The Colorado Rockies are 16 games behind the NL West leading San Francisco Giants and with MLB’s trade deadline looming less than a month away, the residents of 20th and Blake look like they’ll be sellers once again.
With that in mind, lets take a look at three hypothetical moves involving the Rockies most-discussed trade chips that make sense for both teams involved.
Yes, the Dodgers are division rivals and yes, trading CarGo for a pair of guys who’ve never played an inning at the MLB level does feel wrong.
So why move Gonzalez? Because it’s just way easier to find someone who can play right field than it is to find a front-line starter.
David Dahl and Raimel Tapia are two of Colorado’s top prospects; they’re both outfielders. Jordan Patterson isn’t as widely beloved by the scouting community, but he’s hitting .316 in AAA this season and is capable of playing a corner outfield spot.
No one that’s being realistic would expect any of those players to entirely fill CarGo’s shoes, but they would probably give Colorado a decent knock-off version for a fraction of the cost.
“You can never have too much pitching” may be a cliche, but it’s also true.
De Leon is currently shredding AAA competition (44 K in 29.2 innings) and Buehler, taken 24th overall by the Dodgers in the 2015 draft, would have likely gone Top-10 in the draft if not for arm troubles in his junior year at Vanderbilt (he has since had Tommy John surgery). Both represent the type of high caliber starting pitching prospect the Rockies should be targeting.
The Dodgers get a solution to their left field problem (sorry, Trayce Thompson) through 2017 and the Rockies add a pair of highly-regarded pitching prospects that could contribute to the rotation as soon as next season.
Not every trade needs to be a blockbuster; this is a fairly straightforward deal that fits the needs of both teams.
The Rockies get a 25-year-old reliever with control issues but potential closer stuff (including a fastball that can reach triple digit velocity) and the Red Sox get a left-handed reliever that isn’t aggressively terrible.
Logan has been fine for Colorado, perhaps even somewhat underrated as a reliable lefty arm, but his contract is up at the end of the season and there’s no real reason to hold on to him for these last few months, especially considering he’s on the wrong side of 30.
Let’s start by making this perfectly clear; the Rockies shouldn’t even consider moving Blackmon unless they’re getting a considerable haul in return.
Center fielders that are legitimately good offensive players are few and far between, and not only is Blackmon one of them, his limited service time ensures that he’ll be a bargain for years to come if he keeps up this level of production.
Every other team in baseball recognizes this as well, which is why Blackmon is probably the crown jewel of Colorado’s trade chips (yes, even more so than Gonzalez). The Rockies absolutely can and should ask for the moon if they’re thinking about moving him.
With all that being said, if an offer like this comes Colorado’s way, they’d have to at least consider it. Blackmon, despite his lack of service time, is already 30-years-old and is, at best, an average defensive center fielder. The idea of an aging Blackmon trying to chase down balls in the giant outfield gaps of Coors Field is not a pretty one.
The Nationals, though, shouldn’t be overly concerned about that. They’re leading the NL East and look like one of the best teams in baseball, despite receiving very little help from their center fielders and even less from their first basemen. Blackmon, and to a lesser extent Reynolds, could be the piece that allows them to win a playoff series in DC for the first time in franchise history.
The Rockies, on the other hand, would be getting back an established big-league starter in Roark, a 22-year-old flame-thrower on the verge of the majors in Lopez, and a hyper-athletic young prospect in Perkins.
The Rockies are actually in a fairly good spot right now; they have valuable trade chips that they could, but certainly do not HAVE to move and a number of young, exciting prospects in the upper levels of the minors.
The key now is patience. It can be hard to remain patient when you’re almost certainly going to miss the playoffs for the seventh straight year. But in recent years, we’ve seen multiple rebuilding projects derailed by a bad trade from a team that thought they were ready to make the leap (the Padres and Astros come to mind).
That’s not to say the Rockies shouldn’t be shopping their players; they most certainly should. But if they don’t get the response they are looking for, then they have to be willing to walk away.