The Colorado Rockies tweaked their 40 man roster as the offseason activities creep towards what we know as the “hot stove.” In order to accommodate the three players they added and to leave themselves wiggle room in free agency, they outrighted two players to AAA. Both of them, outfielder Andrew Brown and outfielder/first baseman Matt McBride, saw extensive time with the Rockies this season. Presumably that time was serving, at least in part, as their respective auditions for the big league club. So how discouraged should these two be that the Rockies moved them off the 40 man roster?
On the surface of it no player would be excited to be told that they are not in the short-term plans of a franchise. When given the opportunity to make a first impression, nobody wants to hear that it was not impactful enough to generate immediate interest. It puts you in a position where you’re a little bit like the really sweet guy who a girl could “really herself with” but she’s just “not in that place right now.”
As far as gut feelings go (or as far as we want them to go, perhaps) this seems like worse news for McBride than it is for Brown. The outfield depth that this otherwise depleted club enjoys is no secret to anybody involved; it is the only area of the roster that maintained production as injury problems forced the team to turn to lesser known players this season. Brown rose up and met that challenge, showing signs of power and a decent throwing arm in the outfield. Regardless of his numbers in that stint, Brown probably never had a spot once Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Tyler Colvin, and even Charlie Blackmon returned to action. To not have a spot in that context is not so discouraging (easy for me to say, right?).
McBride’s situation is a little different. The “other guy” from the Ubaldo trade, he certainly had no spot as an outfielder considering the above-listed players. But he also plays first base, and the Rockies have shown keen and increasingly urgent interest in players who might be able to fill that void (once it becomes a void). For further evidence of this fact, see the trade the club recently made for Ryan Wheeler. Nobody can say for sure if things would have been any different for McBride if he had made a larger impression, but he seemed to blend in, even on a team of lesser known players. We may not see him in the purple pinstripes again…try not to be too upset.
As for the players added, pitcher Joe Gardner, infielder Cristhian Adams, and outfielder Tim Wheeler were protected and now have spots on the 40 man roster. McBride will be a minor league free agent and Brown will have a decision to make about the one year remaining on his deal.