The idleness from the Colorado Rockies at the 2022 trade deadline is still a fresh wound for followers of the team. While the rest of the league was shuffling their rosters around, the Rockies were the only franchise content with standing pat. The questions surrounding the organization’s plan for the present and future are abundant, and the less the front office does the louder they seem to get.
There are too-many “what-ifs” to dig into, but it’s safe to say the Rockies certainly missed some opportunities to improve via external acquisition over the past week. But another way the Rockies failed to progress was on the outlook of their 40-man roster this off-season.
Rule 5 eligible PuRPs
Our 2022 mid-season PuRP poll is currently up-and-running, so an updated ranking of Colorado’s farm system is in-process. But if we look back to the pre-season polling, we can see the prospects that have been on the radar throughout the season. Of this group (including the honorable mentions that just-missed the top-30), nine players will be eligible for the Rule-5 draft for the first time this off-season, meaning the Rockies must add them to the 40-man roster or risk losing the player to another franchise.
So the time is coming for the front office to make a decision on long-time organization favorites like Michael Toglia, Brent Doyle and Aaron Schunk. In fact, most of the Double-A Yard Goats will be Rule-5 eligible, either for the first-time like the aforementioned group of position players, or once again for players like C Willie MacIver and RP Riley Pint.
Rockies’ expiring MLB contracts
This is not to say there won’t be roster space becoming available. Counting Scott Oberg, who is essentially retired, the Rockies have seven major league players coming off the books after this season. The team has expressed a desire to re-sign Chad Kuhl and it would not be surprising if that attitude carried over to others like Colomé and Estévez.
But, for simplicity, let’s say they all depart. That leaves seven spots available on the 40-man. As of now, three of those spots are already claimed as Tyler Kinley, Helcris Oliveraz and Ryan Rolison are currently on the 60-day IL but will have to go back on the 40-man in the off-season. So now there are four spots open for literally dozens of players that will need to be added or exposed.
It’s worth noting there are potential non-tender candidates still under team-control as well, so the number of available spots is not set in stone by any means. But what the Rockies plan to do is once again unclear, and the inactivity at the trade deadline adds fuel to that fire.
There feel like a few sure-bet additions in Karl Kauffmann and Michael Toglia. Brent Doyle also seems likely to be selected. Grant Lavigne’s 2022 performance certainly seems worthy of serious consideration and the same can be said about Aaron Schunk. That sentiment also applies to Warming Bernabel and Juan Brito. But both are in the A-Ball levels, which at least casts doubt about another team taking a shot at them on their big-league roster.
But the positional-density does not align with Colorado’s roster needs. Most of the departing big-leaguers are on the pitching side of the roster, while Kauffmann seems like the only sure-thing from the eligible-prospect pool. Toglia has long been labeled as the future at first base, but is in direct-competition with Lavigne at his current level. If they both get rostered, that will only continue moving forward. Not to mention that Elehuris Montero is ahead of both of them on the depth chart, who sits behind C.J. Cron at first base and Ryan McMahon at third. That corner-infield depth only slides players like Schunk and Bernabel further down the totem-pole. All of this is before even getting to other position-players on the bubble, like Hunter Stovall and Daniel Montano.
All of this is to say that the Rockies’ actions have consequences, and choosing to let the organization stand-pat will make the 40-man roster decisions this off-season harder. The front office had the opportunity to bring some clarity to this situation, but ultimately elected not to. That will be worth remembering in December.
★ ★ ★
The Rockies claimed for San Diego Padres’ RHP Dinelson Lamet off waivers on Friday. Lamet was recently acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from the Padres in a trade for Josh Hader, but sub-sequential moves by Milwaukee at the trade deadline ultimately led Lamet being placed on waivers shortly after the trade. To make room for Lamet, Colorado designation RHP Ashton Goudeau for assignment.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
D.J. Peterson got the Isotopes out to an early lead with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning. Unfortunately, that would be the last time Albuquerque held the lead as El Paso would plate two runs in the bottom of the inning before adding one more in the second to even the score. The Chihuahuas would add one more off starter Brandon Gold in the fourth, closing his line and four runs allowed on 11 hits in 3 2⁄3 innings. A sacrifice fly by Bret Boswell would even up the score in the top of the sixth, but El Paso pulled away with three runs in the bottom of the inning off reliever Ty Blach.
Noah Davis was excellent in his start, but had tough luck in this one as he picked up a rare complete game loss. Davis allowed a solo home run in the third inning and another run in the fourth on a fielder’s choice, but threw zeroes for the rest of the ballgame and finished with seven strikeouts and no walks allowed in eight innings pitched. Unfortunately, the Hartford offense wasn’t able to hold up their end of the bargain, producing just one run on a Brent Doyle homer in the fifth inning. The Yard Goats finished the evening 1-of-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six on-base.
A strong offensive output in the first two-thirds of the game was enough for starter Andrew Quezada, who improved to 8-0 on the season with two earned runs allowed over six innings. Hunter Goodman got the scoring started with a two-run home run in the second inning. Spokane tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Julio Carreras and bases-loaded walk by Robby Martin, Jr. Eugene would cut the lead down to two in the sixth, but Zac Veen got one back with a run-scoring fielder’s choice before Mateo Gil put the icing on the cake with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Ryley Widell made his Fresno debut at home against the Giants. He notched five strikeouts without issuing a walk, but unfortunately took the loss with his three runs allowed in four innings. He departed the game down just 3-2 thanks to RBI singles by Juan Guerrero in the third and Benjamin Sems in the fourth, but that is all the offense Fresno was able to manage in the ballgame. San Jose added on with runs in the fifth, sixth and ninth the nail down the victory. Grizzlies’ hitters struck out 13 times in the ballgame.
★ ★ ★
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