There's bad baseball afoot, folks! The Rockies just got swept in unimpressive fashion in a 4-game series by the Atlanta Braves. I guess the only upside is that they may have gained a little ground against the Phillies.
I'm not here this morning to tell you how everything bad happened in 2007 and 2009 and how 2011 is gonna be just like that. I'm not saying it won't, either, because this team is just stupid when it comes to dashing fan hopes and then coming back magically to overwhelm us with emotion and smugness.
But magic and bizarre circumstance aside, we're about 3.5 weeks away from the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, and I just can't see the Rockies standing pat at the deadline, for better or for worse.
After the groundbreaking acquisition of Marky Mark Ellis, it's been hinted at that Colorado isn't done dealing in the 2011 season. There's a stipulation to that though, while not completely explicit: any deals made in the 2011 season won't be rentals, but rather deals that will affect the team in upcoming seasons as well.
The Rockies are at somewhat of a disturbing point in their franchise development. After 2007, it became clear that guys like Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday would eventually move on to give way to guys like Ian Stewart and Seth Smith, and eventually Dexter Fowler, Jhoulys Chacin, and some surprises in the fashion of Charlie Blackmon or Chris Nelson.
The problem is that those guys are all here (or have been here and have since been demoted) and the Rockies are sitting in an ugly place. The roster was constructed well, with the assumption that guys like Dexter Fowler and Ian Stewart wouldn't get demoted and that the depth would remain just that: depth. Instead, we're looking at Ty Wigginton as the regular 3B starter and a Garner-Spilly-Smith outfield, assuming Carlos Gonzalez is back over the weekend.
Let's be honest with ourselves. Things aren't going well. Ty Wigginton, despite his surprisingly decent performances thus far in a Rockies' uniform, really had no business being the Rockies' starting 3B. Juan Nicasio really doesn't belong above AAA at this point. Eric Stults really shouldn't be in majors.
Folks, what you're seeing is the contingency. When the Rockies traded for and signed a lot of the fringe guys they did (meaning Stults, Taveras, Billy Buckner, not Wigginton or whoever) they weren't thinking "Oh man, Claudio Vargas is going to take this team back to the postseason!". Nobody expects to be a 95 win team when all of your bench players are starting. The point of these moves was to back up the starters and play off of the bench in the event that somebody got hurt in the majors.
Everybody comments about the B lineup, but it's more true than ever right now. Are you frustrated like I am when the team just doesn't play to its potential? That's because they are backups. A lineup that includes Charlie Blackmon, Johnny Herrera, Jason Giambi, Ryan Spilborghs, and Juan Nicasio, is an indicator that things aren't going the way they were supposed back on Opening Day.
So what's left? Well, trading I guess.
Position by position, there's a question on what positions are in need, and which need long/short term security.
C. Not really an issue this season. Iannetta's .381 OBP and 120 wRC+ are far from a problem.
1B: Nope. Todd Helton will be replaced when he retires.
2B: I've said this before, but Mark Ellis isn't really that special of a 2B. A move for a longer term 2B would probably be a raw deal for Mark Ellis, but it would be smart for Colorado. 2B has never worked out for Colorado, so if the opportunity arose to make a larger deal for a steady second sacker, I'd seriously consider it.
SS: I hear Jose Reyes is available.
3B: With all due respect for Ty Wigginton, 3B is sort of the same situation as 2B. Ian Stewart was supposed to be the guy, and a Stewart + Someone for Awesome 3B Guy For Several Years sort of deal makes a lot of sense.
LF: Yes. The Rockies need a LF. Charlie Blackmon is out for awhile, Dexter Fowler is nowhere close to coming back, moving Carlos Gonzalez back to CF. Cole Garner and Ryan Spilborghs are not a good LF solution. But this position would almost assuredly be a rental deal, however, as Charlie Blackmon will likely be set up in that position again when he returns, barring some massive hot streak from the temp LF.
CF: If Dexter Fowler doesn't surprise us all, Carlos Gonzalez is occupying it.
RF: Nah, there's really no reason to move Seth Smith out of position.
SP: YES. I can see the Rockies trading for either option, a rental (like Hiroki Kuroda) or longer acquisition (Wandy Rodriguez) would both fit in.
RP: Again, yes, but not nearly as excitedly. Eric Stults isn't a great option for the MLB bullpen
At some point, your own guys need to just come through. Not because they can't be replaced, they can, but the replacements aren't always very good, or very attainable. I stand on this point pretty regularly, but I feel like it's a valid one. If the organizational goal is to build from within, trust your guys, that comes with a lot of patience, but a lot of expectations as well.