Colorado Rockies – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T05:55:16Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitchers Recently Electing Free Agency]]> 2019-10-22T15:43:42Z 2019-10-22T14:56:58Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

We already rounded up the position players. Now, here are the pitchers that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

George Miller <![CDATA[Marlins Return Rule 5 Pick Julian Fernandez To Rockies]]> 2019-10-19T22:35:48Z 2019-10-19T22:35:48Z The Miami Marlins have returned right-handed pitcher Julian Fernandez, who was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, to the Colorado Rockies, according to the Rockies’ official Twitter account. The move leaves 36 players on the Marlins’ 40-man roster.

Fernandez was originally selected by the Giants in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, but was unable to pitch in the following season after suffering an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. In the 2018-2019 offseason, he was claimed off waivers by the Marlins. After suffering a setback in his recovery from surgery, he was again unable to pitch for the entire year.

Since he hasn’t spent any time on a Major League roster in the two years since he was selected in 2017, he will be returned to the Colorado organization.

Fernandez’s career has certainly followed a curious, if unfortunate, path. He’s now accrued two years of Major League service time despite not having thrown a pitch in the big leagues. And with Fernandez returning to Colorado, the Rockies have stumbled into an interesting arm. At 6’6″, Fernandez is a physical specimen who attracted interest for his ability to touch triple digits with his fastball prior to surgery. He’s still just 23 years old, though he’s now lost two critical years of development and hasn’t thrown a pitch above Class-A ball.

In his most recent season, 2017, Fernandez threw 58 quality innings for the Rockies’ Class-A affiliate, striking out 57 batters and notching a 3.26 ERA. His high-octane fastball led many to believe that he had potential as a high-leverage reliever, though of course that potential had to be put on hold. Still, he’ll be an interesting case to monitor moving forward: when he’s at full health, will he retain his electric fastball velocity? Where will the Rockies assign him in his return to action? It’ll be fun to see if he can carve out a role with his new/old organization, which first signed him when he was 16.

George Miller <![CDATA[Jeff Bridich Explains Opt-Out In Arenado Extension]]> 2019-10-19T20:26:58Z 2019-10-19T20:22:46Z When Rockies megastar Nolan Arenado inked a franchise-record $260MM contract extension in February, it was of course assumed that the opt-out clause in his contract was one of Arenado’s demands to increase his leverage. However, it’s since been revealed that it was Rockies GM Jeff Bridich, not Arenado, who pushed for the inclusion of an opt-out clause. At first blush, that’s a questionable negotiating tactic at best. If a team wanted to lock up its star player for the long-run, why would it give him the option to jump ship three years into the contract? The Athletic’s Nick Groke, who spoke to Bridich himself, can provide some insight into the GM’s thinking. It’s left to Rockies fans to decide if they’re satisfied with his justification, which draws on the organization’s history with big contracts for the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton. While Rockies brass aren’t yet concerning themselves with Arenado’s decision, they will have to if the next couple of years play out anything like 2019. With Arenado intent on winning and the franchise preparing for another uninspiring offseason, the outlook for 2020 and beyond may be hampered by apparent financial restrictions. For the time being, though, the possibility of an Arenado opt-out looms as the club embarks on the winter with hopes of returning to the postseason.

Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Rockies In Need Of Righty Catcher?]]> 2019-10-17T19:58:46Z 2019-10-17T19:55:26Z Thomas Harding of confirms that the Rockies have dismissed several minor league coaches, including longtime Triple-A manager Glenallen Hill (link).  Double-A hitting coach Lee Stevens and Single-A hitting coach Norberto Martin will also be let go, according to assistant general manager of player development Zach Wilson.

  • In another Rockies item, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post gives an eye toward the defensive improvements made in 2019 by catcher Tony Wolters–while also opining that the club should acquire a veteran backstop to lighten the workload of the light-hitting Wolters (link). As Saunders notes, Wolters, a former second baseman, was charged with just one error last season while throwing out 34% of would-be base stealers, a rate which trailed only J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies. Manager Bud Black, for one, told the Post this year that Wolters had turned himself into “one of the best defensive catchers in baseball”. Unfortunately, the value-added performance hasn’t translated to the plate for the 27-year-old San Diego native, as his .239/.327/.324 line in parts of four seasons would indicate. Weighted runs created plus, which discounts the effect of his offensively friendly Coors Field home, pegs Wolters with a 59 wRC+ in that same timeframe, profiling him as one of the weakest-hitting regulars in the sport. For this reason, Saunders posits that finding a platoon partner for the lefty-swinging Wolters will be a high priority for Rockies GM Jeff Bridich this winter.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[The Rockies Need To Make Tough Calls On Some Key Players]]> 2019-10-14T15:54:42Z 2019-10-14T15:18:25Z The Rockies poured $106MM into their bullpen prior to the 2018 season, signing Wade Davis to a three-year, $52MM contract (the highest annual rate ever promised to a reliever) and inking right-hander Bryan Shaw and lefty Jake McGee to matching three-year, $27MM deals. To this point, none of that trio has pitched up to his abilities, with 2019 being a particularly brutal year thanks to Davis’ stunning struggles. In 42 2/3 innings, Davis posted an 8.65 ERA with career-worst walk and home run rates. Shaw, meanwhile, posted an ERA north of 5.00 for the second straight season, while McGee managed a tolerable 4.35 ERA in an injury-shortened campaign.

Those underperformances not only combined to play a significant role in Colorado’s playoff miss but have also hamstrung the Rockies entering the current offseason. Owner Dick Monfort has plainly stated that the team lacks payroll flexibility. It’s instinctual to suggest that the Rockies need to move some contracts this winter in order to help free up some payroll capacity, but that’s far easier said than done; beyond the poor showings from that high-priced trio of relievers, each has a 2021 option that further complicates matters (hat tip to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post for the observation on Davis and Shaw).

Davis’ contract stipulates that his $15MM option for the 2021 season becomes a player option if he finishes just 30 games in 2020. He’s reached that total in each of the past four seasons. The Rockies (or another team) at least have direct control over that, however, and could simply pitch Davis in a setup or middle relief capacity. Based on his 2019 output, they’d hardly be unjustified in moving him to a lower-leverage role. They already began giving Scott Oberg save opportunities over Davis in 2019 anyhow.

The more problematic contractual options belong to Shaw and McGee, each of whom will see a $9MM option for 2021 become fully guaranteed with a full, healthy season. McGee would need to appear in 65 games next year in order to boost his combined games total from 2019-20 to 110, thus triggering that guarantee. He hasn’t appeared in 65 games since 2014, so perhaps it’s a long shot anyway, but the clause does the Rockies no favors in attempting to move him.

Shaw’s contract is probably the biggest concern. It’s structured the same as McGee’s, in that he’ll trigger his option with 110 appearances between 2019-20. Unlike McGee, though, Shaw was fully healthy in 2019 and took the ball 70 times. He only needs to appear in 40 games next season for another $9MM to be tacked onto that contract. Shaw, who’ll turn 32 this winter, has a 5.61 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9 in 126 1/3 innings since signing with the Rockies. It’s arguable that they’d be better off releasing him rather than risking that $9MM salary vesting in 2021, but doing so would mean forgoing a chance to shed even a portion of that commitment in a trade.

So if those three deals are all extraordinarily difficult to move, then where else could the Rockies look to create flexibility? Charlie Blackmon’s $108MM contract still has two guaranteed years remaining before he encounters an opt-out provision. He’s owed $21MM in both 2020 and 2021 before he can opt for free agency or a $21MM salary for the 2022 season. His contract has a second player option for 2023 that was initially valued at $8MM, but he’s already well on his way to maxing out the escalators that’d push that option as high as $18MM. Those escalators are based on plate appearances, and Blackmon is already over halfway there after tallying 1330 trips to the dish over the past two seasons.

Were he still an elite all-around player, perhaps that’d be viewed in a different light. But while Blackmon is still a terrific hitter (.314/.364/.576 in 2019), he’s no longer a base-stealing threat and was widely panned by defensive statistics in 2019. Just three years after a 43-steal campaign in 2016, Blackmon went 2-for-7 in stealing bags in 2019. Defensive Runs Saved (-8), Ultimate Zone Rating (-10.6) and Outs Above Average (-9) all soured on his glovework, too, even with a shift from center field to right field.

With two years and $25MM to go on Ian Desmond’s ill-fated $70MM contract, there’s little hope of moving him. The same is true of Daniel Murphy (owed $14MM in 2020) after he logged an 87 OPS+ / 86 wRC+ in an injury-shortened season in 2019. And, of course, the Rockies would surely be loath to trade franchise icon Nolan Arenado just one year into his record-setting extension (seven years, $234MM in new money, bringing the total to eight years and $260MM).

So how can the Rockies go about cleaning up the payroll a bit while addressing some holes on the roster? Their best bet would be to trade some higher-end arbitration-eligible players. Fans would bristle at the notion of trading Trevor Story and, perhaps to a lesser extent, righty Jon Gray. But both players have just two seasons of club control remaining before free agency. An extension for either doesn’t seem especially likely when Monfort is already citing payroll issues. Story is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $11.5MM in 2020 while Gray is pegged at $5.6MM. Not only that, but both would assuredly net some high-end young talent that could strengthen the farm. Plus, the Rockies have a premium middle-infield prospect in Brendan Rodgers who could hypothetically replace Story in 2020 (if he recovers sufficiently from shoulder surgery).

General manager Jeff Bridich’s comments at the team’s year-end press conference heavily suggested that he believes this club can turn things around, as currently constructed. That could prove to be the case, but this is a team that finished 20 games under .500 with a -123 run differential. The Rockies didn’t just finish 35 games out of first place, they finished 18 back from a Wild Card spot and 14 games back from even sitting in second place in the NL West. And they already have more money projected for next year’s payroll (including arbitration projections) than they spent on the roster in 2019. This feels like a team that needs a lot more than just a handful of rebounds to get back on track. Bridich and has staff have some tough choices this winter, but cashing in on two of his best trade assets in Story and Gray would be a logical start.

Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[The Ian Desmond Problem]]> 2019-10-13T16:50:15Z 2019-10-13T03:46:30Z After a 2019 season that saw things go entirely sideways in Denver, changes figure to be afoot for the Rockies this offseason. Despite returning most of a roster that managed a postseason berth in 2018, Bud Black’s club whimpered to a 71-91 record this past season and likely would have ended up in the NL West cellar had it not been for a circumspective second-half collapse on the part of the rival Padres.

Nick Groke of The Athletic, for one, is already musing on potential changes that GM Jeff Bridich could make in an effort to get the club back in contention for 2020 (link). Specifically, Groke points out several players who could be on the “hot seat” this winter, given the club’s current 40-man roster squeeze. Five players currently on the club’s 60-day injured list–Brendan Rodgers, Scott Oberg, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis–will need to be moved off the IL this offseason, necessitating at least five impending roster decisions for Bridich. Groke identifies pitcher Jeff Hoffman as the man that should fall firmly into his club’s roster trimming crosshairs, as his age (26) and near-complete lack of production (6.11 ERA in 209.1 career innings) render his former top-50 prospect status little more than a wistful memory. Groke names ten other players as possible roster casualties, although Bridich signee Ian Desmond–who has produced a cumulative -1.7 fWAR in three Colorado seasons after agreeing to a 5-year/$70MM deal in 2016–is conspicuously absent from his list.

Desmond has two years and $25MM in guarantees remaining on his deal (the pact includes a $15MM option for 2022 which is attached to a $2MM buyout), but it may be time to wonder if the club should swallow bravely and push the ’eject’ button on the ill-fated Desmond deal. While it would be enticing to believe that the former shortstop could be on the brink of a turnaround, there would be little hard evidence to support such a case: his .304 BABIP in three Colorado seasons is only marginally below his .321 career marker, and his 2019 XWOBA of .309 was right in line with his WOBA of .317; moreover, Desmond is 34 years old, and his troubles at the plate are really only the beginning of his performance problems.

When Desmond came to the Rockies in 2017, he was a distinct shortstop/centerfielder hybrid who, despite something of an inconsistent offensive track record, offered somewhat stable value on the bases and in the field. As you might expect for a player reaching his mid-thirties, much of that athletically dependent ability has appeared to abandon Desmond. 2019 marked the first time since 2012 that the native Floridian recorded a negative baserunning metric (-1.7 BSR), while his work in the Rockies outfield was generally a horrorshow. A move back to centerfield produced a -19 DRS mark in 2019 for Desmond, with UZR also generally thumbing its nose at his up-the-middle efforts (-7.2 UZR in 2019 at CF).

Admittedly, metrics indicated a roughly average performance for Desmond in 300-plus innings in left field, but can the club continue to justify running out an average-fielding corner outfielder with negative basepath value and a bat that has been markedly below-average in his three years in Colorado? After all, Desmond’s combined 80 wRC+ during his three years in purple and black is, in itself, indicative of a player who probably should not be long for a major league roster. Add in the other limitations to Desmond’s current game, and the patina of “veteran leadership” falls short of explaining his prospective inclusion on Colorado’s 2020 roster.

It is exceedingly rare to see club’s simply cut bait on $25MM in financial commitment. Still, when winning takes precedent, there is a recent parallel for weighting on-field results over balance sheet concerns. The Red Sox–though operating in an entirely different financial habitat than the Rockies–have continued to pay handsomely for the services of outfielder Rusney Castillo; all they’ve asked of Castillo in return is that he kindly provide those services to the Red Sox of Pawtucket, rather than Boston. Point being: when a pennant-seeking organization recognizes a player can’t play up to his contract, they do whatever it takes to sidestep a sunk cost fallacy. If the Rockies plan on contending in the next two seasons, they might be well served to begin their offseason roster trimming with a rather painful decision, rather than paring away mid-20’s players who may yet have their best baseball ahead of them.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Bryan Shaw Reportedly Drew Interest At Trade Deadline]]> 2019-10-04T04:17:42Z 2019-10-04T04:17:42Z
  • Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw just wrapped up his second straight disappointing season, but there was “some deadline interest” in him over the summer, Thomas Harding of writes. Just as no trade came together then, it seems doubtful to happen going forward. For one, Shaw has logged a brutal 5.61 ERA/5.07 FIP with 7.96 K/9 and 4.05 BB/9 in his two-season, 126 2/3-inning Rockies tenure. He’s owed another $9MM in 2020 on top of it, and there’s an incentive in his deal that could turn a $9MM club option for 2021 into a guarantee. That’ll happen if Shaw appears in 40 games next year and finishes the season healthy. The 31-year-old racked up 70 appearances in 2019, so it would take a drastic fall in usage to prevent his ’21 option from vesting.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Monfort: Rockies Lack Payroll Flexibility]]> 2019-10-01T18:36:36Z 2019-10-01T18:15:10Z Not that it was ever much in question, but Rockies owner Dick Monfort confirmed in comments today that the organization won’t be able to spend its way out of its roster difficulties. “We don’t have a lot of flexibility next year,” Monfort said of the team’s payroll situation, as Nick Groke of The Athletic was among those to cover (Twitter links).

    Appearing at an end-of-season press conference alongside GM Jeff Bridich and manager Bud Black, Monfort also commented on the team’s just-announced TV deal. The contract, which begins with the start of the 2021 season, is “not as lucrative as I wanted it to be,” says the Colorado franchise owner.

    It’d be foolish to rule out contention for a club that features some impressive core talent and that made back-to-back postseason appearances in the prior two campaigns. But much went wrong for the Rox in 2019 and there aren’t many clear avenues to improving — at least, beyond getting the team’s existing players ready to roll for the new campaign.

    Last year’s Rockies club opened with a $145MM payroll, marking the sixth-straight year in which the organization set a new high-water mark. That tally was reached in part with a series of multi-year contracts, many of which remain on the books.

    Looking ahead to 2020, there’s already $120MM on the ledger, some portion of which is dedicated to underperforming assets. That’s before accounting for arbitration pay raises to Trevor Story, Jon Gray, Scott Oberg, David Dahl, and others. And it doesn’t include any new acquisitions.

    There are other interesting observations still rolling out of the presser, with Michael Spencer of CBS Denver documenting some items of interest via video on his Twitter feed. Some recent comments from star third baseman Nolan Arenado featured heavily. Bridich contested any suggestion that the club has adopted or will take up a rebuilding posture. He also said the club is content with the opt-out clause included in Arenado’s contract. Indeed, the GM says it was his idea to bake it in. (Why? He spoke obliquely of “some of the realities that can exist” and “giving people the opportunity to take a breath, at a certain time period, to say is this right for me right now?” Of course, it’s also possible the team pushed the concept as a way of giving non-financial value.)

    Looking ahead, the pitching staff is probably the key area of focus. Though the club was also distinctly below-average offensively, it’s easier to imagine relying upon internal strides in that area. Getting arms to Coors Field remains a difficult task, however, which helps to explain how the club ended up with some less-than-desirable reliever contracts. Bridich says the organization is “always looking” at ways to get quality players in, though the above-noted limitations figure to make that tough. The roster architect suggested that he remains confident in a group that certainly has been more effective in the recent past. As he put it, “I think that there still is a foundation as long as certain guys bounce back.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Announce New TV Deal]]> 2019-10-01T01:39:27Z 2019-10-01T01:39:27Z The Rockies have announced the extension of their contract with AT&T SportsNet, as Kyle Newman of the Denver Post was among those to report. Details on the length and value of the pact are not known.

    These entities already had an arrangement for the 2020 season pursuant to their preexisting agreement. Earlier this year, owner Dick Monfort referred to the TV deal as being three or four years old, so that was obviously a shorter-term arrangement than those we’ve seen in some other circumstances.

    In terms of the money involved, Monfort had cited a “sizable jump” in the rights fee amount in the prior deal. In its breakdown of the Rockies’ financial situation, Forbes claims that the present TV rights fee sits at an average of $20MM annually. The new one, it estimates, could double that sum — though whether it has in fact done so is not known. Whatever the precise amount of the past and future rights fees, it’s not likely an industry-leading amount.

    It’s certainly possible that the Rox have boosted their earnings in a meaningful way, though this renegotiation doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. And the organization did not exactly help its leverage on the field, limping to a 71-91 record after two straight Wild Card campaigns.

    With numerous roster needs to address, the Rockies will need every available cent of payroll they can muster to turn things around. The club ran its Opening Day payroll up to a team-high $145MM this year and already has $120MM committed (before accounting for significant arbitration raises) for 2020.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Raimel Tapia, 2020 Left Fielder?]]> 2019-09-29T08:39:31Z 2019-09-29T06:07:37Z
  • Raimel Tapia projects as an everyday left fielder for the Rockies in 2020, Nick Groke of the Athletic (subscription required) writes, which should help a player who seemed to get better with more regular playing time this season.  As a highly-regarded prospect coming out of Colorado’s farm system, Tapia received only 239 MLB plate appearances from 2016-18 before getting more of an extended look this season.  While Tapia has only a .276/.310/.418 slash line (74 wRC+) over 442 PA, he has also battled injuries and didn’t get many consistent starts until late July, Groke noted.  Sticking with Tapia as the mostly everyday left fielder would reduce Ian Desmond to a backup role, though the highly-paid veteran hasn’t done enough to merit more at-bats over three disappointing years in Colorado.  There’s also the possibility, however, that the Rockies could trade Tapia in the offseason to address other roster needs.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Examining The Rockies' 2020 Rotation Options]]> 2019-09-26T21:21:58Z 2019-09-26T21:21:58Z
  • The Rockies’ troubled pitching situation is examined by The Athletic’s Nick Groke (subscription required), who projects that German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Jon Gray will headline the 2020 rotation.  The last two spots are up in the air between such names as Peter Lambert, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Tim Melville, Rico Garcia, Chris Rusin, and Ryan Castellani.  While there’s certainly room for an external addition, the Rockies have now gone several years without signing a veteran to a significant Major League contract — Kyle Kendrick was the last, back in the 2014-15 offseason.  It doesn’t seem like this trend will change this winter, as the team doesn’t have much payroll space available (due in part to a lot of ill-fated free agent signings in general in recent years).  There’s also the fact that free agent pitchers who have a choice of multiple teams aren’t likely to want to come to Coors Field without a significant overpay.
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Kyle Freeland Activated From Injured List]]> 2019-09-22T03:07:59Z 2019-09-22T03:07:59Z
  • Rockies starter Kyle Freeland has been activated by the club and started tonight’s game against the Dodgers. Logging two scoreless innings in something of an “opener” capacity this evening, Freeland penned something of a modestly positive chapter in what has been an otherwise forgettable 2019 saga. With a sky-high 6.98 ERA (6.13 FIP) in 99.1 innings entering tonight’s game, Freeland has been a chief culprit in Colorado’s ’19 pitching woes. Interestingly, Jeff Saunders of the Denver Post penned a column today examining baseball’s offensive explosion in 2019, citing Freeland as one player who will be difficult to evaluate this offseason in part because of the possible “juiced” quality of this year’s baseball (link). Said Saunders: “In my opinion, the  “juiced baseball” really hurt Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland this season. I’m not making excuses for Freeland’s 6.98 ERA and 25 home runs served up in 20 starts, because he was clearly off his game and his mechanics were out of whack. But I also think it’s true that Freeland became a little gun shy because his slider wasn’t breaking as it should and he gave up a number of cheap home runs.” There may be some merit to this thinking. Freeland posted a 22.9% HR/FB rate this season while home run records were shattered league-wide.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Kyle Freeland To Return This Season]]> 2019-09-17T23:57:51Z 2019-09-17T23:57:51Z
  • Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland is nearing a late-season return, according to Nick Groke of The Athletic. A strained groin has kept Freeland from taking a big league mound since Aug. 20, but he’ll be able to make two more starts (albeit at just two to three innings per appearance) this year, Groke notes. Freeland will attempt to end his surprisingly dismal season on a high note when he suits up again. One of the NL’s premier pitchers just a year ago, Freeland has been just the opposite in 2019. The 26-year-old has logged a 6.98 ERA/6.13 FIP across 99 1/3 frames, and his struggles led the Rockies to demote him to the minors earlier in the season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Early Trade Deadline Re-Assessment: NL West]]> 2019-09-17T12:32:55Z 2019-09-17T12:32:55Z It has only been about six weeks, so it’s too soon to judge with finality how this year’s trade deadline maneuvers will play out. That said, we’re already most of the way through the period — the regular season portion, at least — for which rental players were acquired. Even players with future control are usually added first and foremost for their immediate contributions (though there are some exceptions). It’d be awfully premature to say anything conclusive about the prospect side of any deals, but we do now have some additional information with which to work.

    So, that’s why we’re going to take a glance back over our shoulders at the moves (and major non-moves) that organizations made in the run-up to this year’s trade deadline. We already covered the AL CentralNL CentralAL EastNL East, and AL West. Now we’ll finish things off in the NL West …


    With visions of Felipe Vazquez as the trade deadline approached, many fans likely came away thoroughly underwhelmed by the Dodgers’ efforts. But if making that deal would’ve cost Gavin Lux, then he wouldn’t be in the lineup right now.

    Plus, the Dodgers are awfully good even without another high-end relief arm. The bullpen has some big questions, to be sure, but the L.A. organization is loaded with starting pitching options that can all be deployed in various ways come October. There’s no question that there’s a possibility we’ll look back and think the Dodgers should have done more, but it’s likewise impossible to argue with the organization’s process or results in recent years.

    So, what did the team do? On deadline day, the headliner was … trading for lefty reliever Adam Kolarek. That seemed ho-hum, but he has been quite useful, allowing just one earned run in 10 1/3 innings over 21 appearances. Yep, he’s being utilized judiciously, but that makes sense. Kolarek has been bombed by righties this year but has held opposing southpaws to a meager .183/.227/.269 batting line. The player sent out to get him, outfielder Niko Hulsizer, acquired in return, didn’t really have enough action to change his outlook in any meaningful way.

    Otherwise, the moves were even lower-stakes arrangements. Utilityman Kristopher Negron has chipped in well since his acquisition and the Dodgers probably won’t miss Daniel Castro, who hasn’t hit much in the upper minors and wasn’t likely to play a significant role this year or next. The Dodgers haven’t gotten anything from Tyler White, but also probably haven’t seen anything from Andre Scrubb to cause major regret from that trade. Jedd Gyorko hasn’t hit well since coming over, but that didn’t cost much either. Young righty Jeffry Abreu, sent in the swap along with the contract of Tony Cingrani, hasn’t yet thrown competitive innings with the Cardinals. The Dodgers also picked up international spending capacity and cash considerations in the deal.


    The major move came at the very last minute, with the D-Backs parting with veteran righty Zack Greinke. It’s hard to imagine that free agent contract having a softer landing. In addition to shedding much of the remaining financial obligation, the Arizona organization added four high-quality prospects.

    Only one of those new players, infielder Josh Rojas, has ascended to the majors. The 25-year-old owns only a .232/.318/.337 slash in 107 trips to the plate, but his monster season in the upper minors still makes him an intriguing player going forward. The other three were even more highly regarded talents. Slugger-in-training Seth Beer struggled after the swap but still holds ample promise. Talented righties Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas will be looking to bounce back, respectively, from Tommy John surgery and a bit of a down season in the results department.

    The Snakes figured to take a step back sans Greinke, but they actually managed to stay relevant in the Wild Card race. Young righty Zac Gallen has had a big say in that, having thrown 43 2/3 innings of 2.89 ERA ball since arriving in exchange for touted infielder Jazz Chisholm. That’s immensely promising for the Arizona organization, which will hope Gallen can sustain his breakout year. On the other side of that deal, it’s fair to note that the 21-year-old Chisholm put his struggles behind him to finish with a strong .284/.383/.494 (156 wRC+) run after going into the Miami system.

    With a continued eye to making sound baseball decisions for sustainable competitiveness, the Diamondbacks finally hammered out a swap for sturdy but unexciting starter Mike Leake. The veteran righty had a no-trade clause and personal reasons to prefer pitching in Arizona, which may have helped the Snakes work out a solid deal that cost only $6MM in total salary obligations and Jose Caballero. The young infielder struggled to a .256/.339/.333 batting line at the High-A level after the deal.

    The D-Backs got some cash in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy, but otherwise that was it for mid-summer roster moves. It’s easy to like the overall slate of changes, though we’ll need to track them to see how it all shakes out over the long haul.


    Also busy were the Giants, who faced a tricky deadline situation owing to a hot streak that had the club in Wild Card contention. Ultimately, the team decided not to sell of quality lefties Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith — each of whom might have brought back significant returns. The former is sure to receive a qualifying offer and the latter is a candidate as well, so there are still some paths to achieving future value, but the organization knew it was making some sacrifices by holding on to these pitchers.

    The San Francisco denizens did move quite a few other hurlers. Chief among them was righty Sam Dyson (link), who will be eligible for arbitration one final time in 2020. Unfortunately, he has struggled badly in just a dozen appearances with the Twins and is now under consideration for a season-ending shoulder procedure. That doesn’t look great for Minnesota, though questions remain on the other side of the swap as well. Power-hitting outfielder Jaylin Davis laid waste to Triple-A but has struggled in his first, brief foray into the majors. We won’t know for quite some time what the Giants really have in young pitching prospects Kai-Wei Teng and Prelander Berroa.

    The well-timed reemergence of southpaw Drew Pomeranz allowed the Giants to package him with power righty Ray Black in a deal that landed long-lauded infield prospect Mauricio Dubon. Pomeranz has been useful in Milwaukee but is a pure rental; Black still hasn’t shown his big heat can consistently retire MLB hitters. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Dubon has turned in an impressive .302/.327/.547 run in his first 55 plate appearances at the game’s highest level. That showing could make him the favorite to handle second base next year in San Francisco. The club made way by dropping veteran Scooter Gennett, who had been acquired as a buy-low replacement for Joe Panik.

    The other significant reliever swap involved high-priced veteran Mark Melancon. It was surprising to see the Giants shed all of the veteran’s remaining salary obligations. He has a strong 20:2 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 frames since the deal, along with ten saves, but hasn’t consistently kept runs off the board. The Giants have to be pleased with what they saw from the player they added in that swap. Young righty Tristan Beck threw 35 2/3 innings of 2.27 ERA ball, with 9.3 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, for the club’s High-A affiliate.

    Rounding things out for the Giants, the team took a shot on outfielder Joe McCarthy, who has not yet figured things out at Triple-A. The cost was younger prospect Jacob Lopez, who is still in the low minors but generated solid results this year.


    The deadline turned out to be all about one man: Taylor Trammell. Long considered an uber-talented outfielder, the former first-round pick was plainly targeted by the Padres. It took a complicated, three-team arrangement to make it happen, but the San Diego organization now has a player that it views as the center fielder of the future.

    Trammell remains an unfinished product. He wrapped up the season on a hot streak but ultimately carried only a .229/.316/.381 slash in his 133 Double-A plate appearances after the swap. The Friars are betting on their ability to finish off his development and surely hope they bought at a relative low point.

    Making the deal cost the Pads a few quality assets. Young outfielder Franmil Reyes hasn’t yet settled in with his new team, posting 56 strikeouts in 161 plate appearances, but he comes with loads of cheap control and ample potential. Southpaw Logan Allen has mostly struggled this year, but he is another player that could soon be a quality MLB contributor. The Padres also parted with far-away youngster Victor Nova. Clearly, the San Diego end of this swap will take many years to evaluate in full.

    It was otherwise a fairly quiet deadline period. The Padres got nothing from Carl Edwards Jr. after adding him from the Cubs; he seems a non-tender candidate this fall. Meanwhile, lefty Brad Wieck has been a surprising contributor in Chicago since that swap was completed. The 27-year-old has eleven strikeouts without a walk in 5 1/3 appearances. Also heading out of San Diego was righty reliever, Phil Maton, who has thus far been useful but unremarkable in Cleveland.


    Typically, when a team enters a season intending to contend and finds itself buried by the trade deadline, there’s a sell-off. Not so in Colorado — and for good reason. The club just didn’t have any assets that made sense to move. The higher-priced veterans haven’t performed well enough to generate appreciable cost savings, while the club’s core talent can’t be shipped out without leaving un-fillable holes. While some Charlie Blackmon explorations reportedly took place, that never seemed likely to result in a move and in the end fizzled out.

    So … all we’re left with was this stirring blockbuster with the Yankees: the acquisition of right-hander Joe Harvey for minor league left-hander Alfredo Garcia. Harvey is a MLB-ready reliever who has shown some strikeout ability in the minors, though his initial transition to the highest level of the game hasn’t been especially promising. Garcia generated good results on both sides of the swap, but he’s a low-A player who is a long way from the bigs.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Chad Bettis Expects Healthy Return From Hip Surgery ]]> 2019-09-17T04:53:17Z 2019-09-17T04:53:17Z
  • Rockies righty Chad Bettis, who underwent season-ending hip surgery Aug. 27, expects to go through “a normal offseason,” he told Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. That may be true from a health standpoint, but whether the winter will be conventional otherwise for Bettis is up in the air. After all, the Rockies could non-tender Bettis, who’s slated to go through arbitration for the third and final time. He made $3.325MM this season but only pitched to a 6.08 ERA/5.16 FIP in 63 2/3 innings – most of which came out of the Rockies’ bullpen.
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