As the Denver Post tied up some of the loose ends on the final Rockies roster, there were two passing mentions of what would be major news if it happened: the possibility of the team trading Tyler Colvin. While Reid Brignac has officially won out over DJ LeMahieu and Jonathan Herrera for the utility infield spot, there apparently remains a possibility that Herrera would crack the roster as an extra infielder if the team moved Colvin.
There have been whispers about a potential Colvin trade in the past few weeks, and the most recent mentions of it hardly qualify as more than continued whispers. Still, one cannot help but wonder if a trade might actually be in the works.
The case for trading Colvin
Colvin. Image: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Even with a woeful spring (.167 avg, 0 HR), trading Colvin now would capitalize on the opportunity to sell high. He posted a .858 OPS as a 2.3 WAR player last season, stellar numbers from a player who spent much of the year platooning in the outfield and at first base. The Rockies have a surplus of options at both of those positions, with the emergence of Eric Young Jr. as a 4th outfielder and Jordan Pacheco eager to snag spot starts at first. Because Colvin is a younger player, the Rockies might actually be able to get a decent return for him. When it comes to selling high, Colvin’s up and down career might provide extra incentive. It would give the team a chance to get something for him now in case he does regress (likely) or if his production craters as it did in 2011 (less likely, but a possibility).
The case against trading Colvin
He is a key part of the group of young hitters that emerged last season. None of the players who would replace Colvin have the power potential that he does. Indications last season were that Colvin had adjusted his swing so that it had fewer holes. It would put the team two not-unlikely injuries to Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton from an everyday lineup with Young Jr. and Pacheco; Colvin is less of a drop-off than either of them and better equipped to start. His ceiling is simply too high, as indicated by those numbers from last season. In what seemed to be a swap of big-time disappointments with the Cubs, Colvin took advantage of his opportunity in Colorado while Ian Stewart fell apart in Chicago. The Rockies should keep Colvin and reap the benefits of that trade. The team wants pitching in return in a trade, and even with Colvin being more valuable, they probably would not get enough to feel good about a deal.
So Rox Pilers, should the Rockies try to trade Tyler Colvin?