The Rockies have designated a notable group of players for assignment today to clear space on the 40-man roster, per a club announcement. Relievers John Axford, Rex Brothers, and Tommy Kahnle are all now in DFA limbo, as is first baseman/catcher Wilin Rosario.
Colorado has selected the contracts of righties Carlos Estevez and Antonio Senzatela, infielder Trevor Story, and outfielder Raimel Tapia. All of those players will be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
It’s somewhat surprising to see all of those veterans being pushed out the door, but the move saves significant dollars for the Rockies. Per MLBTR’s arbitration projections, the trio of Axford, Brothers, and Rosario would’ve cost just over $11MM in 2016. All three could potentially score guaranteed contracts in free agency — and Axford almost certainly will after a solid campaign — but it also is easy to see why the team wasn’t willing to pay their respective arb prices to keep them.
Kahnle was not yet arb eligible, but lost his place after his walk rate ballooned to 7.6 BB/9 last year. The pre-2014 Rule 5 pick showed enough to stick in Colorado, and his mid-90s heater is still humming, so he ought to draw some interest from clubs that are looking for a project.