With trade deadline approaching, Rockies deal pitcher Pierce Johnson
Jul 24, 2023, 10:27 AM | Updated: 10:36 am
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
More than one week remains before the Aug. 1 Major League Baseball trade deadline, and the Colorado Rockies are open for business.
Monday, they dealt right-handed relief pitcher Pierce Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of prospects – one of which is ranked in the Braves’ top 10, according to MLB Pipeline. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand first reported the deal.
The Rockies have traded RHP Pierce Johnson to the Braves for a pair of minor leaguers, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 24, 2023
Johnson struggled as the Rockies’ closer earlier this year, but found his form in recent weeks after moving to a setup role, although he took the “Manfred Man” extra-inning loss in Miami on Sunday without allowing an earned run. His ERA was 7.50 when he lost the closer role last month, but has been 3.60 since then.
It’s the Rockies’ second deal in recent weeks. And based on indications from Bud Black and Bill Schmidt, it might not be the last. First baseman C.J. Cron and outfielders Randal Grichuk and Jurickson Profar could be in line for deals, as they all have expiring contracts.
Colorado receives a pair of pitchers in the deal: right-handers Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon. Vodnik is the better of the two prospects, a AA reliever whose fastball sits at 94-95 MPH, and can touch as high as 97 or 98. Since joining the Braves’ organization, Vodnik’s second pitch, a slider, has evolved into more of a slurve. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year. In the minors, Vodnik has a 0.5 HR/9 rate.
Gordon carries a 5.86 ERA and a 1.360 WHIP in 16 starts and a relief appearance split between AA Mississippi and AAA Gwinnett this year.
Colorado spent the last month acquiring all of the young pitching it could find. Its draft class earlier this month was overwhelmingly skewed toward Division I college pitchers. Some of them could be MLB-ready within two years.
And in the Rockies’ first pre-deadline move — their trade of infielder Mike Moustakas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — Colorado added pitcher Connor Van Scoyoc.
So, we already know this: This year will not see a repeat of the Rockies’ deadline inactivity. They already have two trades in the bag.