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Wednesday Rockpile: Why the Manny Delcarmen Trade Was A Smart Move

The Rockies hope that Delcarmen will make a difference this year and in the future.
The Rockies hope that Delcarmen will make a difference this year and in the future.

Despite a gem by Esmil Rogers, Colorado lost ground in the playoff race last night. They did, however, gain a reliever (and cash considerations) from the Boston Red Sox for the stretch run and beyond in return for pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller. CBM is a personal favorite prospect of mine, so this hurt a little emotionally when I saw the news.

ESPN's Keith Law liked the deal for the Rockies, while Fangraphs did not. Here's a few reasons why I'm inclined to agree with the former rather than the latter (besides the fact that Keith Law > Jack Moore):

1. Manny Delcarmen has been a great reliever in the past (>1 WAR). Twice, in fact, and in the AL East to boot. There's a reason that he had that success: he has phenomenal, strikeout stuff. This year his command has eluded him, which is why his value dipped so low. Here's hoping a change of scenery will help bring about better results.

2. Delcarmen is not just a one month rental. He'll be under team control (arbitration-eligible) through 2012 and likely won't cost that much (my guess is $3 million over two years, minus the cash that the Rockies got in the trade). Colorado made a move on a buy low, turn-around reliever candidate with great stuff that will be under team control during the Rockies' championship window (which I see lasting through 2014). CBM could have turned into the next Aaron Cook, but he wouldn't have done it before 2013 at the earliest.

3. Even as the Rockies are buying low on Delcarmen, they are selling very high on Balcom-Miller. CBM's stats this year in Asheville are very impressive (the 117:19 K/BB ratio and .97 WHIP sticks out the most), but the reality is that his stats outpace his stuff. While his floor appears to be relatively high, he's virtually a finished product: 88-92 FB with plus command and decent off-speed offerings. As such, his ceiling is limited to a Aaron Cook type 3 starter but more likely will be a back of the rotation or long relief guy. As RG noted in the comments yesterday, if CBM is ever counted on by Boston to start some games for them they are in trouble.

4. CBM was rated as a C+ prospect coming into the season by John Sickels. According to Victor Wang, a pitcher of CBM's grade and age will have a future value of $1.9 million. One might allow that CBM has moved himself into the B- grade range with his stats this year (and thus a future value more around $3 million), and I wouldn't quibble a whole lot with you. However, the Rockies have several pitching prospects ahead of CBM on the totem pole (Matzek, Friedrich, Tago, Bettis, Campos, and Nicasio come to mind, not to mention Chacin and Rogers). The point is that Delcarmen doesn't have to produce more that 1-2 WAR in two seasons with the Rockies to be worth CBM's likely future value plus the value of his contract. I don't know what to expect out of Delcarmen, who has been pretty bad in 2009, but I'm hopeful that he will rebound.

With all of that said, I am sad to see CBM, whose approach and stuff seemed to synch up very well with Colorado's organizational pitching philosophy, go in a trade for a reliever. To be honest though, I think the Rockies got the right reliever here if they were going to give up CBM -- a young MLB pitcher with past success and great stuff.

Other News

As was mentioned in yesterday's Rockpile comments, the Rockies will send seven players to the Arizona Fall League to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions. There are three relievers (Rex Brothers, Bruce Billings, Adam Jorgenson), one starter (Greg Reynolds), and three position players (C Jordan Pacheco, SS Thomas Field, and OF Charlie Blackmon).

Rockies to get Tulowitzki back - The Denver Post

In addition to Tulo, Colorado will also have the services of IF Chris Nelson and RHP Taylor Buchholz tonight as rosters expand today. Delcarmen will join the team on Thursday against the Phillies in Denver. Also noted in the article is that Colorado did try to acquire Seattle IF Jose Lopez but couldn't make a deal work. In my opinion this would have been a terrible idea, so I'm glad it didn't happen.

NL West watch: Padres have tough remaining schedule - The Denver Post

Jim Armstrong briefly comments on the remaining slate for each NL West team. It's looking more and more to me that the path of least resistance for Colorado into the playoffs this year is to pass a limping San Diego (six straight losses and counting) and get the division title rather than to exceed the pace of the Phillies/Braves for the Wild Card. Had Colorado won last night, they would have controlled their divisional destiny. As it is, that goal remains one game out of their grasp.

Rockies Mailbag: Rocktober redux — realistic or remote? - The Denver Post

Troy Renck answers several questions from readers. If nothing else, read it for the pop culture references.

Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants - September 1, 2010 | Preview

Ubaldo Jimenez tries for the fifth time to win his 18th game and take over the Rockies single season wins record. This time, his opponent will be Tim Lincecum (0-5 in August) in a pivotal rubber match.

Playoff Odds:

3.8% via Sportsclubstats, most common total win range is 83-86

11.42% via Baseball Prospectus (using third order winning %) or 12.88% using PECOTA. Here's a good explanation by Tommy Bennett of what BP's playoff odds are and how they are calculated.

Power Rankings

SB Nation and CBS both have Colorado moving up the ranks to #10.