On Tuesday the Colorado Rockies traded right-handed pitcher Konner Wade to the Baltimore Orioles for international money, that according to FanRag Sports.
What the Rockies traded Wade for may be more notable than it seems.
The soon-to-be 26-year-old spent the entire 2017 season with Double-A Hartford for the second consecutive year. This past season, Wade posted a 9-7 record, 4.28 ERA and 1.271 WHIP over 109.1 innings, he struck out 79 while walking 21. He’s started 24 of the 70 games he’s pitched in Double-A. Wade was a seventh round of the 2013 draft by the Rockies out of the University of Arizona.
Now, this is all normal stuff for the middle of November, especially considering the deadline to protect from the Rule 5 draft was yesterday. Meaning the Rockies could be just getting something for a piece they think might be taken. However, Wade—although eligible—is not a name we at BSN Denver expect to be selected.
Yet this is not a normal late November day.
The most coveted international free agent maybe ever, Shohei Ohtani, could hit the market soon. So long as MLB and NPB (Japanese baseball) work on a posting system. We have a full write-up on Japan’s “Babe Ruth” here.
There’s one more thing that happened today which is perhaps more interesting to the Rockies. The Braves were punished for circumventing rules governing the signing of international amateurs. This has left nine international signees, including their No. 5 and 30 prospects Kevin Maitan, Abraham Gutierrez, as free agents. Ji-Hwan Bae’s contract was disapproved and they are now limited to a $10K signing cap in the 2019-20 international period. Additionally, their 2020-21 pool was reduced by 50 percent and they had to forfeit their 2018 3rd-round draft pick.
This affects the Rockies in two ways. One, because former Atlanta GM John Coppolella was banned from baseball for life, many will be scared to circumvent rules in the future, which many thought might be done to get Ohtani. This matters for Colorado because they will need to be careful, obviously, but this arguably helps them because it enforces the very rules in place to even the playing field for clubs like the Rockies. The second effect is all these players who are now on the open market.
Jeff Passan wrote a terrific in-depth story on the manner has an explanation on how these players would be signed:
The biggest name is the 17-year-old Maitan, a switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million and was one of the most highly touted prospects from Latin America in the last decade. He will be eligible to sign with the 29 other teams, who will be able to use leftover money from the current international signing period or dip into their 2018-19 bonus pools to sign the ex-Braves, a source familiar with the penalties said. Each of the players will be forced to use an agent different than the buscon, or trainer, who negotiated the original deals.
It’s unclear how much international pool money the Rockies have currently but here’s what we know.
They came into the year with the most available money due their small market/revenue which allows them more money. The Rockies started at $5.75 Million and they’ve made at least two trades where it’s been reported that they acquired pool money. Eddie Butler to the Chicago Cubs and Miguel Castro to the Orioles have allotted the Rockies more, albeit unknown amounts of money. That, of course, is now on top of whatever they acquired for Wade.
And here’s what we know about what they’ve spent according to Baseball America.
Ezequiel Tovar, ss, Venezuela (No. 22 prospect)
Fadriel Cruz, ss, Dominican Republic (No. 33 prospect), $650,000.
Jose Colon, ss, Dominican Republic
Eddy Diaz, ss, Cuba
Daniel Jimenez, rhp, Venezuela
Geraldo Ramos, of, Dominican Republic, $650,000.
Bladimir Restituyo, ss, Dominican Republic, $400,000.
Francisco Palma, of, Venezuela
Luis Felipe de Avila, lhp, Colombia
Kleiver Osorio, lhp, Venezuela
Not everyone has money next to their name for a variety of reasons including safety regarding the current political climate in Venezuela. The Rockies have spent at least $1.7 Million and probably upwards of $3 Million by just ballparking it.
Aside from the Braves players, there are still five players in Baseball America’s top 50 for the 2017 class that have not signed. A few players to watch from Atlanta are Maitan, Gutierrez, Yenci Peña and Yunior Severino.
It’s hard to say what exactly the Rockies are up to but they just acquired more international pool money the same day the open market was hit with 12 new minor league players and just as the Ohtani sweepstakes are reaching a fever pitch.