The Rockies are at an interesting crossroads in their history, and I thought a little thought experiment about which road we should choose to take, what 2014 would look like if we did and why we might do either.
The current iteration of the purple, silver and black is made up of a solid mix of proven veterans, upside long shots and likely contributors. With slightly below average to above average contributors at C, 2B, 3B, CF, RF, OF4, OF5, SP2, SP3 RP4 and star production from SS, LF, CL, and SP1 this team is 71-86 overall and 27-51 on the Road thanks largely to everyone being a sinkhole, and injuries to nearly all above limiting their playing time. So the question is this team with seven more wins than last year something to build off of? or would the franchise be better off to move assets that are getting expensive in order to add to their next wave of talent hitting their prime.
WE SHOULD STAY
Then the Rockies will need a new RF/1B option at minimum Blackmon should get a shot, but need a vet to provide a likely floor. Additional talent will be needed at SP3 to give Chatwood room to regress, two new bullpen arms and a veteran backup C. Elsewhere I have proposed Ruggiano, Feldman, and Corporan as targets but I would love to hear yours. I would also argue a hitting coach that teaches a patient approach and a base-running coach that doesn't make suggest making several outs a game on the base-paths are needed.
WE SHOULD BLOW IT UP(a little
Given what we know about the Rockies ownership/front office this will never happen, but again what would it look like if it did. we have 4 players that would start on any team in MLB and while it would be awful to lose any there isn't enough talent to rebuild through trade if we don't. In this scenario the Rockies move the the two 30+yo players they have who are coming off a career year Michael Cuddyer and Jorge De La Rosa.
In this scenario the Rockies use older expensive options to acquire younger cost controlled talent to replace them the downside being that there is a very limited return you can get for a bad glove 34yo RF and a 33yo SP with falling K rates and never topping 185ip in a season.
NO REALLY BLOW IT UP
This puts Troy Tulowitzki(142OPS+), Carlos Gonzalez(145OPS+), Dexter Fowler and Chacin on the trading block as well with the first two coming at #10 and #13 of the most valuable trade commodities on Fangraphs top 50 this season. 5-7WAR players are rarely traded when signed to below market extensions and while both contracts could arguably cripple the Rockies payroll flexibility together they are owed less than the Tigers owe Prince Fielder. If the Rockies turned their back on 20 years of organizational philosophy and traded away the core, what would the return be? When would you see them returning to contention? What would next years starting lineup look like?