Rockies make first signings of winter, they’re uninspiring

Jan 5, 2024, 2:06 PM

The Colorado Rockies won’t be the last club in MLB to spend in free agency this offseason, as the club has announced the signing of two players on Friday.

Colorado has inked right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson and catcher Jacob Stallings to one-year deals. Hudson will likely get a shot at being part of the backend of the Rockies rotation, while Stallings will likely slot in as the backup catcher behind last year’s All-Star Elias Diaz.

Of the two players and possible future battery mates, Hudson is coming off the stronger season. In 18 games, 12 starts in 2o23, the 29-year-old worked 81.1 innings to the tune of a 4.98 ERA and 6-3 record. That ERA not only would’ve ranked second-best among regular Rockies starters last season but his six wins would’ve tied for second-most with Kyle Freeland, who started 29 games. Once a top 100 prospect in baseball, Hudson has had an up-and-down career maybe characterized best by the 2019 postseason. Coming off a strong rookie season, which is still the best in his career, he started Game 4 of the NLDS for St. Louis as they held off the Braves and ended up winning in five games. Hudson threw 4.2 innings and was only tagged for a solo homer. He ended up starting Game 4 of the NLCS a week later and allowed seven runs total while only recording one out as the Nationals completed a sweep.

Hudson is not a strike-out pitcher, throwing a below-average velocity fastball and inducing most of his outs via groundballs. He has become more of a sinker-slider hurler over time all while metrics show hitters are seeing the ball better and hitting it harder off of Hudson as his career has progressed. And he’s now finding more bats that are ending in fly balls than he is getting grounders. Hudson’s strikeouts per nine innings last season was second-worst in MLB to the veteran Adam Wainwright. With Cal Quantrill, Kyle Freeland and Austin Gomber thrown in, the Rockies have four of the six worst pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings with a minimum of 50 innings pitched last season.

Stallings, 34, will be familiar with who he’s sharing a position with in Diaz—the two tandemed the Pirates backstop job in 2019. Diaz was cut and picked up by the Rockies where he’s had a rollercoaster of success and failures in the past several years, bouncing between worst player in the league and All-Star. Stallings became the starter in Pittsburgh in 2021 and won a Gold Glove for his efforts. Stallings was traded to the Marlins after that season and played 202 ballgames for the first, worth -1.3 rWAR.

Stallings is a career poor hitter, coming off his worst season yet. He slashed a horrendous 191/.278 /.286 last season with three longballs and 20 RBI. Defensive stats can vary and are tough for catchers, his 2021 Gold Glove season was worth 21 defensive runs saved (DRS,) in the two years since he’s been worth -9 DRS. He is known for his ability to block balls, but his framing and pop time are bad to below average. Essentially at this point in his career, Stallings does few things good aside from chasing balls outside the zone and whiffing.

To make room for the new Rockies, infielder Alan Trejo was sent to Triple-A and third-string catcher Brian Serven was placed on waivers and already claimed by the Cubs.


Kyle Freeland Rockies woes...

Will Petersen

Rockies get more bad news as Kyle Freeland lands on injured list

The Rockies announced the bad news on Friday afternoon, as Kyle Freeland has a left elbow strain; he was supposed to start on Saturday

2 days ago

Three military aircraft fly over Coors Field during the conclusion of the National Anthem, prior to...

Jake Shapiro

Flight Deck Fiasco: Rockies coach plays pilot on United Airlines journey

The FAA is now investigating what appears to be Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens in the cockpit of the team's flight to Toronto

3 days ago

Kris Bryant...

Andrew Mason

Kris Bryant is headed to injured list — again

Kris Bryant is headed back to the injured list after missing the last three games due to back stiffness that set in last weekend.

4 days ago

Kyle Freeland collision...

Jake Shapiro

Rockies pinch run ace Kyle Freeland, and he suffers nasty collision

The Colorado Rockies top pitcher Kyle Freeland was injured when colliding into former teammate Jeff Hoffman on Monday

6 days ago

Kris Bryant...

Andrew Mason

Kris Bryant leaves Rockies game in Toronto with back stiffness

Kris Bryant was pulled from the Rockies’ game in Toronto on Saturday due to back stiffness — his second back issue in seven days.

8 days ago

Daniel Bard...

Andrew Mason

Rockies reliever Daniel Bard will miss the season

The Rockies’ battered bullpen took another hit with the news that Daniel Bard will miss the remainder of the 2024 season.

9 days ago

Rockies make first signings of winter, they’re uninspiring