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Rockies take care of business, sign all arbitration-eligible players

Colorado Rockies news and notes for Friday, January 12, 2024

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For the second straight season, the Rockies have re-signed all arbitration-eligible players before spring training and without any hearings needed.

Several hours before Thursday’s deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with players who are arbitration eligible, the Rockies announced they had signed one-year deals with second baseman Brendan Rodgers, left-handed starter Austin Gomber, right-handed starter and sometimes reliever Peter Lambert, and left-handed reliever Lucas Gilbreath.

On Wednesday, the Rockies checked one player off the arbitration list when they came to a one-year, $6.55-million deal with newly acquired pitcher Cal Quantrill. The Rockies traded for right-handed Quantrill, who will turn 29 on Feb. 10, in November after he was waived by Cleveland.

Rodgers, who is in his second year of arbitration, signed a $3.2-million deal for the 2024 season. The 27-year-old had his best season in the Big Leagues in 2022 when he played a career-high 137 games in his fourth MLB season. He won a Golden Glove and slashed .266/.325/.408 with 30 doubles and 46 RBI.

Rodgers agreed to a $2.7-million arbitration deal going into the 2023 season, which got off to a rough start when he dislocated his left shoulder in spring training. He didn’t return to the lineup until July 31. He hit .258/.313/.388 with nine doubles and 20 RBI in 46 games. Rodgers is a key player in Colorado’s solid defensive infield and has a promising bat, but injuries have prevented him from living up to expectations, which were sky-high after being the third overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Gomber, who is also in his second year of three in the arbitration-eligible process, landed a $3.15 million deal. Gomber started a career-high 27 games for the Rockies in 2023, when he was on a $1.65-million, one-year deal, and course corrected after 2022 struggles shipped him to the bullpen. He finished with a 9-9 record, 5.50 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, and he turned out to be the last starter standing in mid-July when Kyle Freeland was placed on the IL with a right shoulder injury.

Gomber finished with the second-most innings pitched (139 behind Freeland’s 155 2/3) before lower back soreness ended his season with a third-inning departure in his last start on Aug. 28. With Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela likely to miss large chunks of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Rockies need Gomber to have another successful and healthy year on the mound.

Also in his second year of arbitration, Lambert signed a $1.25 million deal Thursday. Lambert made 25 appearances in 2023 — 11 starts and 14 appearances from the bullpen — posting a 5.36 ERA. It was the most appearances Lambert has made in his career and the second-most starts since his 19-start debut in 2019. Lambert, who made $550,044 last season, has struggled to stay healthy since.

Lambert, 26, pitched May and June in relief, then went down to Triple-A to build up his innings to transition to the Rockies injury-ravaged rotation. After eight starts in August and September, Lambert’s season also ended early when he landed on the IL with right biceps tendonitis. The 2024 season will be an important one for Lambert in terms of seeing if he can endure an entire season and find his place with the Rockies, whether it’s in the rotation or bullpen.

After 47 relief appearances in both 2021 and 2022, his first two MLB seasons, Gilbreath missed all of 2023 due to having Tommy John surgery in March. Usually, players have to accrue three years of service time before being eligible for arbitration, but Gilbreath earned Super Two designation by finishing in the top 22 percent in the league in service time. With a career 3.78 ERA, the Rockies bullpen would greatly benefit from having the lefty back and healthy in 2024. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Gilbreath signed for $760,000.

Quantrill went 15-5 in 32 starts with a 3.38 ERA in 2022 and earned a $5.55-million deal for 2023 in his second year of arbitration. He went 4-7 in 19 starts, missing most of July and all of August with right shoulder inflammation.

With the five arbitration deals, the Rockies have quietly solidified their roster and added pitching depth by signing LHP Jalen Beeks off waivers from Tampa Bay, adding RHP Anthony Molina in the Rule 5 Draft, signing RHP Chance Adams, LHP Ty Blach, and RHP Matt Koch to minor league deals, and signing free agent RHP Dakota Hudson.

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Baseball Hall of Fame ballots 2024: The Athletic’s voters explain their selections | The Athletic ($)

In a much-appreciated effort to be more transparent, the Athletic shared their rationales behind their Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballots. With an introduction by Chad Jennings, an Athletic staff writer who is also currently the president of the BWAA, this is what baseball needs more of. Of the Athletic’s nine writers with the HOF-voting privilege, all nine of them voted for Todd Helton.

Could the Colorado Rockies Trade For This A’s Outfielder? | Sports Illustrated

Knowing that the Rockies are looking for a left-handed outfielder, Inside the A’s managing editor Jason Burke has some suggestions from Oakland who could fit the bill. He looks at 31-year-old Seth Brown as a possible fit because of his veteran status, solid defense in the corner spots, his status as “an above average hitter in two of the three seasons,” and because he’s projected to be the third-highest player on the payroll with his $2.3-million salary (just as a note, the Rockies are paying Nolan Arenado $5 million in 2024 as the 10th-highest salary on their payroll). Burke suggests a possible bench player and oft-hurt pitcher in return from the Rockies.

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