After Saturday’s Spring Training game with the Oakland A’s, the Colorado Rockies announced that they have optioned reliever Justin Lawrence to Triple-A Albuquerque along with infielder Colton Welker. The moves make it seem clear that the Rockies have their 28-man roster set but the Rockies still have some I’s and T’s to dot and cross, particularly with their 40-man roster spots.
As Thomas Harding of MLB.com noted on Twitter, the Rockies still, technically, have to decide on whether or not they want to give catcher Dom Nuñez more steady playing time in Triple-A or as a backup to Elias Díaz.
Additionally, it looks like left-handed reliever Ty Blach will make the team. If the Rockies send Nuñez down to Albuquerque, they will need to add one of their other catchers (Carlos Pérez or Brian Serven) to the 40-man roster as well as Blach. The Rockies already have a full-40 man roster.
That begs the question:
Are the Colorado Rockies looking to make another trade?
With the 28-man roster, the Colorado Rockies don’t have a ton of candidates to designate for assignment (aka players that they can remove from the 40-man roster).
Here are the 13 players on the 40-man roster that have either been optioned to the minors already or look like they will not make the team (Peter Lambert, who is still ramping up after Tommy John surgery last year is the only one in this category).
- INF Colton Welker
- INF Elehuris Montero
- INF Ezequiel Tovar
- OF Ryan Vilade
- RHP Peter Lambert
- LHP Ryan Rolison
- RHP Ryan Feltner
- RHP Noah Davis
- LHP Helcris Olivarez
- RHP Justin Lawrence
- RHP Jordan Sheffield
- LHP Ben Bowden
- RHP Julian Fernández
Of the baker’s dozen, only Rolison, Davis, and Olivarez have not made their MLB debuts.
Rolison is the organization’s top pitching prospect so it’s highly unlikely that he will simply be DFA’d or even traded. He also has pitched in Triple-A. Davis and Olivarez have never been above High-A.
Davis pitched well at the High-A level for both the Reds and Rockies last year (3.60 ERA in 19 starts). But considering they just acquired him in the Mychal Givens trade, it’s unlikely that they would give up on him so quickly.
Olivarez, however, struggled mightily with High-A Spokane in 2021. He 22 appearances (21 starts) and he had an ERA of 6.05. His problem was that he walked more than six batters per nine innings. He is still only 21 years old, though, so considering that he is still one of Colorado’s top pitching prospects, it would still be surprising if they DFA him.
In other words, unless an injury happens (and a major one that would require a 60-day IL stint), there aren’t enough chairs for the players and the music is about to stop … which could mean a trade could be coming.
Last offseason under previous GM Jeff Bridich, the Rockies made a very last-minute move as they officially signed veteran pitcher (and former Rockie) Jhoulys Chacín to an MLB deal to be their long reliever. They signed it last minute meaning that the contract became official literally on Opening Day.
New GM Bill Schmidt has already been more active on the trade market than his predecessor so, perhaps, he will look to trade two (or three) players off the 40-man roster for one (or two) players on another team’s 40-man.
Through that, Schmidt could also further improve the MLB team, which is something that he has obviously been trying to do in the last few weeks.
So what will the Rockies do? They only have a few days remaining before Opening Day and they will have to be sure of what their plan is to start the season.