The Rockies have made the “tough decision” we’ve been talking about regarding the fate of Tom Murphy. Late last night or early Sunday morning, depending on your time zone, the Rockies designated Murphy for assignment, according to Thomas Harding. That means the Rockies will go with Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters behind the plate to start the season.
This spring was a pivotal moment for Murphy. The once shiny catching prospect has had to overcome injuries and underperformance over the past couple of seasons, and the 27-year-old (he’ll be 28 on April 3) found himself out of options at the start of Spring Training. That meant that he either had to make the team, which likely would have kept Wolters in Triple-A, or be exposed to waivers. The Rockies ended up deciding on the latter.
Here’s what this means for Murphy and the Rockies right now. The Rockies have four days to find a trade partner for Murphy. It’s more likely than not that they will, given that Murphy has a high potential bat and plays a position that doesn’t tend to come with offensive pop. The return won’t be much, and he’s more likely to end up on a non-contending team. That’s because he will remain out of options, so any team that trades for him will have to keep him on the active roster — sort of like a Rule 5 draft pick. The reason the Rockies DFA’d him is because they didn’t have room for him, so it’s a matter of finding a team that does.
In the comments section of a post yesterday about yet other roster moves, Sage Farron guessed that Murphy has about a 25% chance of clearing waivers, precisely because of the constraints the trading team will assume. If Murphy does clear waivers, the Rockies can then outright him off of the 40-man roster and assign him to Triple-A. That’s the path in which Murphy remains a member of the Rockies organization.
Until we know what happens, we can just repeat in our this truism from Jason Parks: Prospects will break your heart.
★ ★ ★
Note: Thomas Harding didn’t use the term “designated for assignment” when discussion this transaction. He simply said “placed on waivers.” CBS Sports, citing Harding, used the term “designated for assignment.” As noted by the commenters in this post, neither description may be fully accurate.