infielders in Ynoa and Daniel Descalso (neither of whom are the team's best option for the role, more on that later) and are carrying eight men in their bullpen. The word that comes to mind for both of those situations is overkill.

The easy way to unclog the log jam at middle infield is to send Ynoa to Triple-A. In addition to being a liability defensively, Ynoa has been just awful at the plate, hitting .225/.250/.270 in his 93 plate appearances, a .520 OPS, which is worse than the .544 OPS posted by Charlie Culberson. Away from Coors Field, those numbers drop to .105/.171/.132, a .303 OPS, worse than both Kyle Kendrick and Chris Rusin have this season. Despite this, Weiss has used Ynoa as a pinch hitter a whopping 30 times. That is completely outrageous and unacceptable.

The team's stated reason for having both Ynoa and Descalso on the roster is the number of off days being given to Troy Tulowitzki. However, neither Descalso nor Ynoa is even average defensively at shortstop. The solution is simple, call up Cristhian Adames from Albuquerque in place of Ynoa. Adames, the No. 15 PuRP in the most recent rankings, has a good glove at shortstop and is hitting .308/.361/.444 with six home runs for the Isotopes this season, not to mention that he is four years younger than Ynoa and much more likely to have a future with the club.

That move would actually leave the Rockies with one less "option" in the outfield, which would then necessitate sacrificing one of their eight relievers, a number that is completely unnecessary, especially on the road, unless the starting staff becomes a total disaster. There are several ways to trim the bullpen, the easiest being optioning Justin Miller, who has his option for 2015 in use already. The Rockies could also jettison a starter, perhaps David Hale, another pitcher with his 2015 option already in use, and move Yohan Flande into the rotation. (I wouldn't mind them designating Kendrick for assignment, but that isn't going to happen.)

As for the outfielder promoted, the best option is No. 11 PuRP Kyle Parker. Parker's option for 2015 is in use already and after a slow start, he is hitting .268/.312/.405 in Albuquerque this season. In addition, he is a right-handed hitter, which only Barnes is among current Rockies outfielders, and can play first base. Why Parker isn't on the roster already quite frankly baffles me.

The promotion of Trevor Story to Triple-A may be a precursor to a move with Adames, so the Rockies may be on the way to fixing their roster mess, which was again on full display in Wednesday's loss.