Rockies trim roster to 36; Bettis a free agent

October 30th, 2019

DENVER -- The Rockies parted with two pitchers from their postseason teams of 2017 and ’18, right-hander and left-hander , during a flurry of 40-man roster moves Wednesday.

Here are the players with whom the Rockies made a complete break:

• Bettis, 30, who made 164 appearances (92 starts) for the Rockies since 2013 but had his 2019 shortened because of bilateral hip surgery, became a free agent when he refused assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque after he cleared outright waivers.

• Anderson, who turns 30 on Dec. 30, was claimed off waivers by the Giants. Anderson, a first-round Draft pick in 2011 who has pitched in the rotation for four seasons (18-24, 4.69 ERA), made just five starts this year before he had surgery for a left knee chondral defect and missed the rest of the season.

• Infielder , 27, was claimed off waivers by the Orioles. He played in 231 games with the Rockies from 2016-19 and was at his best while hitting 13 homers in 2017.

• Left-handed reliever , 27 on March 5, was claimed off waivers by the Pirates after going 2-0 with a 5.87 ERA in 24 appearances over the last two seasons.

Additionally, righty , 30, was assigned outright to Albuquerque. Melville was called up in August from Albuquerque to join an injury-affected starting rotation and went 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven starts.

Let’s look at what these moves mean:

• They relieve a roster crunch. The Rockies have until Monday to reinstate their remaining players on the 60-day injured list -- righty starter (right foot surgery), righty reliever (right arm blood clots) and infielder (right shoulder labrum surgery).

• Bettis and Anderson also were on the 60-day IL, and the Rockies did not expect either to be ready to start the 2020 regular season. Both also are eligible for salary arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors projected Bettis to receive $3.8 million and Anderson $2,625,000 via the arbitration process.

• Late in the season, Bettis said he was amenable to a return but he didn’t know “what that’s going to look like.” For him to return, the Rockies will have to sign him as a free agent.

• Valaika struggled at the Major League level after 2017. But he excelled at Albuquerque in 2019 (.320/.364/.589 in 84 games), and scouts and organization members said his bat speed profiles for success. He just never gained traction as a multi-position right-handed hitter.

• Over the last two years, the Rockies converted Howard from a starter to a reliever. A delivery change enhanced his slider. He finished with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 Major League games in 2019.

• The Rockies gained some flexibility by outrighting Melville, who had some outstanding starts but also some clunkers. Should Melville not earn a roster spot out of Spring Training, he can be a depth piece -- and the Rockies don’t have to burn his final Minor League option to have him begin at Albuquerque.

The moves leave the Rockies with 36 players toward the 40-man limit. Two more spots will be cleared Thursday morning, when first baseman and catcher become free agents.

Barring other moves, Gray, Oberg and Rodgers will bring that number to 37 when added Monday. The Rockies have until Nov. 20 to set the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. They will have to determine by then which Minor League players to add to the roster and protect from the Rule 5 Draft.