One Off-The-Radar Trade The Colorado Rockies Could Make


June 26, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; A member of the Colorado Rockies  warms up on the on-deck circle during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies have seen trade rumors swirl around several players this year, but there’s one long-shot the Rox could sell high to see a nice return. 

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DJ LeMahieu took the Colorado Rockies by storm this year, spending the first two months of the season near the top of the National League in hitting and pushing people like us to stump for him as the Rockies’ early option for the NL All Star Game. (That was, of course, before LeMahieu started sliding a little bit, and Nolan Arenado decided he was going to hit 100 home runs in a ten-day stretch.)

Now, about DJ’s slide. Hitting .335/.385/.441 on the final day of May, LeMahieu entered play Friday under .300 for the first time all season, slashing .296/.350/.389.

Since June 10, LeMahieu has only three extra base hits, and in that stretch he’s gone just 12-for-80 (.150). [Editor’s note: of course, after I prepare this piece Saturday afternoon, LeMahieu has his first multi-hit game since June 11 and first three-hit game since June 9 on Saturday night.]

A lot of that is to be expected; very few second basemen are going to hit .330 all year, and as the Colorado Rockies lineup is constructed, they don’t need LeMahieu to fight for a National League batting title. He’s been a pleasant surprise to start the year. Going forward, expect him to sit somewhere in the range right around his .280/.321/.367 career slash line.

And you know what? That’s OK. Assuming the lineup more or less holds and LeMahieu stays in the bottom third of it, an eighth hitter slashing near .280/.321/.367 is something over which a lot of teams would salivate. Hey, speaking of that…

With the Rockies promoting Trevor Story (a shortstop, they say) to AAA, to play alongside Cristhian Adames (another shortstop, or at least he was), and both at least nominally figuring into the Rockies’ future as prospects, the club has a logjam in the middle infield. Obviously, Nolan Arenado isn’t going anywhere at third base, and unless he gets traded, Troy Tulowitzki won’t lose his job at shortstop.

If the Colorado Rockies like Story and/or Adames, as I’ve asked in previous posts, could the Colorado Rockies trade LeMahieu? No disrespect to LeMahieu if the Rockies were to shop him – he’s a hell of a player, his value is high after winning a Gold Glove and his offensive outburst has attracted notice across the league. In fact… his value has never been higher. Assuming he won’t suddenly rise .350 or something, DJ’s trade value is the highest it will probably ever be.

Second base isn’t a premium position; it’s easier to find a decent second baseman than, say, a good shortstop. (Ask Padres fans about that – Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes, am I right, guys?) The Rockies, then, could more easily find a decent second baseman to replace him (whether it be Adames, Story, or someone else altogether). Granted, though, because second base isn’t a premium position, there may not be as much desire from other teams to acquire LeMahieu.

A Tulo trade would be a daunting proposition for a few different reasons, from his health issues to his (relatively team favorable) contract, to the massive return the Rockies ought to expect for him.

But LeMahieu would be an easier asset to move, and it would open up a middle infield spot for Story/Adames as the Rockies figure out what they have in those two prospects. (I know, Story isn’t ready for the big leagues yet, but Adames is, and he should be recalled.)

This is hypothetical (rumors!), but still: DJ’s trade value has never been higher, and he plays a position easier to fill than the left side. Sell high, and all that.

With two infield prospects in AAA, and LeMahieu’s great first two months, he’s a valuable trade asset the Colorado Rockies can flip before he regresses off his hot start and becomes just another (very good) second baseman. I know it’s unlikely, and I know he’s popular, but there is a case for the Colorado Rockies to trade DJ LeMahieu.

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