Do you remember the day November 12, 2008?
That was the day the Rockies traded for the man affectionately known as CarGo, as well as receiving Huston Street (now with the Padres) and Greg Smith (now with the Angels) for Matt Holliday. The consensus at the time was that the A’s got the better end of the deal, with only Street seen as an immediate contributor. Smith and CarGo were seen as, in one of my favorite baseball term, “prospects”. We know that the Rockies just LOVE prospects!
Fast forward a couple of years and we found out who really won that trade. It was the Rockies. Even with Greg Smith not doing anything at the big league club, Street was an above average closer (2009 35/37 saves, .194 avg against and 0.91 WHIP, in 2010 he slipped a bit, 20/25 saves, .225 avg against and 1.06 WHIP, in 2011 29/33 saves, .276 avg against and 1.22 WHIP, thanks to ColoradoRockies.com for these stats). Unfortunately the long ball and not throwing strikes led to his demise as a Rockie.
But the real story was CarGo. He was seen as a 5 tool prospect with the ability to cover the ground at Coors Field, a strong throwing arm and a high average hitter with power. In 2009 he played in about half the games for a .284 average and 13 HR. In 2010 he exploded onto the scene, posting a .336 average, 34 HR and 117 RBI. These were the best offensive numbers on the whole club. Last year he had the wrist injury and he dipped back to a .295 avg, 26 HR and 92 RBI (thanks again to ColoradoRockies.com for the stats).
His numbers alone stand for themselves. He is arguably the best hitter on the team. He is also one of the most popular players on the team, not to just his teammates but the general public. He sells tickets, people WANT to see him perform. He has been slowed a little with the knee injury this year and some streaky hitting but despite these setbacks he would easily be in the top 5 right now for the NL MVP award. .328 avg. 17 HR. 52 RBI. .989 OPS (via ColoradoRockies.com). Are these reasons we want to trade this guy?
I’ve been reading on Twitter today that there are reports from the East Coast media and scouts that the Rockies should trade Gonzalez. They could get a bunch of pitching prospects in return. Some people have actually entertained this idea today. What? Are you crazy? You want to trade a franchise player, one of the top 2 players on the whole club? For more unproven arms? Look at how this experiment has gone so far. The names Alex White and Drew Pomeranz ring a bell? White is in the rotation, he of the 2-6 record and the 6.45 ERA. After looking decent for a couple of starts he took a major step back last night, he was bad enough that he will be probably be demoted to the bullpen or back to AAA. Pomeranz was already sent back to the Springs to work on his mechanics. Again, you want to trade a MVP candidate for players to float around AA and AAA, and be a fringe major leaguer? They would at this point be reluctant to pitch at Coors Field! This whole trade story is best summed up by Troy Renck from the Denver Post (@TroyRenck) who said today: “The idea of trading Gonzalez for unproven arms is stupid, if not hilarious. Have you watched any games at Coors Field this season?”
I understand we have major pitching issues. Our current starting 4 man rotation has a combined 8.74 ERA. The 75 pitch limit experiment is failing and is doomed to fail. Coors Field has become Coors Canaveral again, thanks to the unusually hot weather and the zero percent humidity. But bringing in more young arms won’t fix this problem. It will only enhance them. They will be brought up too soon, get shelled and be sent back never to be heard of again, until they are traded to another team and suddenly turn into Cy Young candidates.
Looking at the big picture, a young club will get younger. There will be even more pressure on the established players to over-perform. The growing pains will get stronger. The lesson for all of us is that we all need just a little more patience (thanks Guns N Roses). Personally I hate patience but it’s our only viable option at this point unless we want to smash our heads into a wall.
There is simply no value to the Rockies to trade Carlos Gonzalez and this stupid idea needs to be put to bed. How about focusing on winning some baseball games and not finishing with 100 losses?