The Rockies claimed right-hander Nick Mears off waivers from the Rangers, the teams announced Friday. Texas designated Mears for assignment earlier in the week in order to open a roster spot for newly signed Nathan Eovaldi. Colorado had a pair of open spots on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move isn’t necessary. Their 40-man roster is now at 39 players.
Mears, 26, has spent his entire pro career until this offseason in the Pirates organization. He’s begun to bounce around the DFA circuit a bit now, going from Pittsburgh, to Texas, to Colorado by way of waiver claim. The 6’2″ righty averages 96 mph with his heater but has struggled to a 4.75 ERA in 30 1/3 innings at the MLB level, dating back to 2020.
Mears’ career 9.5 K/9 in the Majors looks appealing but is a good example of why strikeout percentage tells a better story than K/9; because Mears has walked so many hitters (14.9%), his overall strikeout percentage is actually below the league average for relievers, at 22.7%. Mears throws hard, though, has strong numbers up through the Double-A level and has a minor league option remaining, so he’ll give the Rockies some optionable depth in the bullpen for the coming season if he makes it to Opening Day on their 40-man roster.
The Rockies have at least four bullpen spots locked down, with closer Daniel Bard signed through 2024 and Pierce Johnson (signed earlier this offseason), Brent Suter (claimed from the Brewers) and Dinelson Lamet all ineligible to optioned to the minors. Righty Justin Lawrence is also out of minor league options, though given his struggles over the past couple seasons, he can’t be viewed as a lock to break camp with the club in 2023.