September 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder Drew Stubbs (13) throws his helmet after striking out in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
As the season begins, we are profiling some potential trade candidates the Rockies may be able to move this summer in return for younger players. Let’s continue the series today with Drew Stubbs.
Drew Stubbs played well for the Rockies in 2014, exceeding expectations at the plate and forcing the Rockies’ hand into making him a part of the conversation in 2015.
For his play, the Rockies rewarded him with a one-year deal to return to Colorado.
The contract. Stubbs will be a free agent after the year, and the Rockies owe him $5.83 million for the season. Obviously, being a free agent at the end of the year would make him a very intriguing rental player for a contending team.
The history. Stubbs struck out a lot and hit for low averages early in his career in both Cincinnati and Cleveland.
He led the league in strikeouts in 2011 and failed to get on base at a higher clip than .329 in a single season, but he did come to Colorado with 69 career home runs and 127 stolen bases in 4+ seasons, so he’s got an interesting combination of power and speed.
The tenure. In Colorado last year, Stubbs slashed .289/.339/.482 – career highs in all three numbers – and hit 15 home runs while stealing 20 bases. He also struck out 136 times in 424 plate appearances, and has consistently in his career hovered around a disappointing 30% strikeout total.
Additionally, Stubbs had an abysmal spring, striking out 23 times in 47 at-bats while hitting .213/.351/.340. Gross. The spring stats won’t affect his trade value, but they will if he carries that trend over into the summer.
The angle. Stubbs is entering his seventh year in the big leagues and is still just 30 years old. Even with his high strikeout rates, he possesses speed and power and can roam the outfield for a contender as a rent-a-player for a month or two if the Rockies fall out of contention.
Alternatively, the Rockies could realize they have a surplus of outfielders and see Stubbs as expendable. He won’t fetch a blockbuster return, but perhaps a mid-level prospect long term is better than losing Stubbs for nothing to free agency this winter.
The replacement. With Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson across the outfield, the Rockies could conceivably fill the three starting spots with no lag (assuming health, of course). Brandon Barnes, who almost made the team out of Spring Training, and was with the club last season, could easily be a fourth outfielder.
Additionally, Kyle Parker could be slotted in immediately as a fifth outfielder, and spell Gonzalez and Dickerson in the corners while Blackmon and Barnes patrol center field. That would make Drew Stubbs expendable with, theoretically, some type of value for another club that needs outfield depth.