The RMN has a really nice Jack Etkin article on the adjustments made by Ian Stewart in between stop #1 in the majors this season and stop #2. It's clear that some Rockies fans still have to make some adjustments of their own to Stew, but at least those are growing fewer in number.
At the trade deadline, one of the impediments to the Rockies making a move was one of specificity. They were too fine in narrowing down what they would accept in return for certain players, as is illustrated with the word that Willy Taveras would have cost an outfielder with less than three ears of MLB service. At the deadline, when the team was still nominally playing for 2008 (I guess we're still nominally playing for 2008, once again, the Dodgers refuse to provide the mercy bullet, LA slackers) it made sense to be conservative with trades. However, with Stewart and Dexter Fowler ascendant, the team seemingly has some slack for taking on risk in moves this offseason. Actually, let me be a bit stronger than that. I think it's important for our 2009 chances and beyond that the team does take risks in trading players this offseason.
While there's opportunity for a strong push into 2009 and beyond, that opportunity is largely based on the fact that we have MLB talent available to trade and make improvements with this winter that our two chief rivals can't match. The Dodgers have money, but who can they afford to give up when their primary offseason issue will already be an exodus of players? The D-backs are in a little more of a middle of the road spot as they don't have the player resources of the Rockies and they don't have quite the Dodger's money. Chad Tracy provides them at least one marketable player commodity, but Tracy's trade market value, with his injury history, should still fall well short of Garrett Atkins', and certainly short of Matt Holliday's.
While the free agent list has one easily visible set of players a team can acquire with the right amount of dollars, there's another list of players that can be had for the right amount of young talent. Holliday is still sitting right near the top of that list and Atkins is in a pretty decent spot himself. Taveras? A bit lower on this ladder, but the interest alone shows that there should be a decent underappreciated player or prospect we can get for him. Even with a down year for our prospects, the Rockies have the more desirable farm talent of the three teams as well and while I'm not advocating the wholesale dump many seem to, if the team really wants that "young outfielder" or other parts, the judicious use of minor leaguers can help them get there.
At any rate, my point is that the Rockies do have one clear advantage heading into the offseason that should make up for the lack of money in their personnel, Dan O'Dowd needs to make good use of it if we want to taste the playoffs again soon.