Rockies add 2 more arms to pitching-heavy Deadline haul

Club trades Hand to Braves for righty Barger, acquires lefty Bruihl from Dodgers

August 2nd, 2023

DENVER -- The Rockies departed only slightly from their strategy of collecting prospects when they obtained lefty reliever from the Dodgers for cash considerations before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.

But not to worry. The Rockies received Double-A righty reliever Alec Barger from the Braves for veteran lefty .

Rockies receive: LHP
Dodgers receive: Undisclosed cash considerations

Rockies receive: Minor League RHP Alec Barger
Braves receive: LHP   

The Rockies’ difficulty developing pitching -- with Double-A Hartford being surprisingly pitcher-friendly and Triple-A Albuquerque more a nightmare for hurlers than Coors Field (unique in the Majors) -- led general manager Bill Schmidt to use the expiring contracts of veteran players to build pitching depth.

If the Rockies even wanted to veer from that direction, losing Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela to Tommy John surgeries and Ryan Feltner to a fractured skull at the Major League level -- plus seeing three of the team’s top four pitching prospects undergo Tommy John operations -- served as reinforcements that the strategy was correct.

“The focus was adding pitching, because we think we do have some good position players,” Schmidt said. “We saw what happened a couple weeks ago with some injuries [when prospects Gabriel Hughes, Jordy Vargas and Jackson Cox all required elbow surgery]. So it’s purely about numbers and trying to get better. That was the focus.”

There could have been more pitching added, but the Rockies could not reach deals for lefty reliever Brent Suter, whom the club would like to re-sign, and switch-hitting outfielder Jurickson Profar.

Bruihl, 26, is slightly different from other pitchers the Rockies obtained at the Deadline -- including righty Jake Madden and lefty Mason Albright, who were acquired from the Angels, and Minor League righties Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon, obtained in another deal with Atlanta. Bruihl is a pitcher like the rest, but he has appeared in the Majors (3.65 ERA in 65 games over three seasons). Bruihl will report to Triple-A Albuquerque and serve as depth.

All the rest are prospects in Double-A or below -- although Vodnik (No. 22), who went into Tuesday with four strikeouts in his first three innings at Double-A Hartford and has reached 100 mph with his fastball, could be a fast mover.

Barger, 25, a 17th-round pick out of North Carolina State, was 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA, 48 strikeouts and eight saves in 30 relief appearances this season at Double-A Mississippi. He was tied for fifth in the Southern League in games and tied for eighth in saves. In 111 professional appearances, including 19 starts, he is 10-10 with a 4.51 ERA and 239 strikeouts in 187 2/3 innings. He’ll likely report to Double-A Hartford.