Colorado Rockies: Will a big trade really be worth it in 2018?

DENVER, CO - JUNE 9: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates with DJ LeMahieu #9 after hitting a first inning 2-run homerun against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on June 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 9: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates with DJ LeMahieu #9 after hitting a first inning 2-run homerun against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on June 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

As the Colorado Rockies begin a six-game road trip to Philadelphia and Arlington, Texas, this week, the team is looking to get back to its winning ways after being swept at home over the weekend by division foe Arizona.

Colorado has lost four straight games and sit at 32-33, four games behind the Diamondbacks in the National League West. The Rockies are below .500 and in fourth place in the division, closer to being in last (2.5 games ahead of San Diego) than in first.

Make no mistake about it. These are brutal times for the men in purple pinstripes. Honestly, it’s been a tough 65 games for them in 2018. When the pitching was doing its job, the offense was struggling to score runs. Now that the offense is clicking, the bullpen hasn’t been able to hold a lead. As was pointed out in this tweet this morning, Colorado’s bullpen has given 46 runs over the last two weeks. Houston’s bullpen, meanwhile, has surrendered 62 runs all season.

It’s a telling statistic, both in terms of how bad Colorado’s bullpen has been and the caliber of team the Rockies currently are. Let’s be honest, this is a team that is not on the same level as the defending World Champion Astros. It’s also a team that is going to have to claw and scratch to make its second consecutive trip to the postseason.

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Can Colorado still make Rocktober happen? Sure, but I am not as confident in it as I was when the season began … and I wasn’t that confident in it when spring training ended. This is a team that has plenty of deficiencies (first base, corner outfielder, middle relief) and it isn’t going to take just one or two trades to plug the holes in the dike.

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs received reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees. Chapman helped the Cubs win their first World Series in more than a century but he was back with the Yankees the following season. In return for Chapman, the Cubs sent Gleyber Torres and others to New York. A rented player helped the Cubs win the title but they gave up a prospect who is now making a big impact for the Yankees.

In 2003, the Florida Marlins traded Will Smith (no, not the Fresh Prince), Ryan Snare and a young Adrian Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Ugueth Urbina. The right-hander would grab two saves in the World Series to help the Marlins win it all but was gone the following season. The rental paid dividends in Miami but Gonzalez would go on to post five All-Star appearances and is still playing today.

Two teams trading prized young players for the chance to win the World Series. Two teams accomplishing that goal and watching those prospects shine in other organizations.

There was a thought not long ago that the Rockies could trade some of their young talent for someone like a Jose Abreu or Kelvin Herrera. Both would make an impact for the Rockies and both would require a prized prospect to leave the Colorado farm system.

The question I wonder today is this … If the Rockies don’t find their footing quickly, will it be worth pulling the trigger on a big trade this season? Colorado not only has an uphill battle to make the playoffs but also to make an impact on the division race. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have shaken off their early struggles. Can the Rockies keep them within range as they try to right the ship?

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The Cubs and Marlins needed one piece to solidify their team. The Rockies need more than one piece. Is it worth mortgaging the future for a chance at the postseason now?

There are certainly other factors at play here. The Rockies don’t know if they’ll have DJ LeMahieu on the roster after this season or if Nolan Arenado will be holding down the hot corner after the 2019 campaign. Charlie Blackmon isn’t getting younger and, barring a miracle, this will be last season for Carlos Gonzalez in Denver. Despite his struggles, when he connects, he can make an impact. There is a lot of uncertainty for the Rockies looming.

Can David Dahl make a difference when he returns from injury? You bet. Can Colorado’s high-priced bullpen rediscover its mojo? Absolutely. Can Jon Gray’s slider once again become a weapon? Yes. Can Adam Ottavino be just as nasty when he returns from the disabled list as he was before he was placed on it? Let’s hope so.

Next: If the Rockies make a trade for the bullpen, would these names help?

If all of those things happen, Colorado will be OK. Will it be enough to have Colorado dealing at the trade deadline? We’ll see. Will it be worth the Rockies giving up a prized name for an established veteran? This season, in my opinion, probably not.