The Rockies announced Wednesday that they’ve designated left-handed reliever Fernando Abad for assignment. His roster spot will go to fellow southpaw Brent Suter, who has been reinstated from the 15-day injured list after missing nearly a month due to an oblique strain.
Abad, 37, signed a minor league deal with the Rockies in the winter and has since bounced on and off their roster this year. He was selected in mid-May and was designated for assignment less than a week later. After being released, he re-signed another minors deal and got his roster spot back at the start of this month. Between those two stints, he’s tossed 6 1/3 innings with a 4.26 earned run average. That might seem passable at first glance but he’s struck out just 6.3% of hitters while stranding an unsustainable 98.2% of runners.
That’s a very small sample size and Abad and spent a larger amount of time in Triple-A this year, posting a 1.40 ERA in 25 2/3 innings there. His numbers there are also being helped by a 100% strand rate but his 30.8% strikeout rate at that level is much more impressive.
The veteran has a lengthy track record that consists of 406 major league appearances dating back to 2010. He had a strong stretch from 2013 to 2017, registering a 3.13 ERA over 275 appearances in that time. But he’s been more of an emergency option since then, tossing just 37 total innings since the end of 2017 with a combined 4.86 ERA.
The Rockies will now have a week to trade Abad or pass him through waivers. He has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency. It’s possible that Abad is released and returns to the club on a new minor league deal, the same sequence of events that took place a couple of months ago, though that’s not guaranteed in any way.
As for Suter, he was having a strong season before suffering that oblique strain. He has a 2.81 ERA on the year, keeping the ball on the ground at a 41.7% clip. As an impending free agent on a non-contending club, Suter figures to draw trade interest in the coming weeks, especially if he returns that same level of effectiveness. The Rockies are usually reticent to part with logical trade candidates but manager Bud Black recently indicated that could be different this year.