Well, more specifically, Jonathan Herrera shut the door on his hands, leaving him with a fractured right index finger and a damaged ligament in his left pinkie finger and bringing his 2011 campaign to a close.
Herrera, who spent most of the first two months as the Rockies’ starting second baseman, ends the year having hit .242/.313/.299 in 281 at-bats. He got NL-only leaguers excited by stealing four bases in three games from April 10-13, only to go 0-for-4 in that category in his remaining 102 games.
And that pretty much sums up Herrera. He’s an above average defensive second baseman, but he’s not so superb to warrant regular playing time unless he’s hitting .280-.290. The Rockies benched him in June and had only occasionally used him since. He did have a three-hit game on Friday, but it was his first since April 8.
The Rockies will have some decisions to make at second base this winter. Free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis got off to an excellent start after coming over from the A’s, but he’s really cooled off since. He’ll be 35 next year, and he only figures to get more injury prone with time. The Rockies could let him go and have Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. all battle for playing time, but while they might get lucky there, none of the trio projects as an average regular. Nelson is back in Triple-A after hitting .231/.258/.340 in 156 at-bats for Colorado. Young, who would be a threat to lead the league in steals if he starts 150 games, is batting .224/.323/.254 in 134 at-bats. He’s also the weakest defender of the bunch.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.