Colorado Rockies: Trades and other simulated moves we made
By Kevin Henry
Seattle Mariners trade pitchers Nick Vincent and Chase De Jong to Colorado Rockies for outfielder Raimel Tapia
We decided to head to the Pacific Northwest to help boost the Rockies bullpen, grabbing former second-round pick and right-handed reliever/starter Chase De Jong and BLAH.
Why we did it: Back in January, Vincent was tabbed by FanGraphs as having the second-most unhittable fastball in Major League Baseball, just behind Aroldis Chapman, with hitters whiffing 34.3 percent of the time. Last season, he went 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA and struck out 50 while walking just 13 in 64.2 innings. He ranked second in the American League in holds with 29 and posted a 2.02 ERA after the All-Star break. With Neshek and Jake McGee likely not back with the Rockies, having someone to bridge the gap to the ninth inning was key. We believe Vincent could be that guy to get the game to whoever the Rockies closer might be.
De Jong will turn 24 on December 29 and is available for arbitration in 2021. He is young and has a lot of potential. He hit some hiccups in his first seven MLB games last season (0-3, 6.35 ERA, 1.553 WHIP) but the future potential outweighs a tough first few games. You can never have enough young pitching and De Jong can have the time to develop in the minors.
Seattle was looking for an outfielder in the trade market and we were able to pull off the deal by sending away Tapia. Believe me, I know some of you will cringe over this (especially our friends at BSNRockies) … and that’s OK. Tapia is absolutely electric at the plate and on the bases, but he has shown a lack of defensive abilities and that’s just not something you can have at spacious Coors Field. Plus, we believe the Rockies will lock up Blackmon after the 2018 season so center field will be blocked. With David Dahl coming back (and we believe he will), plus Ian Desmond and Gerardo Parra available in the outfield along with Jordan Patterson and Mike Tauchman in the wings, Colorado is set with outfielders.
Could Tapia make an impact this season if we hadn’t traded him away? Sorry, but we just don’t see it happening. He bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors last season and 2018 could well be Groundhog Day in that respect.