Rockies Rumblings

The Colorado Rockies are currently two games out of a Wild Card spot, despite being 28-30. They are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, losing 10 of their last 12 games. With Colorado being in an awkward position (are they contenders or pretenders?), there have been some rumblings around the organization whether to try to improve the roster via trade or blow the whole thing up and rebuild. Considering how the roster is structured, it would be easy to see both points of the argument.

On one hand, the Rockies could break the backs of their fans by trading Carlos Gonzalez. It’s tough to see him in another uniform, especially with his buddy Troy Tulowitzki still holding it down for Colorado. I don’t envision this happening because Gonzalez, 28, is in the prime of his career. Sure, Corey Dickerson, Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs are off to great starts this season. Sure, “CarGo” seems to find himself on the DL more and more. But, at any point, who is more feared by opposing pitchers? CarGo. Who is more clutch and can be counted on when it matters most? CarGo. Dickerson, Barnes and Stubbs will get their plate appearances, but they shouldn’t expect to be starting for Colorado anytime soon.

Despite rumors from MLB's Ken Rosenthal, Carlos Gonzalez should finish his career with the Rockies. (North Platte Post)

Despite rumors from MLB’s Ken Rosenthal, Carlos Gonzalez should finish his career with the Rockies. (North Platte Post)

The haul for CarGo would be juicy. However, with most of them being prospects, how does anybody know they would be able to contribute even half of what CarGo has? I’m squashing this rumbling like a bug.

On the other hand, Colorado could risk its future for the now. Trading for a solid arm, such as Jeff Samardzjia, has been a topic that seems to be lurking in the shadows. Samardzija would have to sign long-term for this to even be considered by the Rockies. The Cubs would be asking for a high price that could include any of Eddie Butler, Jon Gray or Tyler Matzek. The recent call-up of Butler complicates matters because if he does well, Colorado will be hanging on to him for the long haul. If he struggles, he won’t have as much value to the Cubs, thus cancelling this trade.

Jon Gray is the most coveted prospect in the Rockies farm system. Giving him up for anything short of an ace in their prime seems unlikely as he oozes potential to be the cornerstone of the franchise in years to come. Tyler Matzek might not be seen in the same light as Butler or Gray by other organizations. Matzek has had a rough time in Triple-A, showing that he might not be the answer that other clubs are looking for. Like the CarGo trade, this rumbling can be smashed.

A more realistic approach would be to improve the roster by trading proven players for proven players that help out both teams. The final rumbling is a trade involving the Red Sox. Though there are no specifics given, both the Rockies and Red Sox seem to be terrific trade partners.

The Rockies need help with left-handed bullpen relief. Current southpaws in the bullpen, Rex Brothers and Boone Logan, have ERAs of 5.47 and 5.87, respectively. The Red Sox have two solid, proven veterans in their ‘pen that can help this issue.

Andrew Miller is a lefty who owns an ERA of 2.55, which is impressive considering he pitches in a toughest division in baseball – the AL East. Hitters are only batting .196 and left-handed hitters have collected a total of seven hits against Miller.

Andrew Miller can help the Rockies bullpen with his experience and ability to get left-handed hitters out. (Creative Commons)

Andrew Miller can help the Rockies bullpen with his experience and ability to get left-handed hitters out. (Creative Commons)

The Red Sox need outfield help just as badly as the Rockies need a southpaw reliever. The best outfielder for Boston, Shane Victorino, is hitting .242 with only 10 RBI. The worst-hitting outfielder, CarGo, is hitting .255 but has the potential to be a MVP candidate when healthy.

Meanwhile, every Rockies outfielder has an OPS of at least .730. The best OPS number for the Red Sox comes from Jonny Gomes – .713.

I can see a deal of Barnes or Stubbs for Miller happening. Both teams have dire needs and both can be filled without giving up players with high potential or large contracts. I’ll let this rumbling stick around for a bit.

The Rockies can improve their organization without breaking the backs of their fans or the structure of their farm system. All they have to do is find the right trade partner.

 

 

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Trade or Fade?

With the weather starting to heat up, that means summer is on the horizon and the trade deadline is fast approaching. That being said, it is time for the first installment of Trade or Fade? This segment will take a look at two possible candidates that the Rockies could trade for by the July 31 deadline. A case will be made for each player as well as what it would take to land them. It is up to you, the audience, to decide what the beloved Rockies should do. Let’s get right into it.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija has performed well for the Cubs and will look to join a contending club for a postseason run. (Creative Commons)

Jeff Samardzija has performed well for the Cubs and will look to join a contending club for a postseason run. (Creative Commons)

The case: Jeff Samardzija has pitched like an ace all season long. His 1.68 ERA ranks second in the majors. Samardzija’s allowed 14 earned runs, which is the second-fewest among qualified pitchers in the MLB. His WAR of 2.7 places him in third amongst his competitors. He finally earned his first victory in Monday’s game versus the Giants, snapping a winless streak of 16 straight starts. Samardzija is 29 and is in the final two years of his contract.

The Rockies have been looking for a bonafide ace since offloading Ubaldo Jimenez in 2011. Samardzija has been a workhorse throughout his career, throwing 633 innings in his first seven seasons despite not being named a starter until 2012. He would certainly find a role in the rotation and could be a Game One starter in a playoff series.

What it will take: Jon Gray or Eddie Butler. This would break the backs of hardcore Rockies fans. With Samardzija’s stats, he would draw a top prospect and the Cubs would savor the opportunity to land Gray or Butler. Theo Epstein couldn’t get this deal done fast enough. The Cubs have been in full overhaul mode since Epstein took over in October of 2011.

Both Gray and Butler have shown that they are full of potential and will be ready whenever the call comes for them. Gray has 42 strikeouts in just nine starts and boasts a 2.79 ERA. Butler, meanwhile, has a 2.39 ERA and already thrown 64 innings. He has left 80 percent of runners on base.

It would also take assurance that Samardzija would re-sign after 2015, something that can’t be guaranteed given how much the Cubs hurler would demand.

Zach Britton

Zach Britton could be the left-handed reliever that the Rockies are missing. (Creative Commons)

Zach Britton could be the left-handed reliever that the Rockies are missing. (Creative Commons)

The case: Since being moved to the bullpen in the offseason, Zach Britton has been a shutdown pitcher for manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles. The southpaw is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.65 and three saves in 27 innings of work. His WHIP of 0.867 ranks first among left-handed relievers in the majors. Britton’s 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is also proof that he has the command necessary for the late innings.

Of the two left-handed relievers on the Rockies roster, Britton would be in a league of his own. Rex Brothers has blown four saves this season and has given up 10 runs in 22.1 innings. Boone Logan has given up seven runs in only 13.1 innings and opponents are hitting .250 against him.

What it will take: Kyle Parker or Rosell Herrera. Relief help typically wouldn’t cost much, but because he is a lefty specialist and is only 26, the price will be at a premium.

Kyle Parker is a former first-round selection back in 2010 and has manned the corner outfield spots in the minor leagues. His career batting average of .292 with 72 home runs and 271 RBI makes him a juicy prospect for the Orioles.

Rosell Herrera is the No. 3 prospect currently in the Rockies farm system. The infield utility man is a switch-hitter who can cause problems with his speed on the base paths as well as steal hits away from batters. He lead the Asheville Tourists (Single-A affiliate) with 21 stolen bases this past season.

Britton’s salary of $500,000 is certainly manageable considering all the quality innings he has put in. His low-money contract is up at the end of this season and he will be looking to cash in.