The Colorado Rockies have been relatively quiet this offseason, the first under new general manager Jeff Bridich’s guidance. But it sounds like Wednesday the team made a move that could have a subtly important impact for the team’s future.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Rockies have agreed with veteran backstop Nick Hundley on a two-year deal worth just north of $6 million, though the Rockies have yet to confirm the signing.
The Rockies are very familiar with the 31-year-old Hundley, who spent the majority of his career within the division as a member of the San Diego Padres before spending part of last season in Baltimore. There Hundley hit .233 with a .273 on-base percentage while filling in for the injured Matt Wieters.
Those numbers aren’t too far off Hundley’s career statistics. Lifetime he’s a .238 hitter with a slugging percentage of .680. Those numbers won’t turn many heads, but Hundley get’s better marks as a game-caller and manager, something the Rockies sorely needed after struggling to find stability at the catcher position last season. Hundley isn’t all that great at controlling the running game and isn’t about to be mistaken for a Molina brother, but he is a veteran who can provide a steadying hand on the team’s young pitchers.
The big question is, what does this mean for Wilin Rosario? The signing at least opens up the possibility that Rosario could be traded, but nothing is assured yet. Christening Hundley as the team’s full-time catcher would be a major drop off on offense from Rosario, even in a down season like the one he had at the plate in 2014.
Trading Rosario now would also be selling low on a 25-year-old catcher who slugged over 21 home runs just a few years ago. The organization’s patience with Rosario’s defense may be wearing thin, but giving up on a player still a few years away from his prime shouldn’t be considered lightly. Hundley would make the perfect caddy for Rosario, who hopefully will be able to bounce-back at the plate and either A) contribute at the same level he did in 2012-13 or B) at least reestablish his trade value.
Offense is going at a pretty high rate these days, and it’d be a shame to see the Rockies part with a talented an offensive player as Rosario without getting a decent return. He may never develop into an above-average catcher defensively, but that doesn’t mean he lacks value.
Whatever happens, the Rockies now have some insurance as the team’s plethora of pitching prospects starts to break into the big leagues next season. Hopefully Hundley’s influence wears off on Rosario as well as the pitching staff.