Colorado Rockies: Analysis of acquisitions before the trade deadline
This time last month, it seemed like the Colorado Rockies were certainly going to be sellers at the trade deadline. Sending Jon Gray down to Triple-A and a rallying cry from Nolan Arenado seemed to do the trick and this club is buying. Maybe not more than the brokers on Wall Street but they are making moves that help shore up their deficiencies to stay competitive with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. These are the reactions and analysis of the moves the Rockies have made before the Trade Deadline 2018.
It seems surreal that Holliday could be playing for the manager that he slid head first into home plate against in 2007 and with Carlos Gonzalez, the player he was traded for the very next year to the Oakland Athletics. This move could be more than a feel good story to bring back one of the best Colorado Rockies of all time.
The Rockies tried something similar last year by signing veteran Ryan Howard to a minor league contract. Howard never made it to the big leagues. Starting in Grand Junction might give Holliday a more legitimate shot of getting rid of the dust after not playing for nearly a year. Holliday had some legitimate injury concerns playing for the Yankees last year but showed he still had pop hitting 19 homers in 105 games. This move was rumored to be made last year before he signed to New York and retrospectively, the Rockies and fans wish it would have happened sooner.
The Rockies need a veteran bat off the bench in clutch pinch hit situations. Chris Iannetta has been that option out of necessity this year. Holliday could come off the bench against lefties, give Ian Desmond veteran help backing up first base and how special would it be to see Holliday in left in the late innings during a push for the playoffs? This veteran utility player role has been a need ever since the Rockies didn’t resign Mark Reynolds. Starting him off slow and getting reacclimated helps this reunion become more than a pipe dream. The Rockies and Holliday need each other.
We talked a lot about what this veteran reliever could bring to the Rockies in this article. The Rockies reportedly signed him to a minor league contract but he was still not the Triple-A roster as of this writing.
The Rockies struggles this year have mostly come on the shoulders of the bullpen. (Thanks Captain Obvious). You could blame some Rockies veteran sluggers getting off to a slow start or not having a veteran presence in the rotation but that has all evened itself out coming into the trade deadline. Even the bullpen has become more reliable. But this team never can have enough stability and arms in the bullpen. Even with the free agent splurge in the offseason, the only truly reliable pen arm is Adam Ottavino.
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Oh brings a reliable veteran presence to the pen and balances out Bryan Shaw who has struggled this season to put it mildly. Oh made his debut with the Rockies in the A’s series and looked sharp. His 2.68 ERA in 48 games in Toronto is a much needed addition. This is exactly what the Rockies needed but it isn’t enough. The club needs more pitchers like Oh. Do you bring back Greg Holland who is struggling mightily and got designated for assignment by the Cardinals? A minor league deal might help relieve the struggles. He’s much cheaper now than what the Rockies offered to sign him for in the offseason but August is where he struggled most last year with Colorado. However the Rockies move forward with their bullpen this year, it should be like they pursued Oh. Reliable and non-splashy relievers contrary to the bullpen moves in the offseason will win the race.
This is the biggest frustration on the Rockies plans before the trade deadline. They seemingly haven’t made enough moves to keep pace with the Manny Machado trade that the Dodgers made. To be fair, until about two weeks ago this team looked like they were in sell mode. To really contend for their first back-to-back playoff appearance, the Rockies ultimately need more hitting. Chad Bettis will come back and give the starting staff even more stability even if it is from the bullpen.
The move they need to make is the opposite of what they need in the bullpen. A big splashy bat would invigorate this fan base and signal to the team that management has their full support. Signing another corner outfielder primarily to play left or a first baseman would be the most beneficial. If you sign a prolific first baseman, Desmond and his resurgent bat can go back to a more natural position in left. Or sign a corner outfielder like Andrew McCutchen. Rockies fans might just like taking from the Giants. Or who knows, the Nationals have been whispering about moving Bryce Harper.
While none of this is likely to happen, it’s nice just to be on this side of the conversation. The buyers side, and the Rockies need to keep fueling the momentum.