With all the talk of the Rockies acquiring pitching help at the trade deadline, another position at which they could easily improve remains largely ignored, that being first base.
So far in 2013, Rockies first basemen, primarily Todd Helton and Jordan Pacheco, have provided -2.1 fWAR, with only Brewers first basemen providing less value. Most of the deficiency has been at the plate, where Helton and Pacheco have combined for a dismal .344 slugging percentage and .659 OPS. The club needs to improve its offensive production from first base if they want to be serious contenders, and the way to do that would be to acquire Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox are in full-on fire sale mode at this point, sitting at 36-53, 13.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. It began yesterday as they traded reliever Matt Thornton and his $5.5 million contract to the Red Sox for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs.
Dunn would be a significant financial commitment for the Rockies, as he makes $15 million in both 2013 and 2014, but he has hit 24 home runs already this season with 60 runs driven in. The red flag with Dunn at the plate is obviously his batting average, which sits at .208, and strikeouts, of which he has 106 so far this season. However, the cost in prospects would likely be fairly reasonable, with Chicago motivated to get Dunn's contract off the books.
Dunn's offensive numbers become less concerning when you note that 69 of those strikeouts came in April and May, as he hit just .156 in the first two months of the season. He has hit .277 in 36 games in June and July with a .585 slugging percentage in those two months. In his career at Coors Field, Dunn has hit .264/.381/.575 with nine home runs in 106 at bats.
The acquisition of Dunn would obviously have a big impact on the Rockies' roster, likely relegating Pacheco to AAA and Helton into a role primarily as a pinch hitter and late-inning defensive replacement, with the Rockies new everyday lineup looking something like this:
Dunn would be the answer to the "Who plays first base in 2014?" question that is currently facing the Rockies, as he is under contract for next season.
The Rockies have repeatedly said that they would be willing to take on salary in order to contend; it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is and make a move that would significantly improve the team in both 2013 and 2014.
Todd Helton's heir apparent at first base still unclear - Denver Post
Irv Moss takes a look at the Rockies' future at first base, bringing up Ben Paulsen and Kiel Roling as possible long-term replacements for Helton.
Josh Rutledge having a rough 2nd year - Denver Post
Patrick Saunders examines Josh Rutledge's struggles this season. He is hitting just .212/.272/.314 this season after an impressive rookie campaign in 2012.