In the two weeks since the MLB offseason began, the Colorado Rockies’ front office has been busy making moves and shaping the roster for next season. They’ve made some tough decisions on fringe roster players, as you can read more from Evan Lang. Outrighting players, trades, and waiver signings have dominated the Rockies moves thus far. Other moves included signing current players like Tyler Kinley, signings players to either avoid arbitration, such as Dinelson Lamet, or re-signing players from last season in José Ureña. Other than roster changes, the Rockies also made coaching staff changes including hiring a new hitting coach and third base coach.
With a number of moves under their belt this offseason, here’s a look at the four best moves so far, in no particular order.
Rockies Acquire INF/OF Nolan Jones from the Cleveland Guardians (Nov. 15)
The Rockies announced today that they have acquired INF/OF Nolan Jones from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for Minor League INF Juan Brito.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) November 16, 2022
Colorado currently has 39 players on the 40-man roster.
In one of a couple trades the Rockies have made so far, the Rockies sent INF prospect Juan Brito to Cleveland in exchange for utility player Nolan Jones. Breaking into the majors in 2022, Jones played 28 games for the Guardians this past season as a right fielder and DH. In his short time with the big league club, Jones slashed .244/.309/.372 with an OPS+ of 96 and hit two home runs in 94 plate appearances. With a little larger sample size, in Triple-A, he was able to hit .276/.368/.463 in 55 games including 20 extra base hits and 31 base on balls. His numbers show that he can get on base by drawing walks, good for a BB% (BB divided by plate appearances) of 12.5% in Triple-A and 8% at the MLB level. According to FanGraphs, a BB% of 8% is average for MLB batters, so Jones was able to maintain that in his short stint in with the Guardians and was well above that at the Triple-A level. Jones will give the Rockies depth in the corner outfield and DH positions and another left-handed bat in the lineup which will help replace Sam Hilliard.
Rockies Claim LHP Brent Suter off waivers (Nov. 18)
The Rockies announced today that they have claimed left-handed pitcher Brent Suter off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) November 18, 2022
Colorado currently has a full 40-man roster.https://t.co/bRgnyoNFPS
This move helps the Rockies where they need the most upgrades: the bullpen. Brent Suter was released by the Milwaukee Brewers and picked up by the Rockies off waivers. Soon after his waiver claim, the Rockies signed Suter to a one-year, $3 million deal to avoid arbitration. Suter has been with the Brewers since his debut in 2016, racking up 294 2⁄3 innings in seven season. This past season, the left threw 66 2⁄3 innings having an ERA of 3.78 and striking out 53 batters. Only Daniel Bard and Carlos Estévez had better ERAs this past season out of the Rockies ‘pen, but Suter pitched more innings than both. His park-adjusted ERA+ was a 105, which is 5% higher than the league average. Not only is Suter been a consistent arm out of the bullpen, he provides a left handed option out of the bullpen for the Rockies. With the departure of Ty Blach and the hope that Austin Gomber can win a spot in the rotation, the only other lefty relief pitcher on the roster is Lucas Gilbreath, so this move helps the Rockies in a big way.
Tyler Kinley signs three-year extension
The Rockies announced today that they have agreed to a three-year contract extension with right-handed pitcher Tyler Kinley, covering the 2023-25 seasons. The contract also includes a club option for the 2026 season.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) November 18, 2022
An in-house move, the Rockies extended relief pitcher Tyler Kinley to a three-year, $6.25 million contract through the 2025 season and a club option for the 2026 season. Tyler Kinley was the by far the Rockies best reliever before going down with an elbow injury in early June and requiring a season-ending injury that could take up to a year to recover. Prior to the injury, Kinley posted a 0.75 ERA in 25 innings. He struck out more than a batter an inning and only walked six batters. Although a small sample size, Kinley had an ERA+ of 630, which doesn’t really mean much since he only pitched two months, but fun to thing he was 630% better than the league average. Kinley has been solid over the three seasons he has pitched for the Rockies to earn the three year extention. The Rockies get a reliever who has shown to be able to be consistent coming out of relief and earning the set-up man for Daniel Bard at a low price of only $6.25 million over three years, plus an option to add another year if he plays well enough.
Hensley Meulens hired as the Rockies hitting coach
The Rockies announced today the Major League coaching staff for the 2023 season, including two changes from 2022:— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) November 7, 2022
• Hensley Meulens named hitting coach
• Warren Schaeffer named third base / infield coach pic.twitter.com/ZJ0Nkd8HnK
Finally, the only non-roster move that made the list. The Rockies announced the addition of Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens as the team’s new batting coach. After two consecutive poor showings from the 2021 and 2022 lineups, the team parted ways with Dave Magadan. Soon after, the Rockies made a shocking move and hired a hitting coach from outside the club, a rarity for the this team. Muelens was apart of the three World Series championships with the Giants during the 2010s as a hitting coach and bench coach. Last season, Meulens was the assistant hitting coach for the New York Yankees. For more a more depth read about the Rockies’ new hitting coach, you can read Skyler Timmons recap here. This move makes an unprecedented hire outside the organization and will hopefully bring fresh eyes to the Rockies lineup which has performed at franchise low levels the past couple season.
The Rockies have made a number of moves already including the ones to mentioned above, that are a positive step forward for the club. Even then, the roster is not complete and the team needs to fill holes still including adding a couple more bullpen arms and improve the centerfield position. The Rockies’ roster may still be a ways before competitive, but these steps are a good stepping stone.
What do you think of these moves? Which is the best so far, and what other additions would you like to see before spring training? Let us know in the comments (and vote in the poll below)!
Which offseason move has been the best?
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Nolan Jones Trade with Guardians
Brent Suter Waiver Claim
Tyler Kinley Extension
Hiring Hitting Coach Hensley Meulens
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Newly acquired Rockie, Nolan Jones looks to improve his swing by changing the angle of his swing and keep his body compact during his swing. Jones admits that his swing was too long in the box, changing what he feels while in the batting cage. During the offseason, Jones plans to find a good balance between the two which hopes to bring future success with his new club. Jones suffered with a 33% strikeout rate in his short appearance with his first MLB experience, which is largely contributed to his whiff rate. The key to Jones’ improvement will be figuring out how to control his swing from the batting cages to in game scenario in the hopes to lower his swing-and-miss rate.
Brewer’s beat writer Adam McCalvy recalls Brent Suter’s time in Milwaukee on and off the field. Suter was greatly involved in the community, including programs to improve environmental waste produced by the stadium by helping implement a recycling program for all the plastic cups used at American Family Field. The Brewers’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee the past three seasons, Suter also raised money for nonprofits through sales of his children’s book with environmental messages Suter, while saddened to leave the community he has been around for over seven seasons, is excited for the new opportunity in Denver and excited to play for the great fans of the Rockies.
It’s almost time for Hall of Fame voting to begin with ballots slowly coming in until the December 31st deadline and January announcement. The ballot was revealed on Monday, including former Rockies Todd Helton and Houston Street. Helton is back on the ballot for his fifth year and trying to get closer to the 75% threshold after getting 52% last year. After a log jam of vote going towards controversial players like Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens clearing up, Helton looks to make a big towards enshrinement. Houston Street gets added to the ballot for the first time this year. Keep track of the Hall of Fame voting here to stay up to date on who the Baseball Writers of America choose to induct to the Hall this year.
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