Rockies Returning From IL Could Increase Colorado’s Trade Deadline Potential

With so many players coming off the IL, the Rockies are facing several roster decisions that could impact the moves they make at the July 30 trade deadline. 

Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies fist bumps teammates prior to a start against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 11: Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies fist bumps teammates prior to a start against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kyle Cooper/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images)

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies are one of many major league clubs anxiously awaiting the return of players from the injured list.

While such a boost to the 26-man roster won’t rocket them into Wild Card contention, like it could for teams such as the Texas Rangers or San Francisco Giants, the re-emergence of key players could help the Rockies build momentum to become more competitive in 2025.

Colorado suffered its first 100-loss campaign in 2023, mostly due to a lack of depth when players like Germán Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, Charlie Blackmon and Kris Bryant missed significant time. 

Injuries have been a factor once again in 2024, preventing manager Bud Black from sending out his best lineup at times. Though not the lone factor behind the club’s 107-loss pace, it is a contributing one.

Ad – content continues below

Opening Day starter Kyle Freeland made four starts before going down with a left elbow strain on April 19. Bryant has had a pair of injured list stints that have limited him to 24 games. Setbacks for Daniel Bard and Lucas Gilbreath have weakened the bullpen.

Just in the month of June, five players have been added to the injured list to put the Rockies’ total at 11.

However, things have begun to trend upward for the active roster in recent days. 

Nolan Jones, fourth-place finisher for the 2023 National League Rookie of the Year Award, returned on June 14 for his first three-hit game of the year after missing 41 contests with a low back strain.

Then, two of the club’s more promising relievers were activated on Monday at the start of a four-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Updates on the other walking wounded have been promising.

The return of so many players will force the Rockies to make certain roster decisions and could impact which moves they make ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. 

Ad – content continues below

Pitching Positivity

You can never have enough pitching. And if you play at Coors Field, you should probably double it.

A pair of top starters for the squad are on the mend and in the midst of the rehab process.

Kyle Freeland threw 67 pitches over four innings of work with Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday. The club will reassess, and Freeland could be reinstated from the 60-day IL as early as Sunday against the Washington Nationals in Denver.

Though this would put the 31-year-old next to fellow left-hander Austin Gomber in the rotation, the two would not go back-to-back in the same series until July 5-6 against the Kansas City Royals. At that point, Márquez could be ready to make his 2024 debut.

Sidelined with a torn UCL since early last season, Germán Márquez is still rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery last May. He made his second rehab start with Low-A Fresno on Sunday and lasted just 2.1 innings, surrendering four runs on six hits, including two home runs.

“The most important thing was that Germán felt wonderful. No problems with the arm,” Black said before adding, “He’s headed to (High-A Spokane) later in the week.”

Ad – content continues below

One of the most successful pitchers in franchise history still has another year of club control thanks to a two-year, $20 million extension signed last September. He, Freeland and Senzatela — three rookie starters from the club’s 2017 postseason squad — will be together once again for 2025.

The return of two of these veterans in the coming weeks will alter the rotation, effectively pushing out the current No. 4 and 5 starters, Ty Blach and Dakota Hudson. Blach has been a capable long reliever and a critical depth piece for the Rockies since 2022. The future for Hudson, still under club control for 2025, is unclear.

Could this sudden glut of options signal an opportunity for Colorado to pull off a significant trade?

Gomber and Cal Quantrill are under club control for another season. Both pitchers have had runs of great success in 2024. Gomber (4.36 ERA on the season) had a 2.16 ERA over eight starts from April 10 to May 22. Since then, his 8.36 ERA in June has raised concerns as to which version of Gomber teams would be acquiring.

Quantrill has been everything the Rockies hoped he’d be when they acquired the 29-year-old from Cleveland last offseason. He’s posted a 3.43 ERA thanks to nine quality starts, tied for fourth-most in the Senior Circuit.

If GM Bill Schmidt wants to have as much success at the upcoming deadline as he did with his four notable deals last summer, dealing away some of his top arms may be his best option.

Ad – content continues below


When Brendan Rodgers went to the IL with a left hamstring strain on June 6 (retroactive to June 5), it opened an opportunity for the team’s top prospect.

Adael Amador was called up from Double-A Hartford to replace Rodgers, a rare promotion of a hitter who didn’t get a taste of the Pacific Coast League first. He’s the second youngest position player to debut with the Rockies behind only his double-play partner, Ezequiel Tovar

The 21-year-old singled against the first pitch he saw as a big leaguer on June 9. He’s batted .103 (3-for-29) in eight games in the majors. While he’s still awaiting his first extra-base hit, Amador did record his first career stolen base, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to steal a bag in their MLB debut.

Rodgers, scheduled to rehab with the Isotopes this week while in Oklahoma City, is close to returning. When he does, Black indicated Amador will go back to Double-A.

No Timelines

For as many pieces of good news as there are for the Rockies, there are almost an equal number of pieces colored as bad.

Lucas Gilbreath, recovering from Tommy John surgery last March, is still a ways away from in-game action following a setback during his first rehab outing in April.

Ad – content continues below

Antonio Senzatela is progressing from his own UCL surgery but still has a ways to go before getting back on the mound at Coors Field. He may be able to return before the season ends on Sept. 29, but he will not be pushed to accomplish this feat.

Then there’s Kris Bryant.

Signed to a seven-year, $182 million deal before the 2022 season, Bryant has visited the injured list seven times since. Most recently, he went on the IL for a left rib contusion. An MRI later turned up an oblique strain, as Bryant explained to

In his three seasons with the Rockies, Bryant has yet to play 162 total games. Stuck on 146 contests — or 35.9% of Colorado’s 307 games since the start of 2022 — it’s unclear when fans will see him back in purple.

“Doing better,” Black said of Bryant. “Better, but no timeline.”

Bonus Baseball

Brenton Doyle was a late scratch on Saturday. Suffering from left patella tendinitis, Doyle also sat out Sunday’s contest with the Pittsburgh Pirates before batting leadoff on Monday.

Ad – content continues below

On Tuesday, he registered the first four-hit game of his career and made an outstanding defensive play on a Shohei Ohtani fly ball:

Elias Díaz, one of the most durable catchers in baseball, hit the IL with a left calf strain last week. In 2023, Díaz played in 141 games for the Rockies, 126 of which were behind the plate, setting a new franchise record. 

With no other catchers on the 40-man roster besides backup Jacob Stallings, the club turned to rookie Hunter Goodman. The 24-year-old was drafted in 2021 as a catcher in the fourth round out of Memphis. His bat progressed quicker than his abilities behind the plate, so the organization began to use him at first base and in the outfield in order to expedite his arrival in the majors.

On Saturday, Goodman made only his second big league start at catcher and first at Coors Field. He slugged two home runs and fell a triple shy of the cycle.

Díaz is a free agent after this season, and Stallings has a mutual option for 2025. Either would benefit a contender in need of a catcher. Whoever stays behind in Colorado will pair nicely with Goodman and top catching prospect Drew Romo, who is expected to experience the majors at some point in the second half.

Sean Bouchard, out since June 6 with a right ankle sprain, also appeared with Freeland in Oklahoma City. He went 1-for-3 with two walks against the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.

Ad – content continues below

One injury with a quick resolution concerned veteran Jake Cave. He was injured by an errant baseball to the head during batting practice on June 14. He was down for several minutes before being carted off the field. The 31-year-old received four stitches and was back in the lineup the next day.