The Colorado Rockies did not make any moves as the non-waiver trade deadline passed yesterday. That’s probably OK for a number of reasons. For one, we were reminded last season that plenty of meaningful trades can still take place in the next month (the players just have to clear waivers).
For another, the Rockies did not fit into either of the tidy categories for “buyer” or “seller.” They still could have made a move, but there was no real urgency to do so. Assistant general manager Bill Geivett explained (quotes from the Denver Post):
We are painfully right in the middle. We are happy with our core group of players and excited about some of the things we’ve seen on the mound. When you look at all that, we are certainly not in position to sell, because we feel good with what we have. For us, we have the potential to get to the playoffs. We are not out of it. At the same time, do we want to mortgage some of our future when the cost is so high to acquire talent?”
The false urgency created by our hyper and constantly constant media coverage in 2013 makes it a painful realization that the Rockies are not buyers. We invest in day-to-day reactions, so we feel the highs and lows that much more.
When we thought the Rockies were for real, it was great. Now that we know that they probably aren’t, it stinks. It feels like step two towards acknowledging that they probably won’t make the playoffs (the drubbing being administered by the Atlanta Braves this week would be step one). But in the bigger picture, that should not be the focus right now.
But rather than focus on the fact the Rockies failed to win enough games to be “buyers,” here is the part of that quote to zoom in on: “We are happy with our core group of players and excited about some of the things we’ve seen on the mound.” These are not the delusions of a GM and his overly optimistic answers to a beat writer. The Rockies legitimately have a core group of players that they can move forward with. Break it down this way:
Note: I am including Fowler here in the hope that he solidifies his status with those guys once and for all between now and the end of the season.
Note: these are not the only three in this category, but rather the ones with whom the Rockies will be comfortable entering next season. If Arenado and LeMahieu establish some consistency with their bats, the Rockies’ infield becomes an awfully nice, all-around solid group (they already play elite defense).
Note: this presumes that the Rockies pick up De La Rosa’s 2014 option, but as Troy Renck recently noted in the Denver Post, that really shouldn’t even be a question.
Note: if you ease Belisle’s workload he should be able to return to form. Make Brothers the closer and you’ve really got something.
Look at that list of players. You can build around that, right? Let’s say the Rockies finish the 2013 season a few games shy of .500 with the above-listed core to start the off-season. Find me a Rockies fan who won’t sign off on that scenario.
So the Rockies stood pat at the deadline, but considering where they were last season, wouldn’t it be crazy to complain about the state of the franchise right now?
Yes it would be. So yes, the Rockies are “painfully in the middle,” as Geivett put it. But that is not a bad thing. Not at all.