Spring training may feel like it just started, but it is quickly nearing an end. We are sitting around the half-way point, with just eleven days of games left before the start of the 2022 MLB regular season. The Rockies are fresh off a deal for outfielder Randal Grichuk, presumably putting the final touches on the position player-side of the roster. There are still questions to be answered with the placement of the pieces on hand - especially in the center field - but we mostly know who will be around.
That sentiment generally applies to the pitching side as well, with German Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland and Austin Gomber holding down the first four spots in the rotation and Alex Colomé, Carlos Estévez, Daniel Bard, Robert Stephenson, Lucas Gilbreath, Tyler Kinley and Jhoulys Chacín all entrenched in the bullpen.
That’s eleven pitchers we can confidently place on the opening day roster. Chad Kuhl signed a one-year $3MM major league deal in the off-season so he gets added to the list as pitcher number twelve - possibly as the fifth starter.
But Kuhl has yet to pitch this spring, and the player who has received the longest look at the fifth starter spot thus far is Colorado native Ty Blach. Blach last pitched in the majors in 2019 for the Baltimore Orioles and has made two starts so far this spring as a non-roster invite. He’s spread out five hits and two runs in five innings, with no walks allowed and four strikeouts. It has been a fine showing to this point and he has warranted further consideration in the final half of the spring.
If he does crack the roster, it will require some maneuvering from GM Bill Schmidt. The recent demotions of Ryan Feltner, Helcris Oliveraz and Ryan Rolison clears up some of the picture, but not all of it. Noah Davis is still in camp, but has never pitched above High-A Spokane so it will make sense for him to start the season in the minors after getting his taste of big-league camp. But that still leaves Ben Bowden, Julian Fernández, Ashton Goudeau, Peter Lambert, Justin Lawrence and Jordan Sheffield in the mix with Blach.
The Rockies can only keep 13 pitchers on their 26-man roster, so there is only one spot left for seven pitchers to fight for. All but Blach are currently on the 40-man roster, so if one of the field gets the nod there will be minimal roster management required. But if Blach is the Rockies’ man, then the front office will have a decision to make. All six of the previously mentioned pitchers do have at least one option remaining - including Jordan Sheffield, who is now eligible for minor league assignment since he spent all of the 2021 season with the major league team after being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
That is where the trade-off is straightforward if Blach makes the squad. But the Rockies’ 40-man roster is full, so something will need to give on that front. Fernández, Lawrence and Sheffield are still young bullpen pieces for now and the future, so they seem safe. As do Peter Lambert, but for purposes of starting pitching. Ben Bowden should fall into the former category, but it is worth noting that his time to cut it as an effective major leaguer is running out and his two homers allowed in two appearances is not inspiring. He could be a dark-horse candidate to be dropped to make way for Blach, but there is one pitcher I have yet to mention who seems far more likely to be the one: Ashton Goudeau.
Poor Ashton Goudeau.
The Rockies (first) acquired Goudeau as a free agent in November of 2018. He had a stable, full season in Double-A for Colorado in 2019 and appeared in four games for the Rockies in the 2020 pandemic season. But his life since the end of 2020 has been a nightmarish ride on the D.F.A. carousel:
- November 25, 2020: Selected off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Colorado Rockies.
- December 7, 2020: Selected off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- March 18, 2021: Selected off waivers by the San Francisco Giants from the Baltimore Orioles.
- April 10, 2021: Selected off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the San Francisco Giants.
- April 18, 2021: Selected off waivers by the Colorado Rockies from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- May 2, 2021: Selected off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds from the Colorado Rockies.
- July 29, 2021: Purchased by the Colorado Rockies from the Cincinnati Reds.
That’s seven transactions and six different organizations...in just nine months. He did get 34 ⅓ major league innings in 2021 with Cincinnati and Colorado, posting a respectable 4.19 ERA. So far this spring he has thrown two scoreless innings in his lone appearance and he does have an option year remaining, so he could conceivably stick around in Triple-A if he doesn’t make the big league roster out of camp.
We’ll see how it plays out between now and opening day on April 8th. But indications are Ty Blach is in serious consideration for an opening day spot - either out of the bullpen or at the end of the rotation. If he does get the job, a change needs to be made on the 40-man roster and history tells us Ashton Goudeau may be on the wrong side of that transaction.
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Another day, another Rockies’ prospect list with Zac Veen at the head of the class. Drew Romo ranks second on the team’s list, with Benny Montgomery, Elehuris Montero and Ryan Rolison rounding out the top 5.
Baseball’s Most Valuable Teams 2022: Yankees Hit $6 Billion As New CBA Creates New Revenue Streams | Forbes
Mike Ozanian and Justin Teitelbaum take a deep dive into the sponsorship and television revenue for Major League Baseball as a whole, along with the value and bottom lines for all thirty ball-clubs. The Rockies check-in at #20, with a value of $1.385 billion and an operating income of $14 million.
The bats were hot on Friday, as the Rockies put up multiple runs in five of the nine innings against the Cubs. Six Rockies went deep on day: Brendan Rodgers (1), Ezequiel Tovar (3), Connor Joe (1), Elehuris Montero (1), Coco Montes (1) and Hunter Stovall (1). Germán Márquez threw three scoreless innings to earn the win. Noah Davis struck out three in two scoreless frames to close out the ballgame.
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