With a lot of action happening Friday between the Mariners, Giants, and Tampa Bay Rays, the Rockies sort of slid under the radar, adding a solid back of the rotation starting pitcher, as well as a solid, upside catcher. With an offseason that has been pretty boring for most Rockies fans, they gave us something to be excited about.
The Rockies announced a one year, $1.5 million contract (another $1.5 million in incentives) with 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson. Hudson is a former top pitching prospect, having been drafted in the first round in the 2016 MLB Draft. After his 2019 season in which he looked poised to become one of the next great Cardinals pitchers, he has dealt with a number of injuries. His 2019 season saw him throw 174.2 innings with a 3.35 ERA, and a solid, but unspectacular, 7.0 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. Over the next two seasons, he would only throw 47.2 innings, leaving a lot to be desired by the Cardinals. His 2022 season was a solid comeback year where he threw 139.2 innings with a 4.45 ERA and manageable 5.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.
Where Hudson might excel moving to Coors Field is his elite ability to limit home runs. In his career, he has given up less than one home run per nine innings, something that could play really well in Colorado. Hudson is only on a one-year deal, meaning the Rockies could hope that Hudson is really good for the first half of the year, then flip him at the deadline (hopefully, some of the young pitchers are ready come August) for some prospects.
One of the few bright spots of the 2023 season was Elias Diaz being a solid catching option for the Rockies (he earned an All-Star Game nod and was the ASG MVP). They added to that depth by signing former Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings. Stallings signed a one-year deal worth $2 million ($1.5 million salary and a $500K buyout on a 2025 mutual option).
Stallings is a 34-year-old that has spent time with the Miami Marlins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had a really good year in 2021, slashing .246/.335/.369 and was worth 2.5 fWAR (this was the year he won the Gold Glove). The Rockies will look to capture some of that spark that Stallings was able to provide and maybe follow a similar path to Hudson at the trade deadline (look for a contender needing a solid defensive backup catcher).