Earlier this week, I wrote an article discussing how the Colorado Rockies made the smart move by, for the most part, staying put at the trade deadline. Today, as part of a planned point-counterpoint with myself, I want to look at how the Rockies missed a great opportunity to boost their chances of taking over the National League West this season by not making a bigger move.
Entering Friday’s play, the Colorado Rockies are just 1.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the race for the NL West title. They are also squarely in the running for a Wild Card spot, just two games out of the second Wild Card position.
The entire point of my earlier article was that the Rockies did themselves a great service by staying put at the trade deadline and keeping their prospects. Youth is serving the Rockies well in recent games, with David Dahl and Ryan McMahon proving their worth at the plate and Colorado’s young rotation still getting the job done. However, what if the Rockies could have improved and not given away any of those prized young players? It seemingly was possible.
Take the case of Wilson Ramos, an All-Star catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays who was on the disabled list with a hamstring injury at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Philadelphia Phillies took a chance that Ramos was, as reported, nearly back from his injury and sent cash and a player to be named later to Tampa Bay for Ramos.
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The deal, as it turns out, has produced nicely for the Phillies. The 31-year-old catcher has played in just two games in Philadelphia (he was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday), but has gone 6-for-9 with four RBI in those appearances. It’s part of a season where Ramos is hitting .308 in 80 games between Tampa and Philly.
Philadelphia took a chance on an All-Star catcher and has seemingly been rewarded. Colorado, meanwhile, continues to play Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters with disappointing results while Tom Murphy appears to be destined to rejoin the Rockies from Triple-A when rosters are expanded on September 1. Are those three players enough for the Rockies behind the plate? Their offensive stats this season say no.
Colorado’s catching position could’ve been upgraded dramatically at the deadline with one simple move. It was the same kind of move that brought Seunghwan Oh to Colorado from Toronto … but would have cost less than even adding the veteran reliever did (Colorado sent three minor league players to the Jays).
With Chad Bettis reportedly moving to the bullpen and the September 1 expansion occurring, the Rockies may be able to work through their other glaring deficiency in the bullpen. There are options there who could help … but there simply aren’t those types of options at catcher.
Had Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich taken a chance on Ramos the way he did last season with Jonathan Lucroy, the Rockies would have easily strengthened their lineup. Let’s hope it isn’t a decision that keeps Colorado out of the postseason or from grabbing its first-ever division title.