CarGo will stay with the Rockies. Image:

Rebuilding, But You Still Need Something With Which To Build


There is no such thing as patience in professional sports. If things go bad, there will be changes. If things go really bad, there will be lots of changes. Nobody’s job is safe. The team has to reassess, to shake things up, to evaluate everybody, and make changes. No player is untouchable, as the saying goes.

That last sentence has never made sense to me.

The idea is this: because you have to rebuild, you should be willing to part with players who are ready now in exchange for more players who will be ready later. But in that same process you seek any talent that might be a sure thing; you seek foundational pieces around which you will add everything else. Here is what I’m getting at: why the heck would you ever trade players like Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez?

Of course you could get a lot for them. You could add a haul of potentially exciting talent for the services of one of those known superstars. But are you actually going to find better (re)building blocks than those two? Shouldn’t you keep your best players, enthusiastically, whether you are ready to win now or not?

I certainly understand the need to trade proven players when a team is not ready to contend. For instance, no amount of affection for Michael Cuddyer can persuade me that the Rockies should not try, aggressively, to trade him. But rare and extraordinary talents can and should fit the needs of a team, regardless of the state of things. Ideally you want them to be the centerpieces of contending teams, but they should be the building blocks for a struggling team if that is what you need them to be.

I do not mean to set up an argument with nobody, because it is not clear that anybody is necessarily persuaded that trading Tulo or CarGo would be the right course of action. But the fact that there was even a need to clarify their intentions to keep those two reflects the oft-manufactured urgency of sports at this moment. The fact that they will not trade them shows that the Rockies, otherwise so far out of touch, recognize the fact that some of the pieces to rebuild are already in place and should not be meddled with.

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