I don't agree with the collective state of hysteria among Rockies fans that ensued after the recent trade involving Dexter Fowler, and the subsequent signing of Justin Morneau. This is definitely not the best couple of moves made by the Rockies' Front Office, but it's also not the worst. If we take a look at these moves objectively, and considering all the positions involved, they could be, at the very least, an improvement from last year's lineup.
Evaluating fWAR changes for the position players involved (we'll exclude Barnes for obvious reasons), assuming a Dickerson/Blackmon platoon in LF, using Steamer for 2014 values, we have this:
1B: 2013 = -0.8 , 2014 = 0.9 , Change = +1.7
CF/LF: 2013 = 2.2 , 2014 = 1 + 1.1 = 2.1 , Change = -0.1
This means that considering only position players, it translates into an improvement of 1.6 wins, spending a lot less money, given the fact that Morneau will cost just as much as Fowler would, and Dickerson/Blackmon a lot less than Helton. Even if you use Dexter’s Steamer projected fWAR for 2014 of 2.8 for the comparison, you would still get a +1 overall change in WAR.
Granted, that’s not a whole lot of improvement, but if you add Lyles to the equation, you could get a considerable boost in the value of these moves. Assuming he doesn’t get any better than last year, he’ll give the Rockies around 150 innings worth about 0.8 fWAR. If you take the worst 150 innings thrown by Rockies starters last year, they were worth only 0.1 fWAR. This alone would be another 0.7 wins more.
So basically what we’re looking at, is an improvement of about 2 wins, without spending any additional money or prospects (we'll have to reevaluate this after the PTBNL is known). The downside of it being parting ways with an average CF that had another arbitration year coming up before free agency.
I understand that they probably could’ve gotten more in return for Dex, but looking at the big picture, it’s not as bad as it looks. We still have a lot of offseason to look forward to, and the team didn't commit to any more money, so there's probably more low-tier free agent signings in the near future to fill other holes (hopefully a back-up catcher).