Josh Rutledge is younger than Gordon Beckham, cheaper than Gordon Beckham, and apparently better than Gordon Beckham at playing baseball, and yet, according to Baseball Prospectus fantasy writer Josh Shepardson, it would be somehow in the Rockies' interest to bench Rutledge in favor of Beckham after trading Eric Young Jr (who is also better at baseball than Beckham) and Ramon Hernandez to the White Sox for their once hyped second baseman. Since Shepardson claims this particular trade idea was fun to think about, I assume that he's got some South Side leanings.
I'm making all of you suffer along with me in reading that because it was about the only thing that turned up in the Google search this morning for new Rockies news items. So seeing as there's a lack of other things to talk about, I'm going to have to go back to the topic du yesterday, the Diamondbacks trade that for all practical purposes landed Didi Gregorius in exchange for Trevor Bauer. It still looks pretty terrible, but in today's post were going to explore the philosophical question of if a hypothetical huge disaster trade is prevented by a real life lesser disaster trade, whether that would justify the actual bad move.
In case you're not following me, the trade that sent Bauer to Cleveland and Gregorius to Phoenix also sent Shin Soo Choo to Cincinnati, which has apparently put the brakes on a potential Justin Upton transaction in Arizona, not to mention making the Rockies hypothetical move of Dexter Fowler less likely. I'll get to Fowler in a second, but in not dealing Upton, the D-backs may have caught a major break, as he's a type of superstar player just entering his prime whose projected production over the next three seasons simply won't get replicated by almost any trade return. The step down from Upton to Gerardo Parra or A.J. Pollock (his projected internal replacements) is massive.
Fowler's not in Upton's class, but it's a similar story, with a quality player entering his prime seasons and a considerable step down to the next best CF on the roster, the best the Rockies could hope for in trading Dex would be to get a young multi-player return that projects to produce more than Fowler come 2015-2017. It seems that's what they're looking for, but taking on such speculative returns for the bird in hand always carries a big risk.
It's not going to fly as an excuse for poor front office decisions "Don't you see fans, it's not so bad, we could have done so much worse..," but in terms of saving these teams from themselves, the Diamondbacks might have actually done the Rockies and themselves a minor favor in making Tuesday's trade rather than the trade they were thinking about but didn't make.