Colorado Rockies continue to reshape bullpen for 2023

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brent Suter (35) throws during the ninth inning of their game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis.Brewers05 22
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brent Suter (35) throws during the ninth inning of their game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis.Brewers05 22 /
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Coming off a season where their bullpen posted an MLB-high 4.82 ERA and struck out the third-fewest batters (532) in all of baseball, the Colorado Rockies have already made reshaping and restoring that bullpen a priority in the early offseason.

Colorado Rockies making moves to strengthen bullpen for 2023

On Friday, the Rockies announced they had claimed left-handed relief pitcher Brent Suter off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. The 33-year-old southpaw has appeared in 115 games for the Brewers over the past two seasons (part of his seven-year run with the club), Suter posted an ERA+ of 119 along with a 3.41 ERA/4.14 FIP/1.257 WHIP over 140.0 innings.

Suter will join fellow former Brewer (although in name only as the team put him on waivers shortly after acquiring him in the Josh Hader trade with the San Diego Padres) Dinelson Lamet in the bullpen in 2023 after the Rockies picked him up off waivers in August. Lamet threw in 19 games after debuting with the Rockies, and did enough to convince Colorado to keep him around for bullpen usage in 2023.

Throw in contract extensions for closer Daniel Bard and setup man Tyler Kinley (who was on his way to an All-Star-caliber season last year when he was forced to the bench in early June with an ulnar nerve injury) and the Rockies believe they have the makings of a solid bullpen, especially when Kinley returns mid-season from Tommy John surgery.

Add in Lucas Gilbreath, who missed most of September with a left elbow flexor strain after posting a 1.35 ERA in 33.1 innings (34 games) between May 14 and August 4, plus the possibility that Carlos Estevez could return to Denver (if he comes to terms on a contract) after becoming Bard’s go-to setup man in the second half of the season, and, yes, there could be actual depth in Colorado’s relief corps.

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There is a lot of work for the Rockies to do to make the bullpen a strength rather than an albatross at 20th and Blake. However, with some of the pieces coming together early in the offseason, there is certainly reason for optimism in Denver that some of the mile-high numbers posted in 2022 can be lowered this season.