Rockies Adjusting Roster, Bettis, Valaika, Anderson and Howard Headed Elsewhere
With the 40-man winter roster due Monday, the Rockies adjustments have resulted in the loss waivers of left-handed pitchers Tyler Anderson to the Giants and Sam Howard to the Pirates, and infielder Pat Valaika to the Orioles.
Right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis cleared waivers and opted for free agency, and right-handed pitcher Tim Melville cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerue.
The announcement on Wednesday comes a week after DJ Johnson tweeted he had been released, thanking the Rockies for giving him the opportunity in the big leagues, and indicating he was going to pursue opportunities in Japan.
Anderson underwent surgery on June 11 for a chondral defect in his left knee, which involves the cartilage that lines the end of the bones in the knee. No baseball player has been known to return from that surgery.
The Rockies first-round draft choice in 2011, Anderson had a 3.54 ERA as a rookie in 2016, the second lowest by a Rockies rookie (minimum 100 innings). He, however, began to struggle at the All-Star Break in 2018, and in his final 12 starts of 2018 and five starts in 2019 before the surgery, he was a combined 1-9 with a 7.48 ERA.
Bettis. the Rockies second-round draft choice in 2010, underwent a battle with testicular cancer that was diagnosed in November of 2016, and sidelined him until Aug. 14, 2017. Initially a starter for the Rockies, Bettis worked out of the bullpen after the first three weeks of 2019.
He finished the season with a 1-6 record and 6.08 ERA in 39 appearances, three starts. He was placed on the injured list retroactive to Aug. 14 last season with a hip injury, and eventually underwent bilateral surgery on both hips.
Howard, a left-handed reliever, was the Rockies third-round draft choice out of Georgia Southern University in 2014. He made brief appearances with the Rockies each of the last two years
With the arrival of versatile Garrett Hampson last season -- and his ability to play center field in addition to the infield -- and expectation that Brendan Rodgers will be healthy early in the 2020 season if not at the start, Valaika's playing time figured to become even more limited, prompting the decision to put him on waivers.
The Rockies ninth-round draft choice out of UCLA in 2013, Valaika split time between the Rockies and Triple-A Albuquerque the past four years, and will be arbitration eligibility this off-season. Valaika played all four infield positions and left field during his time with the Rockies, but the last two years, it was an offensive struggle.
After hitting .263 in 19 at-bats in 2016, and .258 in 182 at-bats in 2017, Valaika hit a combined .154 the last two years with 13 extra-base hits in 201 at-bats, striking out 64 times.
The Rockies signed Melville out of the independent Atlantic League in May, and initially sent him to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he was 10-5. He was called up in August to help fill the growing injury problems in the rotation at the big league level.
By being placed on the Triple-A Albuquerque roster. it means the Rockies retain rights to Melville, although he will be eligible for the Minor League draft at the Winter Meetings in December.
Originally a fourth-round draft choice of the Royals out of high school in 2008, he had limited big-league experience with the Reds, Twins and Padres before pitching with the Rockies. While he made seven starts and worked 33 1/3 innings with the Rockies, he made a total of three starts in six appearances with the three other teams, pitching 14 2/3 innings.