Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia just became an even bigger trade asset
Raimel Tapia played a big role in the Colorado Rockies posting an 11-10 road win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. His pinch-hit grand slam was his first home run of the season and boosted his batting average to .286 (in just 14 at-bats).
It was a great moment for the 24-year-old outfielder and provided an adrenaline boost for a team chasing its division rival in the quest to return to the postseason. It was also the perfect audition tape to show to 29 other Major League teams.
As we approach the trade deadline and the Rockies potentially making a move or two to make themselves even stronger over the last two months of the regular season, Tapia’s trade potential could possibly never be higher. With that in mind, it’s seemingly a great time for Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich to use his name in trade discussions as a valuable chip in Colorado’s possession.
I know some of you are thinking it’s a crazy thought. I know some of you (including fellow media members) are big fans of Tapia. The “con mucho swagger” vibe is appealing. I get that. However, it’s also time to look at some possibilities.
David Dahl is near his return from the disabled list to the Rockies, meaning he will likely take over as the team’s fifth outfielder (joining Charlie Blackmon, Gerardo Parra, Noel Cuevas and Carlos Gonzalez). Don’t forget that Ian Desmond can also play in the outfield. Dahl bats left-handed, as does Tapia, along with Blackmon, Parra, and CarGo. Another left-handed outfielder isn’t needed. When Dahl returns, it’s likely that Tapia will be sent back to Triple-A.
As we wrote about some time ago, Tapia is blocked in Denver at the moment by a mix of veterans and younger players who have surpassed him, perhaps in terms of talent or in the trust of Colorado manager Bud Black and his coaches. In the 10 games in which he has appeared this season, Tapia has started in just two of them, limiting the rest of his at-bats to pinch hitting appearances.
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There have been rumblings in the past of Tapia’s defensive inefficiencies, a tough thing to overcome in the outfield at Coors Field. He has improved on those, including the routes he takes to get to fly balls, but there is still improvement needed. Of course, that could be said of many young players.
If the Rockies are going to pursue a big-name free agent, including the likes of a Jacob deGrom, it’s been repeatedly said that teams will want players who are at or near the level of playing in the big leagues every day. Tapia is certainly one of those players. He just isn’t in the current or near-future plans of the Colorado organization.
That’s one of the reasons why, in our mock FanSided Winter Meetings before this season began, I traded Tapia away for a relief pitcher. It’s not that I don’t like what he brings to the organization. However, I believe, right now, he’s worth more as a chip to the Rockies than a player … despite Friday night’s heroics.
Does Tapia have talent? Absolutely? Is he improving at the plate and in the field? Yes. However, there are other outfielders and players in the organization who are doing the same.
If the Rockies are going to make a big move, they are going to have to part with some pieces who could potentially help them in the future. Tapia could potentially help the Rockies in the future. He could also potentially be a very key trading chip that could help the Rockies win now.
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Which would you rather have? You know a big-name player landed by the Rockies could help them immediately in their quest for Rocktober. Could the same be said about Tapia?