Colorado Rockies: The 2021 season just added more roster uncertainty

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Scott Oberg of the Colorado Rockies

DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 02: Pitcher Scott Oberg #45 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on August 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

For the Colorado Rockies, there are now even more questions about what the roster might look like when the 2021 season opens.

Two big bombshells of Colorado Rockies news dropped on Wednesday afternoon, and both certainly add intrigue about the conditions of two key pieces of the roster as thoughts begin to turn toward next season.

First, reliever Scott Oberg, who missed the entire 2020 season with a lower back strain and blood clots in his right arm, underwent arterial thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday in hopes that he would be ready for spring training in 2021. It is hoped that the surgery will be able to help control the clots that Oberg has battled in three of his seasons (along with 2016 and 2019) with the Rockies.

“The hope is, and we have faith, that he will be ready to go by spring training, if not the first day I think soon thereafter, at 100 percent level again,” manager Bud Black told Rox Pile and other media members on Wednesday afternoon. “Time will tell as we go through October and we go through November, and the healing process and the rehab process, but the indications are that he should be ready to go by spring training.”

It’s a dicey proposition for the 30-year-old Oberg and it’s a chance the Rockies will take, seeing what a disaster the 2020 bullpen has been overall. Colorado needs not only a healthy Oberg to return to the mound, but also a productive Oberg as well. His success in the past for the Rockies is one of the reasons why the team signed him to a three-year, $13 million deal during winter meetings.

Oberg hasn’t pitched for the Rockies since August 16, 2019, and the Colorado bullpen has desperately needed his steadiness ever since. Daniel Bard has filled in for Oberg as the closer for the majority of this season, and it would be a shock if the Rockies didn’t work to resign Bard for the 2021 campaign. An effective Bard and a healthy Oberg would strengthen the Colorado bullpen significantly … but neither are guarantees for the 2021 season.

Can Oberg recover in the offseason and be ready for spring training? That will honestly be one of the biggest questions hovering over the status of the bullpen heading into next season and could well impact how Colorado decides to address offseason needs.

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