One bad thing about off days is that it gives you very little to write about the next day. So, instead of a First Pitch today, here’s a write-up on possible trade moves the Rockies could make this year.
It’s no secret the Rockies need help at certain positions (see third base, the bullpen). So who should they target before the July 31st Trade Deadline? Here’s your answer.
Third Base: The Rockies went after Michael Young in the offseason, but not hard enough to have a realistic shot at him. Little did they know that they’d have a vacuous black hole at the hot corner in 2011. Ian Stewart still can’t hit a whiffle ball off a tee, Jose Lopez could barely hit over the Mendoza Line before he was released, and Ty Wigginton got hot for a few weeks and remains above average at the plate, but has been plagued by defensive miscues all season. Unless Ian Stewart can turn over a new leaf down in Triple-A (and soon), the Rockies will be feeling the sting of that black hole at third base come September when they miss a shot at the playoffs because of lack of production there.
So what’s the solution?
Trade for a third baseman before the deadline. But who? There are a few third basemen who are still in their prime offensively and can eliminate the defensive woes. Forget A-Rod or Evan Longoria – they’re out of our league. Literally. Instead, go after a player like David Wright.
Though he’s been plagued by injury so far this season, David Wright would stand out among the crowd at Coors Field. He’s a career .275 hitter in LoDo with three home runs and nine RBIs in 40 at-bats. Not bad, but if Coors becomes his home park, that number will certainly go up. He’s only 28, so he’s got a lot of good years left in him. The other positive about David Wright is the fact the Mets are looking to unload a lot of payroll. He’s being paid $14.25 million this season. Yes, that’s a lot, but if the Rockies jettison salary in a trade with the Mets (or a three-team deal), that amount could be a small price to pay for the divison, league, and World Series championships Wright could help bring to the Mile High City.
Michael Young is certainly another candidate, but if it didn’t work in the offseason, it’s probably not going to work during the season unless the Rangers are absolutely desperate to get rid of him.
Second Base: Not a position where the Rockies are REALLY hurting, but a solid, everyday bat in the lineup and at second would do nothing but help the Rockies reach the postseason. Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson are good, but neither provide the stability the team needs. Eric Young, Jr. doesn’t have the defensive capabilities or offensive pop to be a franchise second baseman, Jonathan Herrera has come back to Earth since starting the year off on a tear, and Chris Nelson hasn’t yet claimed the position for himself, though it’d be fair to argue he will within a year or so. That said, it may be better to “rent” a player until after October instead of investing long-term money in a second baseman.
Who’s the likely candidate then? Look to the past.
You may think I’m crazy here, but follow me. How about Jamey Carroll? Carroll hit .300 with the Rockies in 2006 and .225 with them in 2007, but he saw significantly decreased playing time because of Kaz Matsui. This year, however, he’s hitting .314 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He doesn’t have sexy home run or RBI numbers, but he can (obviously) hit for average, and at a pitcher’s park, no less. Put him in a hitter’s park like Coors, and that number will go up even more. Carroll is having a borderline All-Star season, and the Dodgers are looking to offload salary thanks to the McCourt debacle, so why not take a chance on Carroll? If it falls through, look to Chris Nelson to fill the void. Carroll is getting older (he’s 37) and on the downward slide of his career, but take advantage now and tap into his offensive hot streak.
Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays may also be a candidate, but he may be harder to let go seeing as the Rays are finding success again this season and could be considered a contender come September and the fact he’s locked up for a few years.
The Bullpen: Oh, where to start here? First, the Rockies need to say goodbye to Matt Belisle. Seriously. He wasn’t good last year, he’s not good this year, and he won’t be good in Colorado’s bullpen. Dan O’Dowd, please do us all a favor and let him go while we’re still in the race.
But who could the Rockies sign to make up for it?
How good would Jeremy Affeldt look in a Rockies uniform (again)? Affeldt has been lights-out in San Francisco, but would be tough to pry away from the Giants. O’Dowd would have to put together a package the Giants couldn’t refuse, but that would cost the Rockies a lot for a little. George Sherrill from Atlanta might be a nice cheap pickup as well, seeing as the Braves are falling the NL East standings and he’s only making $1.2 million this year. Daniel Schlereth, son of former Broncos’ lineman Mark Schlereth, has been performing well in Detroit, and could make a nice addition for the Rockies bullpen and would be a nice homecoming of sorts for the Schlereth family.
So who else would you like to see in a Rockies uniform, and what do you think the team would have to give up for him? Post your ideas in the comments section below.