To clear room on their 40 man roster for young players and players returning from injury, the Colorado Rockies were forced to place a number of players on waivers. Today they lost four players to waiver claims. Sturdy relief pitcher Josh Roenicke was claimed by the Minnesota Twins, as was infielder Tommy Field. Guillermo Moscoso, whom the Rockies received as part of last year’s Seth Smith trade, was claimed by the Kansas City Royals. Zach Putnam, the player the Rockies got in exchange for Kevin Slowey (who never pitched for them), was claimed by the Chicago Cubs.
Let’s start with Putnam. He pitched most of 2012 for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, and while he showed flashes of hope, his future with the Rockies was blurry at best. For all the struggles the Rockies have with their starting staff, their bullpen is solid and therefore Putnam was expendable (isn’t that awful, how we so casually refer to another human being as expendable? Ahh, to be a fan in the era of the intellectual fan).
Field found himself in what suddenly became a crowded situation in the infield. Chris Nelson, DJ LeMahieu, and Josh Rutledge all emerged and come into their own this season, not to mention the continued production of Jordan Pacheco who will most likely play somewhere in the infield. Think of poor Nolan Arenado: just one year ago we all had such high hopes for him, thinking that he might ascend straight through the ranks and be the savior at third base. Hopes for him are still high, but as far as the need for him to arrive on the Rockies immediately…all of a sudden we aren’t in such a hurry to see him. And if there is no need to rush Arenado, then goodness knows there is no need to stress about keeping Field. Hopefully he finds a fit in Minnesota.
Let’s be honest about Moscoso; we never gave him a chance. Perhaps he never deserved it. The cries were that such a flyball heavy pitcher was set up for failure in Denver. And he definitely failed. He also never had a chance with many fans because he was acquired in the trade that sent the beloved Seth Smith to Oakland. It is probably best for him to get out of Denver…let’s just hope he does not become Felipe Paulino, part 2 now that he will be a member of the Kansas City Royals.
The biggest loss for the Rockies will be Roenicke. There might not be a single pitcher who better embodies the stages of the paired pitching that wasn’t paired pitching that the Rockies put into place this past season than Roenicke. All year he was solid. He threw lots of strikes in a system that was allegedly designed to make pitchers throw strikes. Then he wore down from being utterly and completely overused, forcing the team to removed him from the paired pitching system that wasn’t paired pitching. All things considered, any team hates to lose a bullpen pitcher who consistently pounds the strike zone, and Roenicke showed some toughness and grit this past year in that sense. Hopefully the Rockies are correct to clear his spot for a younger player with a higher ceiling.
Is pitcher Josh Sullivan that player with a higher ceiling? You got me.
In addition to Sullivan, the Rockies will use these freed up spots to reinstate Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, and Christain Friedrich after their injuries. It also gives them spots to protect young players who are Rule 5 eligible. That list, according to Troy Renck, includes Parker Frazier, Dan Huston, Joe Gardner, and Tim Wheeler.
Ultimately, even with the loss of Roenicke, the Rockies will probably be OK without these players. Look at it this way: it’s not like it’s going to make them much worse than they already were. And if that right there is not the thinking of a downtrodden Rockies fan, I don’t know what is.