The 2011 season hasn't exactly gone according to plan. For the first time since before the 2007 season, the Rockies are most assuredly sellers. The big question is as follows: Who might the Rockies move at the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline?
The quick answer is this: The Rockies might trade - or should listen on - anyone on the team not named Jimenez, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, or Helton.
Now, a lot of these potential player trades won't make much sense during the season. Some of the players need to basically reestablish their own value so they'd be worth a damn to any team interested in acquiring them. Others need to be traded first in order to give these particular players a chance to showcase themselves for potential suitors.
I'm only dealing with position players today, because I write way too much about the various situations and there's no room left to discuss pitchers!
For example, Ian Stewart. Right now, I can't see any contending team really interested in trading for upside when very little offensive performance has been shown thus far. If Ian Stewart were to be traded, he'd have to have a solid 2+ months of play down the stretch, playing every day, and turn back into the player he's been over his career (that is, a plus 3B defender and a league average bat) rather than this bleached skeleton we've seen at the plate. But if the Rockies are going to just stick Stewart out there every day, they have to move Ty Wigginton first. Wigginton's been looked at by at least the Yankees, and given the general dearth of solid 3B, Wigginton's league-average season at the plate could be attractive to some clubs. Moving Wigginton would basically force Jim Tracy's hand to play Ian Stewart every day. Furthermore, the new 1B/3B backup might just be a hodgepodge of the regular IF backups, or possibly even someone like Jordan Pacheco.
Another such player is Dexter Fowler. Fowler's season hasn't been the biggest problem for the Rockies, and he's played plus defense in CF while batting a respectable 92 wRC+ (meaning he's at 92% of a league average bat, or 8% below average) on the season. Personally, I don't see this as a guy who NEEDS to be traded, but as we discuss on the podcast, teams looking for an outfield upgrade would be better served looking at a guy like Carlos Beltran for an immediate rental upgrade. Moving Fowler would have to make sense for both clubs in the long run: Fowler would nail down CF for a few years for the acquiring club, and whatever return the Rockies get would have to shore up a weak position for a few years as well.
Another interesting character would be Seth Smith. While I don't particularly LIKE the idea of moving Smith, he's posting a 120 wRC+ right now (.849 OPS), and when you consider that he's been a .804 OPS starter his entire career, this could be a good sell-high opportunity for Colorado. Factor in guys like Charlie Blackmon, Cole Garner, and Tim Wheeler who could slide into a starting role in 2012, and it's really a move that makes sense from the standpoint of organizational depth. The same could be said about Ryan Spilborghs, except it would be more of a "make room for the internal talent" kind of move rather than a sell-high move - although there have been calls about Spilborghs as well.
More past the jump.
Mark Ellis could be an interesting trade candidate. He's been great for the Rockies thus far, posting a 136 wRC+ while playing plus 2B defense. It's not as if he's a career Rockie or anything like that, and while a quick turnaround would be disheartening for Ellis, there are certainly teams that could benefit from a potential 2B upgrade. Cleveland, for example, or maybe even Detroit. Should the Rockies move Ellis, this would essentially force them to play Chris Nelson or Jonathan Herrera at 2B the remainder of the season. Should the Rockies not have a caller about Ellis, I wouldn't be surprised to see them re-up him to a 1 year deal while they wait and hope for someone else to develop and earn the 2B job.
Finally, one of the sillier guys to talk about trading would be Jason Giambi. Giambi likes it here, and given the state of the Rockies right now, this move wouldn't really net anything for Colorado, but would be more of a "Hey, Jason... you interested in playing for Tampa/Milwaukee/whoever? Yeah? Ok, we'll call them back and make the trade. Give us a call in February, let's see if we can figure something out for 2012" kind of situation. Yes, roster inefficiency and "why would we bring him back" etc etc, but the Rockies clearly aren't worried about using Giambi as the 25th man despite being an NL club. That all said, I'd be interested to see how the Rockies juggle the 1B position if both Wigginton AND Giambi depart during the season. The club will still want to sit Helton once or twice a week in hopes that he can retain some juice for the final 2 years of his contract, so it'll be interesting to see how that situation is handled.
The trade deadline kind of sucks when your team is in the crapper. We don't want to see a lot of our not-nailed-down favorites get moved, but at the same time, there's no reason not to explore how a trade of some of these players could help the club in 2012 and forward.