Over the last few days, the Colorado Rockies have downplayed, if not ruled out, a trade of any of their the three veteran pitchers who are actually pitching well. And with this news, the Rockies have made it clear that they don’t plan on trading any pitcher. Who else would teams want besides these three?
The only answers would be young relievers Tommy Kahnle and Adam Ottavino, and there’s no point in trading either of those two because they are young, controllable, and talented, and have also proven that they can pitch in Coors Field.
I think that’s the thing that is keeping the 41-year-old reliever in Colorado. The front office is understandably snake-bitten; time and time again, they’ve spent money or traded assets for pitchers who they thought had a chance to succeed, and nearly every time, those pitchers fail in Coors Field. The list of pitchers who have failed is long and sad, and it’s been stated time and time again, so I won’t put you through the horror.
In the cases of Anderson and, to an extent, De La Rosa, this argument makes some sense. These two pitchers are young enough to make a difference for the Rockies not just next season but in the years to follow, assuming Anderson signs an extension and De La Rosa is re-signed. That’s not the case for LaTroy Hawkins.
He’s under contract this year and has a reasonable $2.25 million team option next year that will undoubtedly be picked up, but let’s face it: LaTroy Hawkins is not going to pitch for the Colorado Rockies after next season. He’ll be 42-years-old at the end of the 2015 season, and will probably retire after this current contract expires. So basically, the Rockies are not going to trade Hawkins because he can provide them about 70 above-average innings over the rest of this season and next.
The next question is: will the Rockies contend next season? The answer, in all likelihood, is no. I’ve made the mistake of being enamored of the offense and the team’s potential before, and I’m not going to do it again: the Rockies won’t have the pitching to contend next season or in the near future.
Why, then, are they refusing to trade Hawkins, if these rumors are indeed true? It’s because of his beloved intangibles. Look, I’m all for leadership and a good clubhouse, but the Rockies are in no position to value intangibles over everything else. What they need is youth, and, if they’re not going to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, they have few ways to acquire that youth.
A deal for Hawkins is one of those few ways. No, he’s not going to fetch a top prospect in return, but a contending team would give a decent prospect for the opportunity to place the veteran in middle relief. In my opinion, the Rockies in their current position have to take that decent prospect.
It might hurt to trade Hawkins and his intangibles, but he’s not going to be a part of the next contending Rockies team, whenever that might be. The prospect, however, could be. That’s why the Rockies are being foolish by taking LaTroy Hawkins off the market. They’re valuing past production over potential future production, and when you’re a 44-63 baseball team, that makes no sense.