- The Rockies placed catcher Nick Hundley on the seven-day DL on Saturday with a concussion and called up pitcher David Hale from Triple-A, The Associated Press reports. The DL move was made retroactive to Thursday. Hundley has been dealing with concussion symptoms since he took a foul tip to the mask Wednesday. Prior to the injury, Hundley hit a solid .227/.393/.409 in 28 PAs.
- Another emerging player, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, has “hit the ground trotting” with a seven-home-run binge to start the season, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s been so composed right from the beginning of Spring Training,” says manager Walt Weiss. “He knew he had an opportunity coming into camp, and with some kids, it’s too much for them. But with Trevor, I think it elevated his game. It brought out the best in him.” As Crasnick points out, Story probably would have played for Triple-A Albuquerque this April had it not been for Jose Reyes’ domestic-violence suspension.
- The Rockies will explore further ways to make Coors Field more friendly to pitchers, owner Dick Monfort told Nick Groke of the Denver Post. “[W]e’re going to continue to find ways to make it not so offensive a park,” said Monforto. “We all know it’s the most offensive park in baseball. Part of that, there’s nothing we can do about it. But if there are things we can do to take some of the offense away from it, that’s what we should try to do.” The Rockies raised the wall in right-center field by eight feet, nine inches prior to the season and also added height to the wall straight down the left-field line. Those changes didn’t halt offensive production during the first series of the year at Coors Field, however, with Colorado and San Diego amassing 47 runs in three contests.
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts has changed agencies, staying with his representative — Steve Veltman — as he moved to The Legacy Agency, as Robert Murray of Baseball Essential was first to report (via Twitter). He’s not alone, as players including Jonathan Schoop of the Orioles and Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks are also making the move, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, with player rep Ed Cerulo accompanying Veltman to a new home.
Betts, still just 23, has emerged as one of the game’s most exciting young talents. He followed up a highly promising partial season in 2014 with an outstanding campaign last year in which he put up a .291/.341/.479 slash over 654 plate appearances with 18 home runs and 21 steals. Of course, Betts is also a high-quality and versatile fielder and excellent baserunner.
Boston has plenty of cheap control remaining, as Betts won’t even reach arbitration eligibility until 2018 and doesn’t stand to hit the open market until 2021. He certainly profiles as an extension candidate, though, and his new agency will quite possibly field interest from the Sox.
Other quality 1+ outfielders have signed lengthy deals — including, recently, Gregory Polanco ($35MM) and Christian Yelich ($49.57MM) — but it seems fair to expect that Betts would command a good bit more given the floor and ceiling he’s shown to this point. And the price will likely only rise, as his service clock continues to run and he pads the stat sheet.
Schoop and Ray also rate as promising young players, but have more to prove at this stage than Betts. Other big leaguers joining The Legacy Agency, per Rosenthal, include Cody Anderson and Rajai Davis (Indians), Trevor May (Twins), Kevin Siegrist (Cardinals), Carter Capps (Marlins), Jerad Eickhoff (Phillies), and Tony Wolters (Rockies). Several unnamed prospects are also changing agencies.
As always, you can find reported player representation in MLBTR’s Agency Database.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says that the organization has not entertained any thoughts of a full-blown rebuild, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. “We’re always trying to win,” Bridich said. “People are questioning us, or they’re confused. ’Why aren’t you trying some sort of nuclear rebuild?’ Those things have to happen when you feel like you don’t have talent on the field to compete or a system of depth to add to it. Our belief is that we have talent on this level to compete.” Though the payroll is down a bit over prior years, the club certainly acted as a team with intentions of winning this winter — dedicating assets to the bullpen and then setting aside service-time considerations with the Opening Day promotion of shortstop Trevor Story. Needless to say, the 23-year-old has rewarded that decision early, swatting three home runs in his first two major league games.
- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says that a decision on Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes — currently on administrative leave in the wake of domestic violence allegations — will likely come “in days as opposed to weeks,” as Neil Best of Newsday reports. While Manfred emphasized that he hopes to move along quickly now that the charges against Reyes have been dropped, he also expressed hope that he’ll be able to acquire new information before making a final call on whether (and for how long) to suspend the veteran infielder. “The ability of law enforcement to provide us with information, that only goes up,” said Manfred. “They have more flexibility to provide us with information once the criminal process comes to an end, one way or the other . . . We’re trying to take advantage of that additional flexibility to get all of the information that’s available as quickly as possible.”
- The Rockies have received positive returns on Jon Gray’s efforts to work through an ab injury, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. After a lengthy live-BP session, Gray appears ready to make a minor league rehab appearance and also feels he may have discovered an important mechanical adjustment. Colorado is hoping for big things from the 24-year-old, and it is certainly good news that it seems he’ll soon be ready to join the MLB staff.
- The Rockies have released 2010 first-round pick Kyle Parker, Thomas Harding of MLB.com notes. The 26-year-old Parker played briefly with the Rockies in 2014 and 2015, compiling a total .182/.217/.295 line while playing outfield and first base. The Rockies had outrighted him over the winter, then brought him to camp as a non-roster player.
- The Rockies have signed shortstop Jeff Bianchi to a minor-league deal, Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets. Bianchi played briefly for Boston last year, spending most of the year at Triple-A, where he hit .262/.329/.315. He has a .531 OPS in 404 career big-league plate appearances spread over four years, most of them coming with the Brewers.
- Catcher Tony Wolters was an unlikely choice to make the Rockies’ roster, but he’ll head north with the big-league team thanks in part to his ability to play at the middle infield positions as well as behind the plate, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. When the Rockies claimed Wolters in February, he had never played above the Double-A level. He initially played shortstop in the Indians organization before switching to catching in 2013. That versatility could make him more useful in extra-inning games — and, I’d think, in long games in general, of which Coors Field has many. “We didn’t know the kid until spring training started,” says manager Walt Weiss. “Over the course of six weeks, he won a lot of people over. That’s hard to do in this game.”
The criminal charges filed in Hawaii against Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes will be dropped, Jennifer Sinco Kelleher of the Associated Press reports. The domestic abuse trial that had been schedule for Opening Day will not go forward, per the prosecuting attorney, because Reyes’s wife — the alleged victim — was not willing to cooperate in the case.
Of course, the termination of criminal proceedings does not mean that Reyes will necessarily avoid discipline from the league under its domestic violence policy. Commissioner Rob Manfred recently handed Yankees hurler Aroldis Chapman a 30-game suspension despite the fact that — unlike Reyes — he was not arrested or charged in the incident in question. Chapman and the MLBPA also agreed not to appeal that ban, which some have suggested may have reduced its duration.
The charges stemmed from an incident on Halloween night last fall in which Reyes allegedly assaulted his wife in their hotel room. According to reports at the time, Reyes’s wife accused him at the time of grabbing her throat and pushing her into a sliding glass door. He was arrested as she was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Reyes has already been placed on paid administrative leave by the league pending the outcome of his case. He did not appear in Spring Training with the Rockies as a result. Now, Manfred faces the difficult matter of investigating and reaching a resolution on the matter with the regular season set to open in less than a week.
The Rockies, who acquired Reyes in last summer’s Troy Tulowitzki deal, owe the veteran shortstop $48MM over the next two years, including a buyout of a 2018 club option. Colorado would stand to avoid paying a pro-rated portion of that for whatever length of time, if any, Reyes is unavailable due to suspension. The Rockies seem set to utilize prospect Trevor Story at shortstop in Reyes’s absence; needless to say, the future outlook for Reyes and the club remain unclear at this time.