Friday Rockpile: Should Colorado Trade Carlos Gonzalez?

Would it be in the Rockies' best interest for Corlos Gonzalez to be hitting home runs at Busch Stadium next year? - Dilip Vishwanat

Trading a popular star player is always unpopular, but that certainly does not mean it is always the wrong move.

Carlos Gonzalez is getting active in his preparation for the 2013 season. When he does return, it will be to a team with question marks at third base, second base, first base, right field, and every slot in the rotation. Thomas Harding has posted a year-in-review piece on the club, and aside from Gonzalez hitting home runs in four straight at-bats, there was not much positive.

The regression of the team in 2011-12 is certainly a cause for frustration for Rockies fans, as the rock solid contention window that was centered around Tulo and Cargo's prime has now likely shifted past that. Barring dramatic in-house star-level improvements in the rotation, Colorado is now multiple years out from a strong contending team. Might the primes of Carlos Gonzalez go to waste?

If the Rockies are to re-load for that later contention window, there are really only three assets worth trading. Dexter Fowler likely won't bring a significant return. Troy Tulowitzki is most assuredly going nowhere. That leaves Carlos Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is just two years into a 7-year, $80million extension and has only been paid $9million of it through his first two years. The subject of a trade was brought up by both sides, as a $1million bonus was written into the contract if he is traded. While his plate discipline has improved, his power and defense have regressed from the 2010 superstar level that earned him his contract. Injuries may be to blame, but it is still concerning.

So what about this theoretical haul? Jim Bowden wrote yesterday for ESPN (insider) that the Rockies should deal him for Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller and Jon Jay. If there's any team that understands the overstated nature of home/road splits for truly great hitters, it is the Cardinals, so they may not be scared of his home/road splits.

Miller was billed as a future #1 starter and the #8 overall prospect in MLB before a strangely inconsistent season ended with 13.1 strong innings with the big club at age 21. Rosenthal pulled an Adam Wainwright by opening eyes as a rookie starter who became a critical bullpen piece in the playoffs. Jon Jay is a capable outfielder with a very consistent 116 RC+ line in his career. Carlos Gonzalez was 122 last season and 121 for his career.

The deal would hurt for Rockies fans, to be sure, but it arguably makes more sense for the Rockies than the Cardinals. Granted the Rockies have several young unproven formerly highly touted pitchers, but Rosenthal and Miller are better now than all of them (except perhaps Pomeranz). It is highly doubtful O'Dowd and Geivett would consider pulling the trigger if John Mozeliak okayed the deal from their end. Granted this is done in a vacuum, but it is a deal and a course of action that would require serious consideration.

Links

Dexter Fowler: The Improvement Is Real - Fake Teams - Paul Guilfoyle thought Fowler's 2012 was fluky until he looked at the numbers.

ESPN 30 for 30 You Don't Know Bo FULL - YouTube - The FULL 100 minute feature on Bo Jackson is available on YouTube now.

Uni Watch's exclusive look at the new MLB batting practice caps - ESPN - The Rockies' design got a grade of "incomplete," the only one that brought out indecisiveness in Paul Lukas. It features the blank mountain logo instead of the CR worn on every other hat in the past 20 years, and Lukas is worried about how it transfers to a hat in the flesh. It brings back memories of Larry Walker hitting a walk-off home run off John Rocker in the "futuristic" uniforms in 1999. Rox Girl had a great run down of Walker yesterday, and I'm contributing a snippet on him to BasballPastandPresent.com next week.

Best accomplishment that had previously seemed impossible 2012: Todd Frazier’s hands-free home run - Baseball Nation - Bill Parker revisits another iconic home run from 2012, which of course had to come off a Rockies pitcher. It's an easy guess who as well.

Luxury Tax Totals - Maury Brown has tracked every dollar spent in the Luxury Tax. Not surprisingly, the Yankees are way ahead of every other team combined, but the interesting note: all of that has come since 2000 and bought one championship. Prior to 2000, the top luxury tax team was not the Yankees, but a different AL East team (not the Red Sox either). So maybe it is not a surprise that Hank Steinbrenner has Brian Cashman on a budget.

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