The Rockies announced they’ve designated corner infielder Colton Welker for assignment. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for José Ureña, who has been selected onto the active roster. (The team first announced Ureña’s forthcoming promotion last night). Reliever Justin Lawrence was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to open space on the active roster.
A former fourth-round pick, Welker developed into one of the system’s more interesting prospects early in his pro career. Baseball America placed him among the organization’s top ten farmhands each season from 2018-21. That’s partially a reflection of Colorado’s generally shallow systems of late, but some evaluators suggested Welker could blossom into a bat-first regular at the hot corner. He posted strong numbers in the lower minors and consistently ran lower than average strikeout rates on his way up the ladder.
Welker has seen his stock fall considerably over the past two seasons. He was hit with an 80-game suspension in May 2021 after testing positive for a banned substance. That kept the Florida native to a 23-game stint in Albuquerque. Welker was called up to make his major league debut last September, but he scuffled during a 19-game cameo.
Optioned back to the Isotopes to open the 2022 season, Welker suited up just ten times and tallied 45 plate appearances. He got out to a fast start and seemed as if he’d be on the radar for another MLB look, but he landed on the minor league injured list on April 23. Six weeks later, he underwent shoulder surgery that ended his 2022 season.
Players on the minor league injured list still occupy a spot on the 40-man roster. Colorado could’ve recalled Welker and placed him on the major league 60-day IL, but doing so would’ve required paying him at the prorated MLB minimum salary for the rest of the year (a bit under $350K). Colorado instead elected to take him off the 40-man roster and risk losing him to another club.
Injured players cannot be outrighted, so the Rockies will have a week to trade Welker or release him. The latter course of action is likely, at which point the league’s 29 other teams would have a chance to grab him off release waivers. That’s not unheard of — the Giants have added Luis González and Darien Núñez in similar situations, for instance — but it’s also possible he’ll pass through waivers unclaimed. In that event, Welker would be a free agent, and the Rockies could then look to bring him back on a minor league deal.
How quickly the mighty have fallen. I’d be shocked if he didn’t go the way of Gonzalez and get claimed off release waivers.
The mighty? You’re very generous.
The dude was relegated to corner infield after his PED suspension and has never hit enough to to stick at 1b or 3b.
And after that he sold out on contact to get super pull heavy. Which is bad because he doesn’t have the raw power to stick at a corner.
This looks more like the slow burn of a former prospect.
Edit: failed prospect meaning the best to think he could be is a poor man’s Ryan McMahon with the bat but the defense won’t keep him on a 40
He was always more or less a 3B, but he hit pretty well in the Minors and was pretty well regarded.
Somehow I didn’t think you could DFA a guy who was injured. Maybe the minor-league injured list is a different story.
Welker was a decent prospect not long ago; maybe his injury is something they don’t think he’ll come back from.
Last paragraph of the article explains it.
Yeah, that part was still “more to come” when I wrote that.
Still seems cold to cut a guy loose who is injured without even paying his AAA salary for the rest of the season. I hope his recovery from surgery is still covered somehow.
Oh yeah, I know it was beforehand that you posted, just wanted to point you in the right direction of a good explanation of the rule.
Damn dude got welked
Pretty good indication how much the Rockies system has improved the last couple years. Eleheuris Montero is a similar player but considerably better, and he’s now passed Welker.
They’re still ranked mid to high 20s.
The Athletics should be all over this….
That cleveland team needs warm bodies, they couldnt hit sand if they fell off a camel
I sure hope the Detroit Tigers sign him. He is destined for greatness.
Sounds like a bargain alert for a premium bat, Wonder what the scout chatter is on this one?