ANAHEIM -- The Rockies added starting-pitching depth in a trade that sent veteran right-handed reliever Mychal Givens to the Reds on Wednesday morning.
The deal for the two right-handed pitching prospects -- Case Williams, the Reds’ No. 20th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and who was the Rockies’ fourth-round Draft pick last summer, and Noah Davis, Cincinnati's No. 26 prospect -- fits one of interim general manager Bill Schmidt’s priorities to improve the club's farm-system depth. And it also addresses Colorado's never-ending mission to accumulate starting pitching.
Reds get: RHP Mychal Givens
Rockies get: RHPs Case Williams, Noah Davis
The Trade Deadline is at 2 p.m. MT on Friday, and this deal is a classic example. Teams trying to stay in contention need relief help at the cost of prospects. The Rockies acquired Givens at last year’s Deadline from the Orioles for corner infielder Tyler Nevin, utility man Terrin Vavra and a player to be named who turned out to be outfielder Mishael Deson. Nevin, who has appeared in two Major League games, is the Orioles’ No. 21-ranked prospect, and Vavra is in Double-A and occupies Baltimore's No. 10 prospect spot.
Williams, 19, and right-handed reliever Jeff Hoffman went to the Reds on Nov. 25 for righty Robert Stephenson and Minor League outfielder Jameson Hannah. This season, in his first year of pro ball at Low-A Daytona, Williams went 2-5 with a 5.55 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 33 walks in 12 games (11 starts).
The growing pains appear to have lessened. In his past five starts, Williams is 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA and a .212 batting average against, along with 18 strikeouts and nine walks.
The Rockies helped develop Williams via their Scout Team program during his high school years. So it’s safe to reflect on all the joyous stories from last year about Williams receiving his pro opportunity with his hometown club.
Davis, 24, has made 13 starts at High-A Dayton, going 3-6 with a 3.60 ERA over 65 innings. Davis has 77 strikeouts (10.7 per nine innings) against 35 walks, and he has held opponents to a .193 batting average.
The Reds selected Davis in 2018 in the 11th round out of the UC Santa Barbara after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Davis made 13 appearances at the Rookie level in 2019, but he lost development time in 2020 because of the pandemic. He has a four-pitch mix, including feel for a changeup.
This is a key development year for Davis since the Rockies will have to decide this offseason whether to protect him on their 40-man Major League roster. They will not have to make that decision on Williams until 2024.
Starting-pitching depth is always a position of need, but the Rockies -- who are fourth in the National League West -- have other areas to address. Frontline offensive talent could use a boost, as can catching and left-handed hitting at the Major League level. Other potential Rockies trade chips are right-handed pitcher Jon Gray, shortstop Trevor Story, reliever Daniel Bard and first baseman C.J. Cron, although the club potentially could hang onto any or all of them. Gray and Story, however, are both free agents this offseason.
It’s not clear the extent to which their needs can be addressed before the Deadline, but the process figures to continue into the offseason. Schmidt said he wants to be a candidate for the GM job, which was vacated when Jeff Bridich stepped down in late April.