Like any sports team, the Rockies have had a parade of players over the course of their almost 30 years of existence. We remember the prominent names of Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Cook, and so forth. But, like any team, there will always be the extra players that fill out the roster and sometimes disappear into the backrooms of club history because they didn’t spend a long time in Colorado, or simply played a quiet role with the team. Being the reflective individual that I am, let’s take a look at some of the random Rockies that have stuck with me.
Melvin Mora (2010)
The Rockies decided to add another veteran bat to their roster prior to 2010 in the form of Melvin Mora. The third baseman had just finished up a 10-year stint in Baltimore in which he had posted a 29.1 bWAR and he would provide some versatility on the infield as a backup behind Ian Stewart and Todd Helton. Mora ended up playing in 113 games with Colorado and slashing .285/.358/.421 with seven home runs and 45 RBI while seeing time at third, first, and even second base. Despite being 38, Mora turned out to be a quality contributor on offense, despite poor defense and posted an amazing 0.0 bWAR in Colorado.
Ty Wigginton, Mark Ellis, Kevin Millwood (2011)
This trio of veterans all joined the Rockies at various points in the 2011 season, yet I always enjoyed having all three.
Ty Wigginton signed a two-year deal after the 2010 season and ended playing in 130 games with the Rockies before being traded to the Phillies in the offseason. He played the majority of his games at third base, but also spent time at first as well as in the outfield. He batted .242/.315/.416 that season and had 36 extra-base hits, including 15 homers. The signing didn’t pan out perfectly, but he filled time on the roster until the Rockies' younger players were ready to take over.
Speaking of veterans filling time, Mark Ellis was a trade acquisition from Oakland at the end of June in 2011. His ninth year in Oakland was not going well as he had a .217 AVG and an OPS of .544, but the Rockies were in need of a second baseman and decided to bring him over to see what he could do. The move paid off as Ellis had a short resurgence, posting a 1.6 bWAR and slashing .274/.317/.392 with a .708 OPS in Colorado. That success netted him a two-year deal with the Dodgers after the season where he continued to be a quality contributor.
Lastly, Kevin Millwood joined the Rockies rotation in early August that season following his release by Boston. Injuries plagued the Rockies and they needed an arm so they brought in the veteran to take some starts and the move also kind of paid off for the team. Millwood made nine starts with the team and had a 3.98 ERA with 36 strikeouts and just eight walks. He did struggle with giving up home runs, but when the Rockies needed a starter, he rose to the occasion and held his own by contributing a 0.8 bWAR which is more than you could ask for from the 36-year-old.
Reid Brignac (2013)
During the 2012 offseason, the Rockies acquired Reid Brignac from Tampa Bay as part of a conditional deal. His time in Colorado was quite short, having played in only 29 games in purple, with the majority of them coming as a pinch hitter. He ended up slashing .250/.294/.375 in that utility role before being traded to the Yankees for cash considerations. His time in New York didn’t last long, 17 games in fact before he was released and re-signed with the Rockies but never appeared in the big leagues again that year. He never really found any success outside of Tampa Bay, but for a short time, he was a Rockie that I still think about to this day.
There are plenty of other players that come to mind that fit into this classification in Rockies history, and if there is interest I could revisit this idea again. It’s always important to look back at the guys who made a quick pit stop in Colorado and contributed whatever they could to the club because a team is always more than just a superstar or two.
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It was recently reported that the Orioles would be listening to offers on Cedric Mullins following a breakout 2021 season. Obviously, the asking price for Mullins is quite high, but the Rockies also need some outfield help. Noah Yingling suggests that the Rockies should at least gauge the asking price and evaluate if Mullins fits into their plans as a team. Personally speaking, the Rockies don’t have many prospects they may be willing to trade for Mullins, and if it requires Zac Veen, that would be a deal-killer in my eyes.
The Mariners seem set to make some moves this offseason, evidenced by their recent acquisition of Adam Frazier, and perhaps Trevor Story could be a target for them as well. The Mariners have made it clear they like J.P. Crawford as their shortstop, so Story would have to take a position change like replacing Kyle Seager at the hot corner. Unfortunately, this article delves into the same old narrative of “how will he perform away from Coors Field” but former Rockie Jerry Dipoto seems like a smart enough individual to put those worries to rest and take a chance on a bounceback season from Story. If Story can help the “West Coast Rockies” reach the playoffs, it’s worth the risk.
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