The 2008 trade deadline is quickly approaching. The Brewers and Cubs have already made major deals to improve their pitching staffs. The Rockies are 7.5 games out of first place as of the time of this post. That seems like a lot, but the division-leading D-backs have a mediocre winning percentage of .500, the worst of all six division leaders. As an optimist, I'd like to see my Rockies be proactive, get better via trade(s), and make a run at the division title.
(via images.sportsline.com) A lot of teams appear to be interested in Brian Fuentes. Every contending team could use bullpen help, especially if it's a veteran LHP. In all likelihood, Fuentes will not be wearing purple pinstripes after the deadline. Personally, I'm fine with this as long as it's a fair deal for the Rockies.
(via images.sportsline.com) However, a few other rumors have really peaked my interest. The Seattle Mariners appear to be interested in Rockies CF Willy Taveras. According to an MLB.com article, the M's looked into Taveras before the Rockies acquired him in the Jason Jennings deal.
(via images.sportsline.com) Though the Mariners have several potential trade chips, most rumors have centered on Erik Bedard. With C.C. Sabathia, Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin already dealt, Bedard appears to be the next best starter that can be acquired, even though he is currently on the DL. The Philadelphia Phillies, in a tight division race of their own, appear to be the front runner for Bedard at the moment.
Could the Rockies end up trading for Bedard? A lot of questions about such a deal come to my mind, so it might be a long shot. Still, it could end up being a legitimate trade possibility as well.
The Mariners acquired Bedard from the Orioles in exchange for five prospects ... at least they were called prospects at the time the deal was made. LHP George Sherrill has developed into a fine closer for the O's. Adam Jones, the Mariner's top OF prospect at the time, was the other main trade chip.
Initially I see that the Mariners gave up (primarily) a LHP reliever and a young OF to get Bedard. The Rockies have a LHP reliever and a young OF in Fuentes and Taveras. A two-for-one deal seems like a good possibility for me. Both Fuentes and Tavares have proven that they can play at a major league level, so perhaps the Rockies won't need two throw in three additional minor league prospects.
I think this deal would be great for the Rockies if they could pull it off. The bullpen would take a hit in losing Fuentes, but the starting staff would receive a much needed boost in gaining Bedard.
Taveras is also a good CF who currently leads the majors in stolen bases. However, the Rockies can afford to part with Willy T. Ryan Spilborghs (when he gets healthy) and Scott Podsednik can share the CF position in Taveras's absence. Beyond those two, Corey Sullivan can always step in as a solid replacement, and Dexter Fowler lurks as the long-term plan for CF-of-the-future. The Rockies clearly have the OF depth to be able to trade Taveras.
In order to have any shot at the division, the Rockies must upgrade their rotation. Sixty percent of their starting staff is currently comprised of Mark Redman, Jorge De La Rosa, and Glendon Rusch. It would be a miracle for such a staff to win the division (this miracle would necessarily have to include Jeff Francis, Kip Wells, Franklin Morales, and/or Rodrigo Lopez getting healthy and/or regaining their past form) . More and more it looks like the Rockies need to either make a move or give up on 2008 altogether.
Still, several (perhaps too many) questions come to mind when I think about a Fuentes-and-Taveras-for-Bedard deal. At 7.5 games out, would Dealin' Dan be willing to make such a big move? Would the Brothers Monfort consider Erik Bedard too pricey? Would the Rockies be giving up too much in a deal like this? Could they be giving up too little? Would the Rockies get a better deal by trading Fuentes to a contending team? How serious--heaven forbid--is Spilly's injury anyway?
The optimist inside my head tells me that the season is not lost, at least not if the Rockies are willing to make the right moves.