The Colorado Rockies pitching staff has been a mess in the past two weeks and with that, they have given their front office a very hard decision to make in the next few weeks.
In just over two weeks, the MLB trade deadline will be upon us and Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich and company will have to make some tough decisions.
Entering Tuesday, the Rockies are, once again, under .500, at 46-48, but still find themselves within two games of the second NL Wild Card. Their main problem, of late, has been an issue that most people thought would be a strength of theirs this season: their pitching.
In their last 14 games (including both games from Monday), they have had an ERA of 7.68 and it is happening at the worst time. If you exclude the night game from Monday, their ERA is 8.13. I think it’s obvious that the Rockies will not get into the playoffs if the pitching staff pitches like how they have all year, as they have an ERA of 5.39.
So the decision needs to be made on, essentially, whether the Rockies will try to contend for a playoff spot or get some pitching on the trade market.
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The problem with getting pitching on the trade market is that, as Buster Olney of ESPN reported in this article (subscription required), the trade market asking prices are “enormous” as team’s are asking for “very high-end prospects,” even for rentals.
This is partially because the time of year and team’s are more desperate to get something that they need for a playoff run. Also, it’s partially due to so many teams being in contention, as there are only six teams that aren’t within 6 games of a playoff spot, at the end of play on Monday, and only one of those is in the NL. Mind you, in the NL, there are 13 teams within 3.5 games of a playoff spot, including every team in the NL West and NL Central.
In other words, do the Rockies want to vastly over pay for a rental to help their rotation, that won’t even guarantee them a playoff spot (since there are so many teams in contention, particularly in the NL) or decide to stand pat and fade out of the playoff picture (if the pitching continues like it is).
For a rental, the Rockies would likely have to give up at least one young player who has some major league experience (Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Peter Lambert, Ryan McMahon, and Josh Fuentes are among them) and/or a highly valued top prospect(s) (Colton Welker, Ryan Rolison, Grant Lavigne, and Tyler Nevin among the top prospects).
Unless the pitching staff picks it up very soon, it may be a no-win situation for the Rockies and either way could prove very costly for the franchise in the short and long term.