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Sunday Rockpile: Rockies experiencing fifth place handicap in off-season rumor mill.

The Rockies ability to make moves this winter may be getting hampered by perceptions clouded by last season's team fiasco. Recent responses from Cardinals pundits to an imagined scenario proposed by ESPN personality Jim Bowden illuminate that the Rockies might be better off letting their talent find equilibrium rather than trying to sell it off at a low value point.

Why you show Cargo no love, St. Louis?
Why you show Cargo no love, St. Louis?
Doug Pensinger

One of the many drawbacks of having a season as miserable as the Rockies had in 2012 is that nobody wants to touch them or theirs at fair value, if at all. The can put the same or even better money on the table to free agents, but get shunned. They can entertain trades of their players, but then find the market tepid, especially as opposing fans and media get wind of the rumors.

Despite neither player being available, you can see that even Colorado's star players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are getting bottom feeder treatment, as this response from the Belleville News Democrat to suggestions revolving around the Cardinals and Rockies hooking up on a trade indicates. Outside the bored imagination of ESPN's Jim Bowden, there's no indication anything remotely close to this brews between the clubs, yet Scott Wuerz is taking time to muddy the value of both Rockies players. If Cargo and Tulo are getting hammered like this, we could probably forget about moving Dexter Fowler. Mosey on over to Amazing Avenue and you'll see a similar treatment by Mets fans as they consider Colorado outfielders, ultimately deeming none are worthy to perform on New York's lesser big stage unless the Rockies are willing to give them up for practically free.

While the Rockies have many problems that led them to the third worst record in the majors last season, at the end of the day, the overall talent on an under-performing 64 win team like Colorado isn't going to be that dissimilar to the talent on a 74 win team like the Mets, there are going to be several players on either club that would benefit the other going forward. Even a contender like the Cardinals could find players of value on any of the last place major league squads, even Houston's. Either Tulo or Cargo, for instance, would be big upgrades to St. Louis' team, there really should be no doubting that. Jon Jay's a decent player, still in his prime, and he'd be a fantastic bench bat or trade chip, but to argue for keeping him over Cargo if all things were equal seems ridiculous to me. If I were St. Louis I might not consider the Bowden proposal as too costly, but it wouldn't be because I doubt Cargo's an upgrade.

To get to 98 losses in 2012, there were definitely players on the Rox that weren't MLB contributors, but overall we're seeing a bit of a tainted goods bias at work when it comes to Rockies players that can contribute at the MLB level this off season. The bias extends to us as a fanbase (in general, not you specifically, dear reader, as I know you're special and above that) and likely even the Rockies front office itself. It's a natural reaction somewhat akin to shying away from foods that have made us sick in the past, even if the food itself will normally be healthy to consume. It's another reason to suspect that a big trade might not happen this winter, and while that won't help Colorado return to contention, it might not be a terrible thing to hold off a year in terms of restoring fair market value to the team's players.