Colorado Rockies: What will the bullpen look like after their recent moves?
The Colorado Rockies made two moves on Thursday that made their bullpen outlook a bit more clear.
They optioned left-handed reliever Ben Bowden and right-handed reliever Jordan Sheffield to Triple-A. Both of them made 30 or more appearances in the majors last year but Bowden struggled (6.56 ERA) but Sheffield pitched well (3.38 ERA). He, however, struggled with injuries as he was out with a lat strain for over three months.
But both have struggled mightily in Spring Training and have minor league options, which makes their bullpen picture much clearer.
The Colorado Rockies bullpen is nearly set for Opening Day
With Ben Bowden and Jordan Sheffield being optioned to the minor leagues, the outlook for the Colorado Rockies bullpen is much clearer.
Alex Colomé is still penciled as the Rockies closer with setup men Carlos Estévez and Robert Stephenson. The middle relievers will include Daniel Bard, Tyler Kinley, and left-handed reliever Lucas Gilbreath. Jhoulys Chacín will also make the bullpen either in a middle relief or long relief role.
That means seven of the bullpen spots are filled. The only thing remaining is whether or not the Rockies want to carry a 9- or 10-man bullpen to start the season (with rosters being expanded to 29 for the month of April). And the Rockies have three pitchers in the running for it.
Denver native Ty Blach would provide the Rockies with a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen and he would be a long reliever. In spring training, he has made four appearances (two starts) and he has pitched well. He has allowed eight hits in seven innings with no walks, five strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.57.
Right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau would also provide them with another long reliever. He has pitched well in the spring as well as in three appearances (7 2/3 innings), he has allowed only three hits with three earned runs for an ERA of 3.52.
Lastly, right-handed pitcher Justin Lawrence would provide the team with some middle relief with his odd arm slot. He has also pitched well in the spring as he has struck out four and only allowed two hits and a run in four innings.
If the club decides to go with a 10-man bullpen (and, therefore, a 15-man pitching staff and 13 position players), all three of them will make the team but if they go with a 9-man bullpen, one of them will have to be sent down to the minors.
All three of them have minor league options so none of them would have to be DFA’d but considering how Rockies manager Bud Black is protective of his pitchers and their usage, it’s likely that all three will make the team. However, since Blach is a non-roster invitee, the Rockies would have to either put someone on the 60-day IL or designate someone for assignment since they currently have a full 40-man roster.
If all three make the team, all the Rockies have to do is determine their outfield/DH/bench situation and after that, their Opening Day roster will be set. Opening Day against the Dodgers is less than one week so the decisions will be made very soon.