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Rockies clean up roster as Anderson, Valaika claimed; Bettis waived

Patrick Lyons Avatar
October 30, 2019

On Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies announced a series of moves to create room on the 40-man roster and free up some money on the 2020 payroll.

Three players were placed on waivers and subsequently claimed: LHP Tyler Anderson (San Francisco Giants), LHP Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates) and INF Pat Valaika (Baltimore Orioles).

RHP Chad Bettis cleared outright waivers and elected free agency, while RHP Tim Melville cleared waivers and was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Combining for nearly 13 years of service time in the majors with the Rockies, the quintet of players creates space on the 40-man roster for those on the 60-day Injured List who need to be placed back before November 1: Jon Gray, Scott Oberg and Brendan Rodgers. 

With these moves complete, Colorado has three available spots on the 40-man roster to add free agents or protect prospects ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Going into 2019, Anderson was one of the more reliable Rockies’ starting pitchers over the previous three seasons, combining for 7.6 wins-above-replacement over 68 games, albeit with a 4.30 earned run average.

Expected to earn in the neighborhood of $2.6MM in his second year of arbitration in 2020, Anderson made only five starts this past season, missing the final 116 games of the season due to a left knee chondral defect. He’ll have an opportunity to make the rotation with San Francisco, who have only three bonafide starters returning next season after the loss of Madison Bumgarner to free agency. 

The 30-year-old Bettis was used primarily as a reliever in 2019 and pitched to a 6.08 ERA over 63.2 innings with a 1.55 WHIP. He was placed on the 60-Day IL on August 17 and missed the final 40 games of the season with a left hip impingement.

Set to earn approximately $3.8MM in his third and final year of arbitration, Bettis had the best and worst year of his career in 2016: on the field, he went 14-8 at the top of a rotation set to make consecutive playoff appearances; off the field, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Bettis will be forever remembered for his performance on August 14, 2017 against Atlanta, pitching seven scoreless innings in his triumphant return. Later that year, the Texas native won the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming obstacles and adversity in the vein of the Red Sox star.

Valaika, 27-years-old, burst onto the scene in 2017 as a late-inning threat for Colorado, swatting four home runs off the bench during the Rockies first postseason birth in nearly a decade. His 16 runs batted in as a pinch hitter were the most for a rookie since 1958 when the current rule for qualifying greenhorns was created.

The Southern California native is another player with an opportunity at significant playing time in his new location. The infielder joins an Orioles’ club that already features three castoffs who have benefited from stress-free environs of Baltimore: 2B Hanser Alberto, 3B Rio Ruiz, and SS Jonathan Villar.

Howard, a converted starter, pitched in 24 games over the past two seasons to a 5.87 ERA. The 26-year-old from Georgia suffered from reverse splits throughout most of his tenure with the organization, but showed improvements in 2019. He joins a Pirates team with only one left-handed reliever on the active roster. 

Melville was a YouTube star in his first two appearances with the Rockies, giving up only one run over 12 innings before coming back down to earth in his final five starts. A signee out of the independent Atlantic League in April, Melville is a quality depth piece in an organization looking for stability in its starting rotation.


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