The Colorado Rockies get, and have earned, quite a bit of criticism over the years. It’s been especially heated in the last four as an incredibly promising core that led to back-to-back postseason years has been almost entirely gutted by this point.

And while certain blunders – like the trade of Nolan Arenado – tend to get quite a bit more conversation than others, one where there is almost no pushback is their befuddling management of assets at the lower end of the roster.

This week, it was announced that the club has designated reliever Robert Stephenson for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster whereafter he will almost certainly be picked up by another team.

Stephenson is having a bad season, no doubt about it, posting a 6.04 ERA and a 74 ERA+ over 44.2 IP. But he was one of the Rockies better relievers a year ago, still has excellent stuff, is under 30, and you could easily make the case that there are quite a few players it would have made more sense for Colorado to part with.

Jhoulys Chacin and Ashton Goudeau both remain on the roster despite having even more lackluster seasons and quite a bit less reason for belief that a 2023 campaign could or even should be better.

Let’s not overstate the case. Stephenson wasn’t, in and of himself, a difference maker for this team. And he may well just sort of disappear into the noise of MLB and never live up to his potential. But the fact is that he has potential and a team in the position that the local club is in can’t be missing out on that kind of thing.

They need more Stephensons not less.

It’s a sequel to what happened earlier in the year with Colton Welker, previously a fixture in the Rox Top 10 prospect lists, now a member of the San Francisco Giants pipeline. It may come to nothing. It may bite them in the ass for the next 10 years.

These are the types of players the Colorado Rockies should be stockpiling and instead they are allowing them to slip through their fingers in favor of aging veterans and stalled out players who were never really prospects in the first place.

Oddly enough, this move is actually the very final part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade that brought in reliever Miguel Castro, another player/asset that the club horribly mismanaged and let get away for nothing when they desperately could have used him. Of course, the other part of that trade was Jeff Hoffman who was traded…for Robert Stephenson. 

There was som good news recently, as the most trusted national prospect pundits upgraded the Rockies farm system all the way up to the ninth best in MLB thanks to an excellent recent draft and the growth of a lot of players already in the system.

Perhaps signifying that they are currently developing their own young players quite well, it’s both a relief for fans that quality is on the horizon anyway. But, in a way, it’s also just that much more frustrating that decisions like these have, to a degree, dampened the wave.

Still, some fans can rest a little easier knowing that despite all these misplays of the roster, there should still be some exciting talent on the way.

“Bob Steve” as some fans call him, was probably not the answer to all that riddles the Rox. But he is a former first round pick with electric stuff who they actively traded for and even has a small track record of success at Coors Field.

Another unforced error for a franchise becoming known for them.