Colorado Rockies: Who will be cut from the Opening Day roster in favor of Jhoulys Chacin?

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 28: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 28, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 28: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 28, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /
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Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported tonight that the Colorado Rockies have signed right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to a 1-year, MLB contract.

Chacin, 33, pitched well for the New York Yankees in spring training (3.86 ERA in 9 1/3 IP) but he didn’t make their roster. Chacin was on the Rockies from 2009 through 2014 and, as a starter, he was able to figure out the Coors Field impact as, in those six seasons with the Rockies, he pitched to a 3.78 ERA (120 ERA+).

He even made our recent list of the 25 best seasons from players aged 25 or under multiple times.

Since he will need a 40-man and a 26-man roster spot, the Rockies will have to make at least one cut to account for Chacin.

One player that would fit both molds would be Jordan Sheffield. Since he is a Rule V pick from the Dodgers, the only way the Rockies would be able to remove him from the 26-man roster (outside of an IL stint) is to designate him for assignment. If no other team claims him and the Dodgers don’t want him back, then Sheffield could remain in the Rockies minor league system.

Sheffield didn’t have impressive results in spring training either as he walked six and had an ERA of 6.75 in eight innings.

Outside of him, there are a few other Rockies pitchers that could lose their 26-man roster spot and, perhaps, their 40-man roster too.

Carlos Estevez and Jairo Diaz both struggled mightily in 2020 and both pitched poorly during spring training. Mychal Givens also fits in that category but Bud Black has indicated that he will be one of the team’s primary set-up men so that is unlikely.

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Tyler Kinley was on the bubble to be ready for the season due to injury so the Rockies could either a) put him on the 10-day IL or b) send him to the alternate training site since he has minor league options remaining.

The Rockies could option Ben Bowden to the alternate site but he pitched very well for the Rockies during the spring (1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 IP).

The Rockies could also decide to cut Chi Chi Gonzalez, particularly if the Rockies plan on using Chacin as a starter. As of now, Gonzalez looks like he will be the Rockies fifth starter but Chacin also has plenty of experience as a starter as well. He also started one game for the Yankees this spring training and started in 24 games in 2019.

The Rockies also may decide that Brendan Rodgers or Kyle Freeland need to be moved to the 60-day IL, which would free a 40-man roster spot or they could designate a pitcher that is slated to be at the alternate training site off the roster too, like Philip Diehl, Justin Lawrence, Ryan Castellani, Jose Mujica, or others.

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We will find out that decision tomorrow morning (and not tonight) but the Rockies could find themselves making a flurry of moves before taking on the Dodgers at 2:10 p.m. on Opening Day.

UPDATE: We now know it was Jairo Diaz who was designated for assignment. You can see the Opening Day roster here.

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